TV ads to dads: The gift of total cluelessness

June 13, 2007|By Kevin Cowherd | Kevin Cowherd,Sun Columnist

Dad's clueless about technology.

Dad's a nitwit who can't handle the kids without constant direction from his nurturing, all-knowing wife.

Dad fakes any enthusiasm for family projects. He'd rather swill beer on the couch and play with the remote.

Dad's lucky they even let him live in the house - and they wouldn't if the big lug didn't bring home a paycheck.

Sure, you know all this.

You know all this because that's how dads have been depicted in popular culture for years.

In movies like National Lampoon's Summer Vacation and Little Miss Sunshine and in sitcoms from All in the Family to The Simpsons, Dad's been the lovable buffoon from Planet Dimwit who could mess up a two-car funeral.

Now just in time for Father's Day comes a fresh batch of TV commercials perpetuating the Loser Dad stereotype.

Let's start with the breathtakingly offensive "horse's behind" spot for Sony digital cameras.

Have you seen this little gem?

It shows Dad as a - this is why ad copywriters get the big bucks - horse's behind interacting with his family.

No, really.

The horse's behind pushes his daughter on her tricycle. Takes his son to practice. Burns burgers on the grill. Talks with one of the kid's teachers.

Oh, yeah, this is a classy commercial.

In the end, we find out it's for a new feature on Sony Cyber-shot cameras called "face-detection" that makes sure faces, and not background images, stay in focus.

Thanks, Sony.

Happy Father's Day to you, too. From all us horse's behinds.

Next up: the McDonald's commercial that show kids from different countries all worked up and talking excitedly in their native tongues.

Finally, we learn what the big fuss is when an American kid bursts through the door of his house and shouts: "Dad's making dinner!"

Cut to a scene of a multicultural army of dads bringing home McDonald's for dinner.

Whew, for a moment there, we thought Dad was going to actually try to cook!

And we just know he'll mess that up!

Thanks, McDonald's.

Keep the big guy out of the kitchen and the world will be a better place, right?

Then there's the Verizon Wireless spot where Blowhard Dad announces to his kids that he's put the family on a new calling plan that'll let them use their cell phones whenever they want, as much as they like.

This is greeted with sullen silence.

Then the daughter tells Blowhard Dad that - duh! - the family already has this great calling plan.

"Yeah, but now we can afford for Mom to quit her second job," says Blowhard Dad, or something like that.

Whereupon a frowning Mom appears dressed in some kind of ridiculous taco costume, off to her other job pounding the pavement and drumming up customers for some Mexican joint in town.

"Hola!" says Blowhard Dad, getting one last jab at his exhausted, put-upon spouse.

Yuk, yuk, that's a good one, Verizon Wireless.

Let's face it, there's nothing we dads like to do more than make the old lady work 'til she drops.

Finally, even fathers-to-be are ridiculed in the new Coors Light commercials.

"I think this is it!" exclaims a woman in a bathroom, gazing at the positive results of her home-pregnancy test.

"I think this is it!" exclaims Dopey Dad-to-Be, gazing at the Coors Light bottles in his fridge.

See, the labels on the bottles have turned blue, meaning the beer has reached the perfect temperature to drink.

And that's all guys like to do when their wives slip into the bathroom to see if they're pregnant: Get hammered.

Well, you can guess what happens next.

The wife walks up to the guy and shouts "It's blue!" Meaning she's pregnant.

At the same time, Dopey Dad-to-Be shouts: "It's blue!" Meaning it's time to get wasted.

The wife stalks back to the bathroom and slams the door.

"It's blue, like your eyes!" Dopey Dad-to-Be yells, apparently in a last-ditch attempt to get his sensitivity training to kick in.

Naturally, he screws that one up, too.

"My eyes are green!" the wife wails behind the door.

Oh, what's the big deal, right? She'll get over it.

In the meantime, you can see the wheels turning in Dopey Dad-to-Be's head: Let's party!

Thanks, Coors Light.

That's the best Father's Day gift a guy could get.

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

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