I like a good, funny commercial on television every now and then. Sometimes, even with the 30-second skip button on our DVR, something will catch my eye and I’ll rewind to watch.
Most often that happens when one of my daughters spots a commercial with an animal – almost any animal. Especially talking animals.
“That’s sooooooo cute, Daddy! Can we watch that again?”
I’m a sucker for the funny and cute ones.
But I’m sick and tired of the commercials that fuel the stereotypes of men (often dads) as dolts, dunderheads, dum-dums, dunces … you fill in the blank.
Please, advertisers: Let’s stop with the “idiot man” theme.
Remember the commercial controversy a major diaper brand had on its hands early last year? It faced an angry backlash after parents objected to new ads showing the stereotype of the dad more interested in watching sports than changing a poopy diaper.
To its credit, the company’s campaign ads did change to affirm fathers who actually care about caring for their babies.
It’s hard to blame the company for their commercial. After all, the stupid man or stupid dad commercial has been going on for a long time. But for some reason, it seems to be in overdrive in recent years.
Are you as tired of this as I am?
I saw another example last weekend while watching college football. It was a car commercial. A couple comes into a dealership, and it’s clear that they have competing priorities for their next new vehicle: The husband wants something exciting, and the wife wants something dependable.
They’re surprised to learn that several of the cars in the line actually provide both sporty adventure and reliability. Well, the wife is briefly and pleasantly surprised. The husband is shocked into a catatonic-like stupor.
He can’t seem to handle the simple thought that a car could be both exciting and dependable.
The car dealer employee seems concerned about him, but the wife waves off the concern by explaining that he gets like this all the time. “I call this ‘me time’,” she explains. “I love it.””
Give. Me. A. Break.
Wouldn’t it be nice if a company actually portrayed husbands and fathers as more than childish simpletons?
I get the humor in ads like this, but I am also getting weary of them. Going by Internet search results for “stupid dad commercials,” I’m guessing there are an awful lot of us who are tired of the stereotypes.
But this last weekend I saw another ad that gave me hope. It’s not a perfect commercial, but it at least portrayed an ambitious and enterprising young man as both intellectually curious and technologically savvy. A guy waiting for a job interview and nervous about how to connect with the interviewer notices a painting of a castle and uses his smartphone to quickly learn more about the castle as a conversation starter.
Do you agree that the stupid man/husband/father stereotype is way overused in commercials (not to mention TV shows)? What are some examples of commercials that you find offensive (at worst) or highly annoying (at best)?
Do you have any positive examples to share?
Maybe we should be encouraging companies that show respect to men. After all, dads really do matter.