Monday Morning Meditations | Social Issues | Sublimly Ridiculous | Tantrums

Why #howtodad is better than Nascar and how advertising is usually insulting

August 4, 2014


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So, the other day, sitting next to my husband at the local theater, small popcorn and Hydroflasks at the ready, we unfortunately were forced, for the sake of the upcoming film, to sit through the last few minutes of the INTERMINABLE (that means it feels like a form of torture used in the Spanish Inquisition) “Twenty”.

Between bites of heart-attack popcorn and healthy ice-water, because I like to be balanced, we were shown a commercial –

Synopsis (click to see the ad):   car racing family pulls into gas station and no body is there to take care of them.  No gas station attendant racing to pre-empt their every need.  So what happens?  The men sit there like helpless morons and mama gets her tantrum on and storms in while Dumb & Dumber inside the store look mystified.   2 seconds later, car is being cared for by the blue collar service class while cokes are being shared around, the racing family sits in their comfy mini-van being served as, it seems, they believe they deserve.

Why does this bother me?

The distinction between those people who are the served and those who serve.   The women who storms off to make sure that these yokels do what she wants so she can show how “empowered” she is.

It’s not funny.

It’s offensive to me.

See, I don’t think the kind of strong women we need in the world are the ones who whine loudest, pitch a fit most aggressively, or act like spoiled prima donnas to get their way.   We need women who don’t question being able to pump their own gas, get their own drinks,  and who a are willing to look out for the people around them while contributing to their world in more ways than just arm candy and LeBoutin.

I despise the weak, easily manipulated, must be led by the hand, men depicted by much of today’s advertising.   “What do I do?!” he questions, wide-eyed and timid.   I equally despise the neanderthal, “Me watch sports.” version too.

Whatever happened to clever, competent women who can make their point without sounding like an elitist snot?  Anyone here look down on Audrey Hepburn because she was soft spoken and kind?  And had an amazing career followed by a philanthropic legacy which lent even more credibility to her voice than any tabloid could discredit?

What happened to strong, intelligent men who stood up for what is right, defended the weak, offered their strength to the less fortunate, and lead from the front because they were substantial enough to follow?

I want my sons to see men like that and strive to emulate them.  Market that ideal.   I want the girls in my world to see that far from an exasperated tantrum to get their way, they should become as strong and independent as they can.  Get the education denied to women all over the world and use the thousands of unbelievable advantages we have as XX chromosomes in the Western World to make the world a BETTER place for more than just yourself.

If anyone from Coke is listening?  I really, really hated that ad campaign.  It’s not funny it’s demeaning and embarrassing to me as a woman in your target audience.  The mom in me cringed at the drooling imbecile confusion of the young men in the back seat, the wife in my immediately hated the whining dad who couldn’t understand why no one was there to “serve” him, and the woman in me would have happily slapped that entitled privilege off the woman’s face.


Get it together, Coke.   Do what Cheerios did.  #howtodad is Freaking. Awesome.

Smart, clever, empowering,  encouraging.

You know, I have a great family.  Married nearly 20 years to the kind of man who makes it easy to respect him and two sons who are thoughtful, engaged, intelligent young men. But that Cheerios commercial?

I saw at least 4 ways I could step up my game.   Since the message was so positive, the cereal became, inexplicably, more appealing.   As a thoughtful consumer, I wanted to go buy 14 boxes because of how much love there was for a socially responsible message.

A message of strength and common decency.  A family that moved together, liked each other, and worked together.  A dad who laughed, and engaged, while he paid attention to the children in his home.  A husband who affirmed his wife without demeaning himself or her.

It worked, Cheerios.   I smiled and laughed and actually craved small, sugary, round bits of cardboard.


Go see it, it’s fun…

Breakfast cereal hits it out of the park on #howtodad while Coca-Cola fumbles the ball with a whiny, first world privilege, all that is wrong with America spin on the family.  #howtosuck


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  • I liked everything you had to say in this article. My only comment is that (and I don’t know anything about Nascar to know for sure), I don’t think this is supposed to portray a family. I think these are all famous, adult NASCAR racers….not a mom and dad.

  • I think so too, but it is advertised as the “Nascar family” which I suppose could be interpreted to mean several things. 😉 Thanks for coming by!