Gay Dad Ad Achievement

So JCPenney done did it now. First, they get in trouble with an anti-gay mother’s group for hiring Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson (and not backing down). Now, JCPenney launches a Father’s Day ad featuring not one – but two dads. And the kicker is, those dads are gay. Like, gay for each other.

SRSLY, JCPenney, this is an awesome step in the right direction not just for dadvertising, but for advertising as a whole – and 8BitDad salutes you. See the full (uncropped, un8bit’d) ad after the jump.

Click on the ad to the right for a larger version (as big as we could find it).

JCPenny Gay Dads Father's Day Ad

JCPenny Gay Dads Father's Day Ad

The text in the upper right says: “First Pals: What makes Dad so cool? He’s the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver – all rolled into one. Or two.”

The text at the bottom right reads: “Real-life dads, Todd Koch and Cooper Smith with their children Claire and Mason.” (Thanks to Joe from Joe. My. God. for transcribing)

Now, is JCPenney’s wording a little meh? Sure, IMHO, it could use a tune-up. They portray the dads as basically dad-plus-copy-of-dad, so they avoid the idea that gay fathers are two unique people that love each other. But, hey, every gay-issues website I’ve seen featuring this ad seems to love it, so maybe I’ve just got my rabble-rousing pants on.

And speaking of rabble-rousing pants, here’s an anecdote that originally appeared here, then at the top of this post, but got too long, so now it’s buried at the end:

A couple of months ago, while on the phone with Huggies, they asked if there was anything else they could do to make up for the gaffe they had with fathers over their “dad test” ad campaign. And me being me, I suggested that they feature same-sex parents, because same-sex parents are by definition, parents, and if Huggies was in the mood to “do the right thing” as they said, the right thing would be to present all sorts of real parents (since every commercial/ad now likes to specifically use the word “real” to drive home that the people they paid, posed and/or scripted aren’t hired actors).

The silence and stutters over the line with Huggies told me that they’re not ready to abandon the idea of money and demographics and just show different parents. I mean, they had a hard enough time depicting fathers. That’s why seeing JCPenney put out an ad like this is important; someone said “let’s forget about money and go after people.” Or hell, maybe gay dads are a big potential demo for them, who knows. But either way, it doesn’t feel forced or artificial.

Good on you, JCPenney. Give your ad wizards a raise.