U.S. Car Manufacturers Distance Themselves from ‘Soccer Mom’

By Shawn Paul Wood 

It was only a matter of time before the suburban stay-at-home mother of 2.5 kids decided that she wasn’t fond of the moniker “Soccer Mom.” After all, her little ones are into Lacrosse now.

Arguably, the reason for the desired change is the stereotypical choice for transportation. What do all “soccer moms” drive? Minivans.

Enter Cadillac:

This story from AdAge claims that Cadillac, Nissan, Buick, and others, are reconsidering their approach to advertising the sport utility vehicle market.

A December 2012 study conducted by Pulse Opinion Research on behalf of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers showed that women spend $300 billion a year on new and used vehicles and accessories. For the first time, they also outnumber men in holding drivers licenses: According to a 2012 University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study, females hold 50.4% of driver’s licenses, compared with 49.6% by men.

To wit, Cadillac came out with “Stacy’s Mom”, who obviously has it “going on.”

Sherrie Weitzman, the SRX’s advertising manager, wanted something that was not a common image and steered away from women being “an accessory to the vehicle”. Her marketing mission is to more accurately portray today’s empowered woman and appeal to a demographic “that is clearly rising in purchasing power.”

Many are doing that. Buick, for instance, partnered with the Food Network and displays cars at food and wine festivals that skew female. Last year, Ford forged a partnership with Rent the Runway, a dress-rental business, with a sweepstakes contest to promote the Ford Fusion. Others are active on TV programs and channels that have largely female audiences, through product integration and placements.

The story goes on to note the increasing irrelevance of the “automotive is an old boys’ club” cliche (which still would not persist if it weren’t true in some respects)…

The soccer mom imagery “isn’t effective anymore” and doesn’t reflect “what we are as a brand,” said Dave Mazur, VP-market intelligence and brand and regional revenue optimization for Nissan North America Inc.

Me? I’m old school, which is why I will always love “The Swagger Wagon” by Toyota (and might even have one in my driveway).