It's been well documented (if not well researched): At some point in the 1990s, Ad Dads very suddenly became moronic punchlines. I don't know who was more responsible for this—ad agencies or brands or Homer Simpson—but the tipping point was reached quickly. It was an anti-Mad Men ad movement. It was anti-creative. And it was just as sexist as all the Women As Sex Objects ads (though not as insidious).
The OG "Swagger" Dad
But in the last few years, there has been a shift in Dadvertising to Dad as Hero. That's fine. But, unfortunately, a subset of this new "Super Dad" ad concept has been the "Swagger Dad", popularized by comedian Brian Huskey in a lazy, hackneyed though widely applauded Toyota minivan ad. Like all such awkward-white-people-co-opting-black-culture ideas, it was insulting to the entire human race.
Swagger Dad #2
Now four years later Toyota, via their agency Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, has finally released a "sequel" featuring "The Neuberts" (Christ). And since many criticized the first spot as racist, the world's leading auto manufacturer brought in Brooklyn boy Busta Rhymes to embarrass the fuck out of himself, hopefully for a very fat stack.
It has all of the cringe and none of the entertainment of the original video. This took four years. And I'm unemployed.
American Greetings—"Dad Life" (2011)
The world's largest greeting card company (That's one of the Whitest phrases I've ever typed.) apparently scoped the success of the Toyota video, and dropped their own awful anthem less than two months later, pre-Father's Day. Theirs featured four Swagger Dads, including a black dad to mute racism criticism. Dockers® and St. John's Bay shirts and John Deere riding mowers and Roundup weed killer get shout-outs, though it's not clear if any of that was prearranged. Note the douchey bluetooth.
`2014: Cheerios #HowToDad
Cheerios and their digital ad agency Tribal Worldwide also certainly noticed the 12 million views the original Swagger Dad ad racked up. They smartly avoided the shitty studio rap track, but this dude is still just another Swagger Dad telling you #HowToDad—which includes eating and feeding your children bowl after motherfuckin' bowl of peanut butter Cheerios for "breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snacks". #HowToAngioplasty
Health concerns aside, this ad was just merely bad and unoriginal, until, yep: had to throw in those slo-mo fake gang signs at the end...ahh YEAH.
What Dad Ad do I like? This one, for Jell-O pudding, by cp+b. It's real. Yo.
This piece originally appeared on Copyranter. Republished with permission. Mark Copyranter was an NYC advertising copywriter for 20 years. Now, he's The Best Fucking Ad Critic In The World™. Follow him on Twitter: @copyranter.