Pre-Super Bowl Dadvertising

Inevitably, brands hone in on men come Super Bowl time. Fathers have always found their way into the commercials, but the imagery is evolving. Some brands are banking on the image of emotional, loving fathers in their ads to boost their brands. Are we finally admitting that it’s good to be an emotional, loving, caring father? I hope so.

Three brands in particular are investing heavily in dads leading up to The Big Game: Toyota, Nissan and Dove Men+Care. Their father-centric commercials are wonderful reminders that fathers matter and are worth the hefty pricetag for a Super Bowl spot.

Toyota / #OneBoldChoice

Toyota is looking for people to make #OneBoldChoice and buy a Camry, but the campaign isn’t that simple. Toyota wants to know how someone becomes a good dad. They talked with some pro football fathers like DeMarcus Ware, LaVar Arrington, Fred Jackson and Kurt Warner as part of the spot. The result is a tearjerker:

From the video description: “In this piece we show that while you can’t choose the dad you have, you can choose the dad you’ll be.” Be sure to catch the 6-minute “Extended Cut“, but holy cow, keep a box of tissues near. And if you’re rolling in the feels, check out Toyota’s other recent video where paralympian Amy Purdy’s father talks lovingly about her. It’s all about celebrating “great, bold dads” for Toyota, says Toyota’s VP of Marketing, Jack Hollis. Toyota had help from Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, as well as director Lauren Greenfield on these ads.

Nissan / #withdad

Dreamworks animator Daniel Hashimoto’s “Action Movie Kid” videos have been a wonderful love letter to his son. His third one emerged this week as part of Nissan’s #withdad campaign, which is being done with creative help from TBWA\CHIAT\DAY.

Coincidentally, if you haven’t watched the older “Action Movie Kid” movies, check Volume 1 and Volume 2. The #withdad campaign joins viral video experts Hashimoto, Roman Atwood (remember that guy?), the stars of Epic Meal Time, The JABBAWOCKEEZ, and more as “a celebration of and inspiration for dads who find innovative and exciting ways to make life better for their kids and families.”

Here’s Hashimoto’s video:

You should check out Nissan’s #withdad YouTube channel between now and February 1st for more videos by your favorite viral video dads and kids.

Dove Men+Care / #RealStrength

Unilever brand Dove Men+Care has been interested in capturing the fatherhood demographic since they introduced the brand (coincidentally) at the 2010 Super Bowl. With the creative help of the Edelman firm, they’ve featured many real father-child teams in their commercials, sponsored City Dads Group events across the country, and has been the a sponsor of the Dad 2.0 Summit since the first in 2012.

This year, Dove Men+Care has re-edited and rebranded 2014’s successful father’s day “Calls for Dad” featurette into a television commercial with the new hashtag, #RealStrength, featuring a new voiceover from Mike Greenberg, of ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” show:

(Spoiler alert – you might catch a dad blogger or two in the commercial, including Trevor Mulligan, who goes by the name of oneSAHD. My son and I were also on-set for a part in this commercial, but were left on the cutting room floor. I’m not mad.)

Dove Men+Care’s feely commercial has some drive behind it: they did a study in 2014 with author and research expert, Dr. Michael Kimmel, and found out a couple of interesting facts, like only 7% of men around the world can relate to the way the media depicts masculinity, and that 86% of men say that the idea of masculinity has changed versus their father’s generation. You can read more about Dove Men+Care’s study here.


We’re sure to see more dads in commercials during the Super Bowl, and it couldn’t make me happier. Who else will come out to show a unique and complex image of fatherhood? We’ll have to tune in and find out.


DISCLOSURE: Opinions in this article are my own. I was not paid for this article nor for its content, but I have been paid in the past by Dove Men+Care (for the commercial that I didn’t appear in) and am currently working with Toyota exclusively on Twitter for their #OneBoldChoice campaign. But that has no bearing on the content and facts in this article. These brands were included because they are the three big brands with father-centric commercials leading up to the Super Bowl.