I don’t know how long Yoplait’s commercial for Go-Gurt has been around – not long enough, evidently – to be up on YouTube. The commercial features a put-together-looking dad making lunch for his kid. Signs around the kitchen let dad know to include Go-Gurt in his kid’s lunch. Finally, arrows in the fridge point directly to it, and the dad smiles, grabs a Go-Gurt and hands his lunch to his kid. The kid asks if dad remembered the Go-Gurt and dad pulls a Napoleon Dynamite and says something like “of course…duh.” Then you’re slapped across the face with their tagline: “Dads who get it, get Go-Gurt.”

Oh…do we? Could it be – fathers actually getting a positive representation in a commercial?

Problem is, the dad never had time to “get it.” The only thing he got was that his kid was basically begging for it. So while Yoplait thinks they “get it” by marketing toward dads – they don’t. They put a professional-looking dad in the commercial, gave him a genuine smile, and didn’t make the dad look like a bumbling moron. But, they still made it look like the dad simply chose Go-Gurt because the kid asked, no because Go-Gurt was the best all-around choice. Is Go-Gurt the most nutritious? Is Go-Gurt the best value? Is it the best choice? Who knows – the kid asked for it, and, well, dad’s making lunch – he needs all the help he can get. Right Yoplait?

Yoplait culls its attitude from its parent-company General Mills’ commitment to family fairness. In its own “Responsible Advertising” section of the website, General Mills solemnly swears that they “will not produce advertising that would undermine the role of parents and family.” That, of course, is up to interpretation. What constitutes undermining the role of a parent? Though there was no parent-vs-parent conflict where mom or dad looked explicitly the fool in the Go-Gurt commercial, we did see a father being undermined by his child. No need for the father to do any of that responsible-parent choice stuff – just follow the signs and drop the Go-Gurt in the bag.

The Go-Gurt commercial reminds me of a Jif commercial from 2009 – after a sentimental commercial in which a father and daughter build a treehouse, dads are then hit with the tagline “Choosy Moms Choose Jif.” Totally classy after a commercial featuring a father and daughter…and no mother. Check it out:


It could be worse. A recent abomination of a Hanes commercial shows a father who’s too moronic to buy socks dipping his kid into paste. Hey, what do you know? Mom saves the day. And I saved my money for another brand.

In the Yahoo Advertising Blog, they say that dad-spending is increasing (or was always there and never identified). Here’s what Yahoo set out to do:

To provide a deeper understanding into this emerging trend, we surveyed more than 1,000 dads and conducted in-depth interviews and shop-alongs with 26 dads. By understanding the role of men and dads in today’s household and how their shopping experiences differ from moms, marketers can improve their communication with men and ultimately move more product.

What Yahoo found was that men – including husbands and dads – shop. We make decisions. We buy all sorts of stuff. We cook. And we feel like no one is talking to us.

So who’s going for it? This ad out of the UK seems to “get it”:

The ad, for Sainsbury’s, shows a father and son making dinner and playing. Yeah, that’s it. No catch, no hook, no smart-ass side-talkin’ gender-based motto. Believe me, I watched it three times and read the fine print, just in case it said something like “don’t get excited dads, they’re brothers,” or “dad and son using mom’s recipe.” The kid even imitates his dad when dad raps his fingers on the table – which is a nice subtle sign of admiration. You typically don’t get that sort of thing in American commercials.

BTW, I don’t know what they made – some sort of meat-and-veggie pie, but that crap looked delicious. Kudos, Sainsbury’s – I had to go overseas to find a commercial that pays homage to a father without making him feel like he’s an anomaly or on his kid’s leash.

Except maybe one for the Chevy Traverse:

Simple, classy, no conflict. And the father talks to his daughter without sounding like a fool. Score!

The only other brand that comes to mind for me is Nintendo – who has been marketing to families for their Wii console lately, and generally shows a happy family, all playing the console, without any gender preference or need to emotionally isolate one parent or another. Granted, these commercials aren’t specifically father-centric, but I’ll take what I can get.

Speaking of taking what we can get, Oreo’s Father’s Day ad seemed to resonate with the fatherhood community – too bad their product also resonated with their calorie counts.

So that’s kind of where we’re at, dads – we take what we can get, unfortunately. It seems like the retail and consumer goods industries really want to talk to fathers, but still find a way to, by and large, talk to mothers. Right now, it’s just starting to make sense to advertisers for them to put money into fathers. Hopefully we’ll see a higher caliber of commercials air as those Yahoo Advertising numbers start sinking in.

In the meantime, let us know in the comments if you’ve seen any good or bad commercials featuring fathers!