Honey Maid Wholesome Dadvertising

Three brands have included gay fathers in their television commercials in 2014 – one of which appeared in during February’s Super Bowl and the other later during the Sochi Winter Olympics. The third, a commercial for Honey Maid graham crackers, came out of the (dot dot dot) gates (whew!) this week and began airing nationally.

The spot, titled “This Is Wholesome”, shows families often left out of commercials – a punk dad, interracial parents and a gay dads.

We’ve seen interracial families emerging in commercials recently in spots by Cheerios and Swiffer, but are gay dads the hot new thing in 2014? Are brands breaking new ground with their gay-friendly advertising? Or is this just the first time we’re really looking for it?

First, here’s Honey Maid’s “This Is Wholesome”:

A little info: the commercial was first aired yesterday, March 10, and aired across many networks – from ABC on the major network side to E!, Bravo, WE tv, Nick, VH1, OXYGEN and BET on the cable side (according to commercial stats provided by iSpot.tv). The ad was done by the agency Droga5, which was also responsible for last year’s kid-fueled “Made Co” project.

The Honey Maid (a Mondelēz International brand) spot follows Coca-cola and Chevy, who both featured gay fathers in big-ticket events: the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Something to notice: all three commercials are montage commercials. All three – Coca-cola, Chevy and Honey Maid – present gay dads alongside other images of fatherhood. This might be the brands “testing the water”, so to speak – dipping into that delicious gay dad market just enough to rile everyone up, but without excluding the other oft-forgotten groups such as interracial couples and single parent families. Soon, I suspect, we’ll see commercials with gay fathers without the advertiser dividing their 30 seconds among other families. Will 2014 be the year we see a gay couple in a diaper commercial? Sadly, we might not be there yet.

Brent Almond

Brent Almond – dad blogger, graphic designer, gay dad, photogenic dude.

Still, most people say it’s a step in the right direction. “It’s great to see the momentum that’s taking place after the Supreme Court rulings last summer,” Brent Almond told me. Almond is a dad blogger, a graphic designer and a gay father (and more!). “I hear people say these are ‘just commercials’ or that they’re only motivated by money. So what? Any opportunity to see my family represented in the public eye in a positive manner is fine by me.”

It’s fine by a lot of people – the reaction online so far has been positive. Aside from a couple of negative comments on YouTube, people seem to love the message in the commercial – not just about the gay dads, but also the interracial family, the single father, and hey, the punk dad too. “I think it’s pretty awesome,” Almond said. “And it’s also another opportunity for my son to see his family represented.”

Almond continued: “We work hard to make sure his school and friends are inclusive, as well as the books we read him. But 99% of everything else he sees and hears in the world involves a mom & dad. My goal as a dad is to raise a son who’s exposed to every kind of family, and to teach him they all have value.”

I won’t be so bold as to say that 2014 is quote-unquote-airquote “the year of gay dadvertising”. But with three commercials in the first quarter of 2014 featuring (to some extent) gay dads, I think the industry is seeing a change.

And though very recent years prior have seen LGBT-friendly ads, gay parenting hasn’t caught on until more recently. JCPenny did receive backlash in 2012 when they featured gay couples in their mother’s day and father’s day print ads, but I haven’t seen a mass marketed commercial with gay parents before 2014. Tell me in the comments if I’ve missed one.

In the meantime, Honey Maid’s commercial feels as wholesome as they’ve intended. It’s good dadvertising and it sure made me want to make s’mores.