Parenting Blog

The Problem With Dadvertising

Let me first admit to not always being the fighter my fellow dad bloggers are. With internet dust-ups like the Huggies commercial thing and the Amazon Mom program, I am often not in the ring punching away. I’m more of the cut-me guy, or the hot girl with the round cards. Okay, not really the cut guy. Blood makes me weak-kneed.

The reasons for me not always slugging away are complicated and numerous, but most importantly of which is that I have a hard time caring too much about what is happening in the world. That sounds hideous, I know. I know. Worse than a slacktivist, I am. But it is kinda true, so I have to come clean. I very much enjoy my personal life bubble that generally serves as protection from the ignorance and stupidity of the world at large. I also don’t watch much TV save for soccer and there are no commercial breaks during matches. So often, I don’t even know what I should be upset about.

The other thing is, I love NOT being marketed to. In a case of Be Careful What You Wish For, I am not 100% sure I WANT brands to know that I am the decision maker in the house or that I am the caretaker of the family spending my days grocery shopping, doing load after load of laundry, and unloading the dishwasher again and again. I like the anonymity here, and not being sold dish detergent and fabric softener. I know how to shop for those, and I am totally fine doing so without input from anyone.

But the main problem with a call for more dadvertising, for more quality dads being represented as such on the fancy TV machine (or at least NOT as bumbling fools) is that I do think, without any hard data to back me up, that the majority of guys and dads are not that far off from the way they are typically portrayed on TV. I now that I am in the serious minority with my homelife situation and how I interact with my kids and the dirty dishes, so why should brands depict dads like me in their commercials? This is a chicken and egg issue and what needs to happen first is that more dads need to stop being cheap-beer guzzling dunces who aren’t directly involved with their kids. Then marketers, who by nature are not leaders, will naturally follow.

There are great examples of brilliant ads showing the diversity of, if not the diversity of (ya know what I mean), modern dads. I’m looking at you Tide, with your fantastic new princess and papa commercial, and KIA, with HowToBeADad’s Charlie Capen and his son Finn. Those are just two fantastic examples of brands willing to step out on the societal ledge to show dads as loving, funny, and engaged with their child(ren). But what if those handful of commercials are, proportionally, just about right for the population of men? Should we really have a beef with the brands and PR firms if the statistics back up the way they portray us?

Maybe, instead, we should be pointing our collective dad blogger attention and rage toward the herd of dudes who are EXACTLY like the dingbat in the agonizingly annoying Discover Card Missed Payment commercial. Might our efforts be better spent there? Because an ad with a modern, active dad isn’t going to make more dads be active in their children’s lives and sweeter to their wives, but more dads being active in their children’s lives and kind to their wives WILL change how marketers depict us.

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