Let’s transition now into which industries mentioned dads in their commercials. After a month of collecting commercials, my assumption was that I’d see a lot of car companies talking to dads. Aside from that, I didn’t know what I’d find. Here was the breakdown:

Commercial Ratings by Percentage

Remember, this won’t tell you whether the commercials were good or bad, just how many of the 140 fell into these industries.

I should note that as with most of my observations, the industries listed here were named and grouped by me, so there might be a couple of blurred lines between things like “Service” (DirecTV, Overstock.com, Expedia, etc.) and Tech (Verizon Wireless, Microsoft, etc.). Also, “Baby Products” were separated out because I thought there’d be far more of them, while “Household” contains a whole range of stuff, from Post-Its to paper towels.

Looking at the chart, you might not be shocked to find that, yes, the Auto industry is talking to dads. But by and large, the biggest grouping was “Food/Beverage” – which contained everything from fast food commercials (Wendy’s) to snacks (Little Debbie) to meals and ingredients (Cheerios, Doritos, Hamburger Helper). Maybe in future iterations of this project (SPOILER ALERT!), I can separate out sub-industries.

So, why is it significant that the food industry talks to dads? A study by Harris Interactive in 2012 revealed that 55% of men pack lunches regularly for their kids, versus 43% of women. And a 2011 Yahoo study found that 51% of men considered themselves the primary grocery shopper.

Jim Lin

Jim Lin, VP, Digital Strategy at Ketchum PR and Busy Dad Blog author. Don’t call him Jimmy.

Jim Lin, VP, Digital Strategy at Ketchum PR and long time dad blogger at Busy Dad Blog offered this bit of wisdom: “Dads today are much more invested in the conversation and fulfillment of household duties, whether it be within the walls of the home, the confines of their communities, or the vastness of the internet. And because it’s conversation that often represents the first step in the transaction, brands that invite dads into it will see an impact that extends into the very last one.”

Coincidentally, that Yahoo study found men to be more brand-loyal than women and less focused on promotions. They also do more research when choosing a brand. “Statistically, dads still don’t make the bulk of purchases for most household products,” Lin added. “However, in today’s evolving environment, where everything from roles, conversation and influence is experiencing an unprecedented shift, to discount dads just because the money doesn’t leave their hands last in the transaction is a mistake.”

Let’s talk standouts. It’s should be no surprise that I’m going to mention Dove Men+Care. Not because they pay me to mention them (they don’t, though they’ve sent me some wonderful scented body wash in the past), but because they’re consistently marketing with fathers in mind. For example, here’s a Dove Men+Care commercial from 2013  starring Dwayne Wade (who is no stranger to fatherhood issues):

What I particularly love to see in a commercial featuring a dad is touch. Our country has such an issue seeing men with a loving touch for fear that they’ll be called soft (or worse). It’s wonderful to see a dad hugging his children, as is common in the Dove Men+Care “Real Moments” commercials with Wade and Jay Bilas, even if it’s a part of horseplay. The more we show images like that, the more society will consider men as loving parents. I know, sounds too simple to be true, but it is. Bet me and lose.