Behind the Dad Jokes: Father’s Day Ads Showcase Dads as Caretakers

June 13, 2019
4 min read

Father’s Day ad campaigns mostly fall into one of two camps: classic or modern. Classic Father’s Day ads feature the following: BBQ, cars, or beer. Sometimes, they feature all of the above. Traditional brands, such as Duluth Trading Company, WeatherTech, and Busch Beer are taking this approach with their ads celebrating the all-American dad telling bad jokes while manning the grill in the backyard.

Duluth Trading Company’s commercial calls out three types of dads: medium-rare dads, don’t-tell-mom dads, and take-one-for-the-team dads, all standard dad stereotypes.

WeatherTech’s commercial features a “honey-do list” scavenger hunt leading dad to his Father’s Day gift in the garage.

Busch Beer put a call out on social media for dad joke submissions for the chance to win a trip to Daytona International Speedway.

But not all brands are going the traditional route this year. The Mintel Trend, ‘Man in the Mirror’ describes how the concept of masculinity is evolving and this evolution is changing how men perceive their role in the household. According to Mintel research, dads with kids under age 18 in the household are nearly as likely as moms to say they would rather be full-time stay-at-home parents than work outside of the home (48% vs 57%).

As men reexamine their role in the home, brands are reimagining how fatherhood is portrayed in advertising. The Dove Men+Care brand is at the forefront of this conversation, championing paternity leave for dads through their Pledge for Paternity Leave and Paternity Leave Fund. The creative behind the Dove Men+Care #DearFutureDads campaign from 2018 shows a variety of dads giving advice to other new fathers on the importance of bonding with their children in early childhood.

Millennial dads are incredibly invested in their role as parents, with an overwhelming majority agreeing that they’re very involved in the parenting process according to Mintel research on Millennial dads. This indicates that brands showcasing dads as caretakers, and not just breadwinners, are well aligned with younger consumers’ values. That is likely why brands this year are taking a modern approach to Father’s Day advertising, showing the parenting moments that happen behind the dad jokes.

The Kohl’s Father’s Day spot – part of its “Yes2You” campaign – highlights Greg, a devoted working dad with four kids. A standout moment in this spot is when Greg, speaking directly to the camera, says how much he always wanted to be a dad. The ad isn’t overly sentimental, and doesn’t overtly speak to stay-at-home dads, or working dads, it just quietly shows a day in the life of an ordinary family with an extraordinary dad.

Facebook also portrays dads’ subtle sensitivity with the “More Together” campaign, promoting Facebook Groups. The “Game Day” commercial features dads bonding with their daughters through sports and then sharing the experience on their “Dads with Daughters” Facebook group. Similar to the Kohl’s approach, Facebook depicts the father/daughter bond in a sweet but not schmaltzy way, avoiding the over-the-top sentimentality that can dominate Mother’s Day advertising.

What we think

While there will always be room for traditional advertising, brands are standing out this year with more relatable fare. Depicting dads in a more three-dimensional way can leave them feeling that a brand really understands that parenting is more than a backyard BBQ to them.

Dana Macke
Dana Macke

Dana is the Director of Trends for the Americas at Mintel. She has been with Mintel since 2014, covering lifestyles and leisure topics with an emphasis on family research. Her background in marketing strategy helps her generate insights based on market developments, consumer data, and cultural trends.

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