Bravo is bringing June Cleaver back from the dead — and we’re not having it

Bravo is creating a 'Real Housewives of the 60s', and Skyler Mattson of June Cleaver is Dead thinks brands should leave it alone / Felix Prado via Unsplash

Bravo recently announced a new reality TV show where “women and their families will be transported back into a traditional decade where men made the money, women made the home, and teenagers actually did as they were told. In living through the ‘golden age’ of Sixties family life, the cast will discover if more time spent together, traditional husband and wife roles, and no digital distractions might actually improve their chaotic lives and even fix their relationships,” according to The Wrap.


The last thing modern Moms want is to go back to the “golden age” when they were told their only goal in life should be to have a clean home, a smile on their face, and dinner on the table by 5pm. That’s why Pam Fujimoto and I co-founded our advertising consultancy, June Cleaver Is Dead. Because we think this archetype and the repressive views she represents should stay dead. We help marketers see modern Moms as the multi-dimensional people they are – so they can create relatable and effective brand experiences, moving away from these outdated stereotypes.

Authenticity is the key to marketing to Moms and that starts with getting authentic insights from Mom herself. In order to do that, we built The Mother Board, a panel of over 700 diverse Moms from all over the country.

77% of the Moms on our panel said that they don’t think advertising authentically reflects modern day motherhood. 60% of The Mother Board respondents say they are less likely to purchase products and services from brands that use these stereotypes. We also asked The Mother Board what they thought about the concept for Bravo’s new show and here’s what a couple of moms had to say:

“While [the Sixties were] a decade that started seeing transitions, it was still hugely oppressive for most women and calling it an ultimate era for housewives is a gross oversimplification.”

“If it tried to glorify the past and make rigid gender roles seem appealing again, I would hate it.”

So, here’s our solution to any brand whose ad gets stuck in rotation on this show. Avoid brand suicide by visiting and download this “lower third” copy to slap on your TV spot:

Dear Viewer, WE DIDN’T PICK THIS SHOW. Due to audience targeting, our ad ended up here. PLEASE don’t associate our brand with BEING THIS COMPLETELY TONE-DEAF. While it may be fun for ‘REALITY TV’ to undo 60 years of social progress just to ‘watch what happens’, we at (_________________) your favorite brand of (___________________), would like to DISTANCE OURSELVES as far from this show as possible. Like, other galaxy far. How did this get greenlit? SMH. ‍♀️

Media and advertising have the power to shape our identities. For any advertiser to appear in a commercial break in a show that seeks to glorify a time when attitudes about gender roles, sexual orientation and race were often destructive is simply irresponsible.

June Cleaver needs to stay dead.

Skyler Mattson is managing director of Wongdoody and co-founder of June Cleaver is Dead.

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