A really comical television commercial caught my eye recently and it was so intriguing I had to watch to the very end. Aside from just the well done commercial, the idea behind it is brilliant and engaging. #DarkforDinner is a campaign by Dixie asking consumers to put down the electronics during dinner and connect with family and friends by actually talking. The various commercials depict dinner table interactions between children and parents, siblings and grandparents and even friends. They are silly and they are fun! Notables include a teen explaining to mom what a man-bun is and a friend confessing that she thinks someone’s dad is attractive. Dixie poses the question, “What will you learn when you go dark for dinner?”
I especially love this ad campaign because Dixie ties it back to social media and their website where consumers can see the next topic and date for ‘going dark.’ Dixie even gives suggestions on how to do it. Visitors can then post reactions and comments about their own ‘dark’ dinner conversations. Dixie has created a perfectly clever way to have their consumers engage with them.
We are a mobile-connected society, whether via smartphone or tablet our fingers are always tapping and our thumbs swiping. In what we define as downtime, it is becoming increasingly rare to be disconnected from the constant stream of social media and the instant pings of text messaging. With so much information to be had, we don’t want to miss a thing. For many, dinnertime is the only time when the family is together in one place, and with technology constantly at our fingertips, are we sabotaging that quality time with electronic distractions? Has the idea of a lively family dinner become so foreign to our culture? It seems to be heading in that direction.
In a recent study from The Research Moms, we asked, “How often do you sit down together for a meal as a family without distractions?” Forty-four percent of moms said they do so nearly every day, which translates to less than half of families eating a meal together and being in the moment. More than one-third (36%) of moms reported doing so a few times per week and another 9% said they sit down together without distraction only about once per week.
Personal electronics are certainly one of the stumbling blocks to an all-in family dinner but also in the mix are hectic work schedules and kids’ extracurricular activities. Time doesn’t always cooperate and schedules sometimes can’t coordinate. For working parents who have literally minutes to get in the door and get back out for a drop off, dinner is postponed, resulting in some of the family eating together then and some eating much later when they return home. The idea of eating together as a family without distraction on a daily basis is clearly not the norm for working moms as is evidenced in our data. Only 4 in 10 working moms said they sit down together for a family meal without distraction, nearly every day.
Even more reason to do as Dixie asks, and go #DarkForDinner whenever you can. Schedules and timing aren’t always in our control so when you are able to get everyone around the table to pass the potatoes and disconnect from devices, you should. Share stories, have laughter and make a new tradition.
How the study was conducted:
The Research Moms conducted a national online survey of 540 mothers with children age 21 and under in February 2015.