Super Bowl XLIX Toyota

Leading up to the Big Game, I covered three key brands that came out ahead of the game with dad-focused commercials, and then gave a breakdown of why it’s good money to invest in dad during Super Bowl XLIX. Now that the game’s over, it’s time to take a look back at how dad did.

Spoiler alert: Dad covered the spread at Super Bowl XLIX.

We saw a good showing of dad-focused commercials in Super Bowl XLVIII, so it was no surprise to see more this year. But it seemed like the emotions were cranked up just a bit, and that’s not a bad thing.

For people looking for a soft entry into the dad market, Doritos created “#puppydad”. What was notable is that the commercial broke the fourth wall by saying “this year, we noticed a whole lot of dads and puppies in commercials.” And so, #puppydad:

It was interesting to see a brand flat-out say that people asked for dads. It’s a sign of the times, my friends.

We already knew Dove Men+Care was going to come out with this charmer called “Real Strength”:

And they delivered just that. So, again kudos to Dove Men+Care and the Edelman agency for it. The Edelman folks will also be at the Dad 2.0 Summit at the end of the month representing the title conference’s sponsor, Dove Men+Care.

Nissan, which lead up to the Super Bowl by featuring viral video creator dads on their YouTube channel, put out a far different spot during the Super Bowl, using the same hashtag, #withdad:

This is an interesting commercial. The takeaway that a lot of folks came away with was: years of absence can be made up with a ride in a Nissan. Others identified more with the work-life balance: dads not being able to spend as much time as they’d like to because of work. I don’t think either of these reads are wrong. I think Nissan’s commercial (from agency TBWA\CHIAT\DAY\LA) hit some good tones, but left some folks coming out confused, especially since Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle” is about an always-busy father who disappoints his kid until the day that the son is old enough to bail out on the father. Some of those lines were conveniently left out of the commercial. This is the Super Bowl, guys. Hit us over the head with a mallet. Don’t play around with hacked up songs about absent dads while showing us a forlorn racing dad who can’t decide whether he’d rather be buried in his career or involved with his family.

But you know who hit you hard? Toyota. We were prepped pre-Super Bowl with the “To Be a Dad” spot – which was awesome. Then, Toyota hit you with a different spot, “My Bold Dad”:

And this is how you do it. With help from Saatchi & Saatchi LA, Toyota showed us that being a father and being a dad are two different things. And I’d wager to say that most dads fought back tears watching this one. Toyota did sneak another spot into the Super Bowl lineup – one called “How Great I Am“, featuring Paralympian Amy Purdy’s journey accompanied by the words of Muhammad Ali. It would have been more great if they’d kept the scenes and audio from her father.

Microsoft (with help of the Wunderman agency) didn’t feature an exclusively-dad commercial, but in the “Braylon O’Neill” spot did feature Braylon’s father. If you’ve got a good memory, you remember Braylon from last year’s more-dad-heavy “Empowering Us All” (check the 11-second mark).

Finally, our best dad-not-dad commercial comes from Avocados From Mexico (and the Wieden + Kennedy agency), where Doug Flutie and Jerry Rice banter about babysitters:

Also during the Super Bowl: a father and daughter passed by in Carnival Cruise‘s odd “Come Back to the Sea” commercial, but they were probably passing through on the way to another commercial. Some dads showed up in the McDonald’sPay With Lovin” spot, but they were just hugging their kids to get free fries.

By the way, Doritos didn’t quit tweeting throughout the Super Bowl and tied their chips into other brands’ ads. Here’s Doritos lampooning Nissan’s ad:

And for that, Doritos, you win one thousand golden internets. Use them in good health.

It seems like in the major commercials, there weren’t as many dads this year, but instead, the emotions were cranked to eleven. I don’t hate that.

How do you think dads did at Super Bowl XLIX? Did we miss any new commercials? Did you spot any old commercials playing before the game that you still love? Let us know in the comments!