I started this post last year but I’ve only just got round to finishing it off. It is a small addition to a post I did for the mighty Kraken about how badly Dads are portrayed in most adverts. I’ve seen very little improvement since I wrote this but I feel it is only fair to mention there were a couple of adverts that I was impressed with.
The first featured New Zealand’s World Cup winning scrum half, Piri Weepu. The advert was part of anti-smoking campaign and featured the rugby star, bottle feeding his daughter Taylor. Anyone who has seen Piri leading the All Black haka knows what a fearsome and intimidating character he is so I loved seeing this paternal side to him. Sadly you can only see stills from this advert as it was pulled after pressure from the La Leche League who felt their agenda was more important.
The second advert I liked was from VW which surprised me as I normally hate car adverts. It manages to steer away from too many clichés and most importantly portrays a Dad who isn’t an idiot. The theme that links these two adverts is Dads and their daughters. The advertising world frequently struggles with complex concepts and has very little idea how to depict a father/daughter relationship.
I can’t find the advert now but recently I remember being infuriated by an advert for Disneyland Paris whose central premise was ‘Dads – You can’t possibly understand your daughter so buy their love with a trip to Disneyland Paris’. It made me want to drown Mickey and his mates. Money and taxi rides are the only thing a father can give his daughter in your average advert.
I think reality is somewhat different and as usual I look to my friends for inspiration. One friend has two daughters and I’ve always joked that he is the least important decision maker in the house but we both know he is central to lives of his little girls. Another friend has taught his daughter the words to ‘Flower of Scotland’ so they can sing the national anthem together before Scottish rugby games – it is beyond cute. The most broody I have ever been in my life was when I saw the man who taught me ‘where real men piss’ holding his 2 week old daughter with a look of total adoration in his eyes. His daughter is 8 years old and I have never seen that love waver.
If I can find inspiration this easily why do the people behind our adverts find it so hard? Maybe they don’t have kids. I have a Mad Men style image of sharp suited men trying to work out if babies like smoking and whiskey while tedious jazz plays in the background. I don’t know. You can probably see why I haven’t finished this post before as I have left myself with nowhere to go. I don’t know the answer and boycotting all products with a poor advert is virtually impossible. I hope things will change eventually and the odd marketing bod will realise that Dads are different now but we may have to wait some time.
I will leave you with what is neither an advert for milk or sippy cups but should be both.