Toyota’s “My Bold Dad” commercial was one of several that tugged at heart strings with “dad” fit for a Hallmark moment.
Super Bowl’s annual 110 million viewership (this year topping 114 million) is often called “America’s Campfire” for its coming together of a third of the country on one day at one time and its commercials a reflection of what America holds dear. This year was no different except for the guest appearance of “Burning Man” or “Dad” in all his mythical and cultural manifestations that Madison Avenue can conjure up. Graduates of Burning Man would be proud–the nearly 30-year old end-of-summer week-long festival that takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy whose vision is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance. Certainly being a great dad fits into that Super Bowl “dadvertising” image.
The Super Bowl dad as mensch, encourager, TLC-giver, hugger, pal, tear-wiper awayer, protector, and even race car driver blossomed in ads for Nissan, Toyota, and Dove Men+Care and, if you include man’s best friend, even the bulldog dad of a French bulldog puppy trying to teach the little guy about chasing a ball (Doritos).
What’s all this mean? Hard to say. First, family counts–moms, dads, daughters, babies, and little boys. Second, puppy points are still high on the list of both politicians and Mad Men. And third, let’s not forget women with few clothes on (Carl Jr.’s hamburgers), that still rule the ad roost, though not without some controversy.
Has dad “come a long way, baby?” Well, not really. Fans of Michael Keaton will recall the sit-com humor of “Mr. Mom” (“220, 221, whatever it takes” ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La8yBDhj34c) in 1983 with bless-her-heart Teri Garr who now battles M.S. Here’s the trailer to that movie with a not-so-in-charge dad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIkHMGxyN34.