I saw this posted earlier today, and, like the person who posted it, I was really happy to see a commercial where an at-home dad (or any dad at all, frankly) is shown as a competent person, capable of taking care of things at home:
Pretty good, right?
I mean, yeah, the whole “haha he’s a dude yet he knows how to braid hair” thing is a little cheap, but it’s cute and pretty funny and I’d WAY rather see humor based on how good a guy is at something domestic or child-related than how he’s a bumbling buffoon, whose place in laundry commercials is only to be the guy who shrank or discolored something. Again.
So, in that vein, I want to make this really clear: I honestly believe that this commercial exists because someone (and very likely several “someones”) at Tide really is conscious that there are dads out there who care about doing their laundry well, and are trying to present at-home dads in a positive light. Maybe it’s just recognition of an untapped market-segment, rather than an attempt to be progressive as a company about parenting roles. I don’t know.
But I appreciate it. I really do.
Then I saw the name of the clip, as titled on YouTube by whoever at Tide (it was posted by Tide) does their social media: “Tide – My Tide TV Commercial – Dad Mom Short Version.”
Something didn’t feel right.
What the heck is a Dad Mom?
When I found the “long version” — or, rather than a longer version of the previous commercial, it appears to be a longer commercial as part of the same campaign — I got my answer, and was disheartened to find out that what I’d feared was true. Tide has decided to make “Dad Mom” the title of this new at-home dad ad campaign and character:
What’s wrong with just . . . Dad?
I know the whole Mr. Mom-sensitivity thing among us at-home dads can seem like a waste of outrage, and be written off as us getting upset over something silly and harmless. But can you imagine how insulted women would be if a company — any company — made a commercial that targeted or featured a working mom and called her “Mom Dad,” based on the idea that she was a mom but out every day working like a dad usually does? How she works every day at the office with all the dad dads? And how then the big joke at the end is that she makes a sound business decision as if she was (ha ha ha) a man?
It would never make the air. So why does this?
Look, I’m not calling for a Tide boycott, or anything of the sort. Like I said, I believe this was done with the best of intentions.
But when I watch these commercials, the prevailing feeling I can’t help but feel is “Aaaaaargh! They were so close!”
For the most part, I love the way this dad is presented in both commercials. He’s confident. He’s comfortable. He’s competent. He’s funny. He’s not taking himself overly seriously, but takes his job seriously. The line that being an at-home dad “means that while my wife works, I’m at home being awesome,” is, well, awesome.
So why completely emasculate him by suggesting that his proficiency with washing and folding his daughter’s clothes makes him in any way a mom? Why insult actual moms by suggesting that doing laundry is in any way, shape or form anywhere close to being a part of what makes them who they are?
Please, Tide . . . please think seriously about jettisoning the Dad Mom and the Mom Mom references in this advertising campaign.
Tide recently released a new ad that is much, much better, and is a good signal that they are listening and trying to improve. Check it out.