Just in Time for Father’s Day: This Year’s Dad-Focused Ads

fathers dayFather’s day gives viewers an opportunity to take a look at how marketers are portraying dads – at least this year. From wonder dad to some less shining examples of fatherhood, let’s take a look at a few of this year’s biggest Father’s Day ads.

The Good, Sport-Loving Dad

Samsung’s Father’s Day ad promotes the Galaxy S4’s new “Smart Pause” technology, which automatically stops videos when the viewer looks away. Check out the ad for yourself, featuring an exhausted new dad checking out the game with the new baby:

This ad brings together two common dad images all wrapped up into one package. On one hand, there’s the “good dad” image, which has come into vogue fairly recently. The good dad takes childcare responsibilities into his own hands. He might struggle a little bit with the execution, but he’s well intentioned and it always works out in the end. He’s a sensitive, contemporary kind of guy. The Samsung ad combines this with the sport-loving dad we’re familiar with – here, the baby is a kind of good luck talisman and dad and baby get some quality time together, watching the highlights of the basketball game.

The Romantic, Meat-Loving Dad

This is another interesting ad that, again, integrates two perspectives on masculinity, letting dad be an obvious romantic while also letting him enjoy the carnivorous side of life. This Oscar Meyer ad tells viewers to “say it with bacon” – and there’s really no other way to describe the ad beyond saying that you need to watch it to understand.

Taking advantage of the bacon phenomenon that’s gripped pop culture in the past few years, this spoof of a traditional diamond advertisement encourages viewers to give the men in their lives the gift of bacon. So if we take our image of Dad from Oscar Meyer, he loves meat enough to get all misty-eyed about a wedding proposal with bacon in lieu of a ring… but he’s soft-hearted enough to get all misty-eyed about a wedding proposal, in general, and to wax poetic about his favorite cured meat too.

The Always-There Dad

Oral-B took a unique approach to dad-based advertising. Instead of filming a traditional commercial, they compiled a montage of touching moments where dads are laughing and smiling with their kids. The Oral-B Father’s Day ad ends with the tagline, “Every step of the way, Dad’s had a smile for you. Give him the power to keep it that way.” Check it out:

The dads in the commercial come in all kinds – young dads, older dads, military dads, business dads, dads playing sports, dads dancing. The bottom line is that dads will always have their kids’ backs, calling on a fairly traditional narrative of fatherhood.

The Fun Parent Dad

Oreo’s Father’s Day ad brings to mind the mom as bad cop, dad as good cop dichotomy that many of us are familiar with. Dads, according to this ad, are the parent you want to stay up past bedtime with, eating cookies, telling stories, and watching TV.

The girl in the Oreo Father’s Day ad knows that her dad is the one to try to talk into staying up late and hopes that by sharing an Oreo with him, she’ll be able to spend some time hanging out with him before bed. The ad definitely focuses in on that very specific “fun dad” image.

Thoughts On Dads

I’m personally most intrigued by the first two ads I looked at in this post – Oscar Meyer and Samsung. These two ads take a step away from more traditional views of dads and take a look at some of the ways that masculinity can be represented beyond what we typically see in advertising. Sure, the usual elements are still there, with sports and male-associated foods, but at the same time, there’s more of an element of men getting in on childcare and romance. I’m definitely interested in seeing where Father’s Day ads will go next year if this trend continues!

Does your business do any special Father’s Day advertising? Tell us about it in the comments section!

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Beans graduated from Smith College in 2011 with a BA in History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, and has worked as a farmer, a cook on a food truck, and an archival assistant. Outside of writing and editing for CEM, Beans enjoys reading voraciously, watching space documentaries, and baking vegan treats. Currently, Beans lives in Salt Lake City, UT.

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