As a father of three, it thrilled me to see 2015 Super Bowl commercials give dads so much attention. The surge in positive representation of fatherhood in advertising and media during the past few years has been amazing with the portrayal of fathers changing from mostly “doofus dads” to a greater focus on strong, nurturing fathers who raise their children competently and equally with their partners.
While most of these 2015 Super Bowl “fatherhood” commercials did a fantastic job of highlighting what great dads can look like, car maker Nissan’s “With Dad” spot appears to have completely missed the mark:
I have nothing against car racing and certainly parents need to do what is necessary to support their families. I am ecstatic Nissan wanted to run an ad that highlights fatherhood, however, studies show that being serially absent father can be devastating to a child’s future. What so many of today’s dads want to communicate to their bosses, their co-workers, their friends and the world is that we want to — we need to — be ever-present in our children’s lives. It is not only important to us as fathers, it is vital to our kids.
In contrast, Toyota ran an ad emphasizing that being a dad is more than earning big money to bring home a shiny new vehicle. It’s a choice to be there. This, to me, represents the essence of what dads are and can be today:
It is just a commercial, though, and I am likely making more of it than necessary. That said, I still think I’d buy a Toyota.