Wednesday, July 30, 2014

From Zero to Hero - The Role of Dads in Modern Media

I never really paid attention to how fathers were represented in commercials until I became one.  I wasn't one at the time, so it really didn't matter to me when I saw fathers portrayed as grown up versions of children who couldn't change a diaper (or be bothered to) for the life of them or understand their kid's homework to help.  Now that I have a son of my own, I can see why this is upsetting.  Becoming a parent is a transformative process.  You become a better person caring for the life of a little child and any belittling of that job is a slap in the face to fathers everywhere.  Are there bad fathers?  Sure, just like there are bad mothers, but there is certainly no statistical probability that states fathers are usually worse at parenting than mothers.  The truth is, we are all parents and as such we demand respect for the job we do both in real life and in how we are portrayed in the media.

While most fathers in commercials and television have often been the punchline of a joke with their inability to parent or complete lack of any domestic skills that would allow them to raise a child, some brands are trying to change that.  While there are a number of commercials out there, two brands really stand out above the rest as having moved me in two different ways.  Also included, a commercial that completely misses the mark when it comes to showcasing dads in the media.

Sentimental: #RealDadMoments - Dove Men+Care



If this commercial doesn't bring a subtle moisture to your eyes, there is something wrong with you.  This commercial, which documents a few fellow dad bloggers, is a great example of a brand "getting" modern dads.  We aren't just the bread winners in the relationship anymore.  While some of us still are the working parent (myself included) we take an active role in the raising of our child.  Some fathers are SAHDs (Stay At Home Dads) and take on the role of primary care giver for the child while the other parent is at work.  This commercial gets the changing role of fathers in a modern family and kudos to them for their portrayal.  They chose to take the sentimental route and it's extremely effective at showing the positive influence of fathers on a child's life.

Humor: #HowToDad - Cheerios



The second commercial that really stands out is the new Cheerios commercial.  This one is vastly different than the previous but no less effective at proving one thing, dads are awesome.  While you may not live on a cul-de-sac and have a sweet home like this dad does, that doesn't mean you can't be awesome in your own way and have your kids love you for it.  This father doesn't need to be a bumbling idiot to get laughs, he gets them by being a great dad.  I'd love to see more commercials take this route and show that positive portrayals of dads in the media are here to stay and we're not going back to the days of ignorant, self obsessed fathers who couldn't care less what happens to their kids.

Bad Modern Example of Fatherhood: Bizcation - Days Inn



While I listed two of my favorite commercials for fatherhood, I wanted to share a really bad one.  I'm not sure who on the marketing team thought it would be a good idea for the father to sing about watching MMA and eating Pad Thai  while his son misses him at home.  One thing is for certain - whoever gave the go ahead for that commercial doesn't have kids or they would realize that this commercial would piss a lot of people off.  Hopefully in the future we see more of the first two and less of the third, which in my eyes is just a very sad commercial.

1 comment:

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