LOL Dad Mess

Lowe’s wants you to know that if mom wants to go out and buy stuff for the home while dad’s at home playing with the kids, that’s totally cool. And the result, not-surprisingly, is that it’s totally cool. But then Lowe’s also wants you to know that if mom is on a business trip and dad’s home with the kids for longer than an afternoon, well…hold onto your pantsuits.

Or something.

All three spots are by BBDO, which was also responsible for a couple of dadcentric commercials this year, including a good one for AT&T, starring paralympian Heath Calhoun, and a less-good one for Embassy Suites. This makes BBDO an agency to watch in the fatherhood market; they get it. Even if BBDO isn’t hitting the bullseye every time, they’re aiming for the target.

Anywho, check out these two Lowe’s commercials, featuring dads playing with their kids:

Right? Dad’s so involved playing peekaboo, that in a parallel universe where your indecisiveness at the hardware store actually shapeshifts your house around its occupants, he doesn’t even…well yeah, you get the idea. No problems here. Dad’s involved, mom’s spending money. Next…

Dad’s having his son hit baseballs toward the house so that he can have an excuse to get it remodeled! Okay, not really, but it works out nicely, since mom is at Lowe’s choosing outdoor furniture.

So then there’s this spot Lowe’s and Valspar paint:

This commercial lies somewhere between totally-sexist and totally-forward-thinking since you’ve got mom who’s still dressed for corporate America in the evening, after the “kids are fed, homework is done, baths are taken.” Dad is in a position that anyone – man or woman – should be terrified of: three kids under 10 years old, home with one parent who’s used to tag-teaming the kids alongside their spouse. I’d be impressed too, just as mom is.

Does this commercial insult fathers, by suggesting that he’s incompetent? Probably not. Most people would probably chuckle and say “LOL, dad mess! So true!” But the suggestion (and excuse me while I nitpick subtext) is that keeping a tidy home isn’t as important to him as it is to mom, so he’s got to lie to his wife – and encourage the kids to lie to their mother – about the well-being of the house. That’s the “on one hand”, so naturally, on the other hand, the kids are fed, the homework is done and baths are taken. Unless, of course, dad was lying about that too. Was he? We’ll never know.

The three Lowe’s commercials together paint (with Valspar!) a picture of a changing landscape of parenthood, one where dads can be home with children while moms are out shopping or on business trips. And that’s a good thing. Lowe’s could have cut dad out of the “Peekaboo” and “Baseball” commercials completely and just showed a mom at Lowe’s with her kids.

The third one uses dad as a punchline, albeit a light one, but also shows a dad who is home with his kids for what is understood to be a multiple-day stint without mom. Sure, that third commercial is sullied with lies and handprints higher than hands could reach. But dad was home with the kids – mostly depicted as unafraid and he had a solution for his problem. If we’d seen dad out-of-sorts with the kids running wild as mom walked in the door and she had to offer the solution of simply wiping the walls, I’d feel differently about this commercial.

Regardless, I’m keeping an eye out for BBDO. I think we’re going to see some great stuff from them this year depicting fatherhood.

How did you like these commercials? Do they portray a realistic image of the modern family?