soap opera redux

Jen and barb A web "reality series" called Mom Life launched this week.  It's sponsored by S.C. Johnson and by Kraft.  As nearly as I can see, it consists of 4 minute episodes in which Jen and Barb interview an expert on matters useful to a homemaker with shots of household life thrown in for good measure.

Here's how they describe the show online.

Each episode features life in the trenches of motherhood with a funny take on the Mommy Life from two real moms who riff on everything from career to husbands to disciplining kids, along with straight on camera discussion of the daily issues, challenges, and joys of motherhood. Real life from real moms.

I am not the intended viewer.  And these are early days.  And there are moments (see "inspire me") where the enterprise appears to take on bigger issues.  Still, it's hard to see what the sponsors are getting for their money.  

The migration of marketing on line opens up breathtaking vistas.  But mom life is inert.  There isn't anything charismatic or especially winning about Jen and Barb.  There's nothing imaginative or creative about form or content.  There's no evidence of cocreation.  Those of us do household ethnographies know how much talent there is present in "mom life." Couldn't some of this be tapped.  But no, nothing effervesces.  At some point, you find yourself wondering whether someone decided to put Sam Mendes' vision of middle class life online, minus the tragedy and recrimination, of course.  

To put this is the language of marketing, it's very hard to see that there are any meaning being made.  I mean that's what sponsors normally get for their money: meanings. The brand is augmented.  The consumer comes to understand something about the what, the how, the tone, the character, the cultural resonance of the brand.  But here the brand seems merely to be standing awkwardly by as Jen and Barb demonstrate that journalism should probably be left to the professionals.  

See the site here


Wong, Elaine.  2009.  Kraft, S.C. Johnson Sponsor 'Mom Life" Web Series.  BrandWeek. January 29, 2009. 


Thanks to Paul Snyderman for the head's up.  

1 thought on “soap opera redux

  1. Beth Dunn

    Huh. Looks like a significantly more corporate version of Momversation (, which offers regular video clips of mommy bloggers talking about a little bit more than “husbands and disciplining kids.” Last video I saw was about circumcision. I don’t expect to see Kraft taking that on any time soon. There’s a community component to momversation too — not sure if anyone can post video, though.

    Here’s one thing that I think makes Momversation work and not Mom Life quite so much — Momversation features bloggers who are already well known and respected and trusted in the online world. There is such a robust mommy blogger world online, and so many trusted voices within that community — I think that whenever a company comes in and pretends to put on the voice of that world that it can’t help but come across as insincere at best and insulting at worst.

    I would amend your last sentence to read “mommy blogging should be left to the amateurs.”

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