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.
Clorox underestimated the power of dads and lost the battle in the span of less than 24 hours. They initially dealt a blow to new dads, saying that they lack “the judgment and fine motor skills to execute well.”
The line came from an article – now pulled from the Clorox site – called “6 Mistakes New Dads Make” (Cached by Google).
While many brands are jumping on the dadvertising wagon and releasing pro-father material aimed to encourage and involve new fathers, Clorox is caught in the age-old game of marketing household products to new moms by bashing their husbands.
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.
Even if you’re still sucking down leftover Halloween candy and thinking about who’s sitting next to who on Thanksgiving, the retail machine is onto its next big thing. Tis the season for retailers to make dads look like incompetent fools and walking wallets. Sears is more than happy to step up and give it a go with their commercial “Holiday Baby”.
In the 30-second spot, dad’s checking out a no-doubt incredible drill while ignoring his child. And you just won’t believe what happens next! Okay, you will.
Mommyish writer Eve Vawter kicked off the Christmas season swinging at British grocery chain Asda. Vawter did such a spectacular job cutting into Asda’s mom-focused ad that we won’t have to!
Asda’s ad, titled “Behind Every Great Christmas There’s Mum,” illustrates the image of what I’m sure both men’s and women’s rights activists (and, uh, regular father-type dudes like us) dislike: the unthanked mom carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders while the rest of the family ignores her as if she’s a domestic robot. Meanwhile, dad’s busy eating, making a mess, or ignoring the kids.