The Best Dad Commercials Of The Super Bowl

I intended to get this post up yesterday, but the combined forces of a big snow storm and the kids both getting a gnarly (and messy) stomach virus preempted all that. I had a great time watching this year’s Super Bowl between the Patriots and the Seahawks. I didn’t have a dog in the fight per se because I’m a Steelers fan, but since my wife is a Pats fan I found myself rooting for them. Frankly, I was just glad that it wasn’t a total washout like last year’s big game. Anyway, while a large portion of the commercials veered from the usual comedic attempts into the dramatic, I was impressed with the number of ads aimed at dads. Moms are awesome and do all kinds of great stuff, but as a work-from-home father, I appreciate when an advertiser gives us just a little bit of love while trying to coerce me into spending my money on their product.

Right off the bat, I’m with everyone else who thought the dead kid Nationwide Insurance spot was too much. I got a strange Sixth Sense vibe right off the bat from that one, but had no idea where it was going. There was also the too-long Nissan “With Dad” commercial that could not have been more melodramatic and overwrought. Plus, as my wife and dad pointed out during the game, the use of “Cats In The Cradle” doesn’t make a lot of sense because they relate at the end. The bigger and more important question however is why this big deal race car driver doesn’t take his family with him to the races. At the end of the day, I’d like to move further away from the tired (though admittedly real-life) concept of the dad being too focused on work to be with his kid.

I thought the Toyota commercial actually did a much better job of capturing the complexity and depth of the father-child relationship while also showing a more evolved father-daughter dynamic. I love the message here which is bold parents help raise bold children.

This Procter & Gamble spot doesn’t actually feature parents, but I love the idea that we can empower young girls to not think that “like a girl” is a negative. This is something I’m very personally invested in because I don’t want my awesome daughter to let other people diminish her during those formative years. It feels a little strange praising P&G for a commercial strategy after slagging them off during the Olympics, but this is a damn important message.

Finally, I just loved this Snickers commercial that featured two of my all-time favorite actors, Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi transposed into a classic episode of The Brady Bunch. For good measure, here’s a link to the interview I conducted with Mr. Trejo back in 2007.

To see a full list of the ads, head on over to the official NFL site.

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