5 Brands That Celebrate What It Means to Be a Dad

Father’s Day is just around the corner, so I recently asked one of my coworkers how he planned on celebrating the day with his kids. He told me that dinner at a restaurant may be in order, but that the parental holiday was really a secondary celebration compared to Mother’s Day.

As I thought about his response, I started to realize how ho-hum brands can be about Father’s Day. Sure, I’ve received emails reminding me to buy a gift for my father (don’t worry, Dad—you’re covered), and I’ve visited retail websites that offer great gift ideas for dad. But I haven’t seen a ton of marketing that truly captures what being a dad means.

So to avoid overlooking this holiday any further, I’ve written a follow-up piece to my “5 Commercials That Remind Us Why Moms Are the Best” and I’ve compiled a list of five brands that truly captivate what being a dad is all about.

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Dove Men+Care

One brand that truly understands the emotional and caregiving investments being a dad requires is Dove Men+Care. This is partly because the men’s hygiene and grooming brand researches this audience. For instance, Dove Men+Care’s “Calls For Dad” film was inspired by the fact that three quarters of dads surveyed say that they’re responsible for their children’s emotional well-being, yet only 20% see this role reflected in the media. 

Dove Men+Care debuted the one-minute spot last June along with the hashtag #RealDadMoments and a call to celebrate dads. Actually, the film was such a success that the Unilever brand reintroduced the film for this year’s Super Bowl along with a new hashtag #RealStrength, which is based on the idea that 90% of men consider their caring side part of their masculinity. “Calls For Dad” currently has more than 12.6 million views on the brand’s official YouTube channel and 23 million views overall (including earned media). It also generated nearly 800 million media impressions in the U.S.

As if this ad wasn’t enough of a tearjerker, Dove Men+Care introduced a new Father’s Day-inspired spot on June 15 called “First Fatherhood Moments.” The ad is based on the brand’s findings that 82% of men say having a child changes the way that they think about what it means to be a man. The spot shows the emotional moments real men experience when they learn that they’re going to be dads for the first time. The video already has more than 1.8 million views.

Besides tying in the TV and social elements, Dove Men+Care does a nice job incorporating digital in its campaigns, such as with its Dove Men+Care website, which includes more videos, social feeds, and information about its products. The brand also launched an online content series this month called “To All Dads” that offers open letters and advice about fatherhood from real dads.  

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MetLife Hong Kong

I first wrote about this commercial for my “Marketing That Makes Consumers Smile” blog post, and it’s still one of my favorites. The insurance provider’s spot tells the story of a father and the sacrifices that he makes to give his daughter a better life.

The video struck a chord with viewers who could relate to this concept of parental sacrifice. In fact, the film, which was uploaded to the brand’s official YouTube channel this past January, garnered more than 15 million views across Facebook and YouTube, according to a February 2015 MetLife Hong Kong press release, proving once again the importance of leveraging empathy in marketing. 

“The success of this video reflects our commitment to identifying the needs of everyday Hong Kong people and designing customized products and solutions to help them ‘pursue more from life,’” Sunshine Farzan, MetLife Hong Kong’s VP and head of marketing communications, stated in the release. “MetLife has great empathy for parents and deeply understands the challenges that they face, as such we provide a broad range of innovative insurance and financial planning solutions and value-added services to help parents plan for their children’s education.”

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General Mills Canada

The next brand takes a more humorous approach to fatherhood. In General Mills Canada’s #HowToDad ad, a dad quickly rattles off all of the reasons why being a dad is the most awesome and responsibility-filled job on the planet while getting his kids ready for school. And because Peanut Butter Cheerios is also awesome, he argues, it makes it “The Official Cereal of Dadhood.”

“It just made sense to declare Peanut Butter Cheerios as ‘The Official Cereal of Dadhood,’ because like great dads, Peanut Butter Cheerios lie somewhere in the intersection of awesome and responsible,” Josh Stein, creative director of Tribal Worldwide (the Toronto-based agency that created the campaign), said in a General Mills blog post. “Dads are awesome and it’s awesome to be a dad. The new campaign creatively acknowledges that today’s dads play a significant role in raising children, and this celebrates their contribution.” 

Not only is the spot hilarious, but it also shows the dad waking up his kids, getting them breakfast, and driving them to school—all activities that have traditionally been depicted as motherly duties in advertisements. Acknowledging all that dads do and playing into their fun side scores points with viewers. In fact, the commercial, which was uploaded to General Mills Canada’s official YouTube channel last July, has close to 1.7 million views. And when adding in views from its follow up videos (like this one),the campaign generated more than five million views. *Furthermore, the campaign produced a total of 179 million impressions, as well as a 300% increase in brand mentions during its launch month alone.

The campaign also includes a robust Tumblr page that includes videos, memes, and even coupons for all members of the Dadhood to enjoy.

*Update: Results added June 17, 2015 at 2:25 pm EST

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Hyundai

When I was a kid, I was pretty accident prone. I was always scraping my knees from playing outside and developing strange bruises. Needless to say, this commercial from Hyundai promoting the Genesis has a soft spot in my heart.

The ad, which ran during the 2014 Super Bowl, received great recognition, including winning The One Club’s Automobile Advertising of the Year Award in the TV commercial category and being deemed as the second most effective advertisement during Q1 2014 by TV and video analytics provider Ace Metrix.

Not only does the spot keep my attention by making me nervous every time the kid nearly crashes into something, but it also reinforces the heartfelt message that parents will do anything for their children—even if it means getting a few bumps and bruises along the way. And Hyundai makes the case that the automotive brand can help look after dads’ loved ones, too.

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Whirlpool

Parents rarely get the recognition that they deserve. And even though they may feel like they’re not living up to their expectations, this Whirlpool spot reminds them that doing their best is more than enough.

Customers like to be recognized for all that they do. This Whirlpool commercial, which was uploaded to YouTube this past May and has more than 26,000 views, shows this sense of appreciation by telling a story in which the single dad is the hero (instead of having the brand’s appliances play the leading role).

Other honorable mentions include Toyota (here and here), State Farm, and Vicks NyQuil.

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