Sure, there’s a “Big Game” on, but a lot of people just watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. And as I recently mentioned, Toyota, Nissan and Dove Men+Care have crafted spots about fathers. But why?
You might think – why fathers? Why now? But brands and agencies are keen to one simple fact: dad is a consumer.
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.
On September 16, minutes before the Detroit Tigers, the current American League Central division champions, took the field against the Seattle Mariners, I found myself standing on the deep outfield grass of Comerica Park, waiting for my almost-seven-year-old daughter to throw me her best approximation of a fastball.
It was a heady, surreal moment, a moment where – thanks to my surroundings, my daughter’s determined scowl, and the scuffed Major League baseball in her tiny hands – all I could think about was how wonderful it was to be a father.
Very father-aware brand Dove Men+Care recently teamed up with Major League Baseball to produce a video series called “Big League Dads”, where players talk about their most important position – fatherhood.
The best part about this series is that it really cements the idea that the MLB is an organization embracing fatherhood, and not in the cheap “baseball is a father-son sport” way. This is real, emotional fatherhood.
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.