I hate ads that make dads into morons to superficially boost moms by comparison as much as I hate beer ads that denigrate women to superficially boost men. Both versions of these lazy sexist tropes are insulting to both parties— the one actively insulted and the one whose itch the insult is supposed to scratch. I’ve noted some improvement on this front recently, and this ad is another installment. We’re all human beings and Americans who enjoy beer, Swiffers, and now Peanut Butter Cheerios, and can be treated with dignity and respect by the brands we buy.
In this modern dad ad, a clearly capable father of four illustrates that he— gasp!— knows how to be a parent. He can do things and teach things and mentor boy and girl children alike instead of just putting his daughter in a tutu and a scuba mask for a dentist appointment or burning microwaveable chicken nuggets or some such nonsense. He’s a grown-up Ferris Bueller, breaking the fourth wall to talk to all of dad-dom, handing Sloane her morning coffee— “Hot stuff comin’ through. The wife and the coffee.” And I imagine these days, with four kids, Beuller would be saying something like, “Holy crap, life is moving really frickin’ fast. But I will make time to stop and look around every once in a while because being here for these kids is better than belting Wayne Newton on a parade float in downtown Chicago.” (Though, he’s clearly not too grown-up because Peanut Butter Cheerios, ugh.)
Dad on, Ferris. Generation X is sick of your B.S., anyway, and this is another of its messengers. He’s gettin’ it done. So many are, and I like to see it on TV. I imagine for some it might have a tad too much of the feel of hipster insistence that this generation of parents is a new kind of parent, a cool kind of parent. But in its defense this dad also references making rules and enforcement, so it ain’t all about being Junior’s besty. Also, being a parent is cool, and it’s always nice to see it portrayed with a little joie de vivre instead of just a harried slog (which it most certainly is sometimes as well).