Consumer goods monolith Procter & Gamble gave some dads a rash in 2012 when they lathered the London Olympics in commercials thanking moms (and moms only) for their Olympic-level dedication to their kids. And for the Sochi Olympics, P&G’s ad wizards are massaging mom once again with their “Pick Them Back Up” commercial, an ode to the undying ability that moms have to, well, pick their little future athletes back up when they fall.
It would seem that the P&G machine has taken direction straight from their shampoo: Apply commercials to moms. Rinse, repeat.
Amidst the moms campaign hubbub, Procter & Gamble put out what the kids these days are calling a “short film” about Olympian Ryan Suter and his father, Bob Suter, who you might remember as one of them “Miracle on Ice” guys from the 1980 Olympic team. The 3-and-change-minute video, titled “Raising An Olympian: Ryan Suter” is a wonderful tribute to a son and father’s mutual love. And hey, Ryan even mentions Bob picking him back up in the video, so the consistent branding is like, already there, dude.
But is there a catch? Spoiler alert: yes.
I’ve been calling out dad-bias in commercials for years now, and really wanted to put the nail in the coffin. So I watched, noted and rated 140 commercials in 2013 that featured fathers as main characters. And if I was looking for a fight…man, I couldn’t have done it at a worse time. There, I said it.
A popular conversation among dad bloggers is the treatment of fathers in the media, specifically, dads in commercials. Dad bloggers often sit around in their secret online societies and discuss exactly how bad dads look in commercials. Most of the time, you’ll hear a resounding “fathers are made to look like idiots!” And being a guy who’s flamed many a brand that poked fun at dads (and also congratulated a couple), I wanted to really commit time and effort into seeing exactly how many commercials I could find that treated dads poorly. I really wanted to hold up my list of commercials to the world and say “SEE?! Look at how commercials treat dads! We should riot!”
And then my results actually surprised me.
After engaging with fathers and pledging to care for the other half of the parenting equation, Huggies continues to push their “Huggies Mommy Answers” with largely-good commercials, but the same narrow, single-minded mom focus.
Dads, do you have questions about raising your kids? Where do you go? Who do you ask? Unfortunately, you’re not in Huggies’ demographic, so it’s not their problem. Go ask a buddy.
Managing Editor of PRWeek US Gideon Fidelzeid knows how to throw a party. He invited a bunch of industry leaders (I love that term) to New York to discuss how marketing to parents is evolving. One of the participants was Dad 2.0 Summit co-founder, Doug French.
Among the topics were brand loyalty, brand relationships, differences in parenting styles, micro-targeting to demographics, and more. For those interested in marketing and parents, this is an enlightening read.
Good dadvertising includes fathers in their natural roles without the brand explicitly pointing out that you’re watching a dad that is made better by the advertised product. That’s why the Dove Men+Care “Real Moments” campaign has been a great tent pole in the circus of NCAA March Madness beer advertising.
Starring NBA all-star Dwayne Wade and ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, the commercials show day-to-day moments of parenthood, told by these two dads.
The Super Bowl, widely regarded as a yearly who’s-who of commercials, proved once again that fathers have a couple of things to piss and moan about in the “dadvertising” world, but that little-by-little, dads are being imagined better. This year, we saw seven major commercials featuring a father in a main role. The result shows an across-the-spectrum image of fathers. This, actually, is a win for dads, believe it or not.
Here, we’ll take a look at the commercials with an honest approach, attempting to let slide what truly doesn’t matter, and getting worked up over all of the right things.
The Olympics have been on for a week now (really, only a week!), and even with all the hub-bub over tape delays, people are glued to their televisions at all hours to see the world compete in everything from archery to wrestling (there was no sport starting with a z, boo hoo). It got us wondering, as we always do elsewhere, how the Olympics would honor dads.
After all, there have got to be a whole lot of Olympians that were coached by fathers, carpooled to their practices by fathers, or at least bought equipment by fathers…right? So, that should translate into viewership and consumers – meaning dads watching the Olympics with their little hopefuls, watching all of the ads, saying “son and/or daughter – tomorrow, we’ll buy one of those products in the commercial.”
Well, we watched, and watched, and then watched some more. At times, we were watching two events picture-in-picture on television, while streaming another on our phone and another on our computer (and another on our laptop)! We sucked up almost everything the Olympics put out there, except for the really long bathroom break we took during equestrian jumping.
We found: the Olympics have definitely been sold to mom this time around, but dad hasn’t been completely forgotten. Really, there’s been one big offender that’s forgotten dads, but we saw it coming and expected it. We’ll explain.
I have been an Apple user for 27 years. I was 5 when I started on my first personal computer, the Apple IIe. But that didn’t stop me from loving the new Google Nexus 7 commercial that I caught during the recent XXX Olympic coverage. Admittedly, I thought this was an iPad 3 commercial when I noticed the whimsical, airy background music in part with the late 30s (ish), grizzly hipster dad wearing plaid. I was like, “Oh, great. How are they going to f*ck this one up.”
See, as a full-time geek, I’m not a fan of the more recent Apple commercials – starting with the “If you don’t have an iPhone, you don’t have an iPhone.” spot. They’re arrogant, elitist and douchey. I cringe every time I see one.
Google is coming up Milhouse at every turn with their advertisements. I love them. So much. However, not enough to disrupt my Apple flow. But I will give them major props starting with the Dear Sophie Chrome commercial of 2011 and the “New Dad” commercial. That “New Dad” one is simply fantastic.