You can’t fault them for trying

We came across an interesting magazine ad the other day by American Family Insurance. At first glance, it seems as though they’re one of the few companies to get it right, but let’s take a closer look with a dadmarketing eye. 

All dads, no moms?amfam

You might be thinking, can’t dadmarketing just be happy with this all-inclusive dad ad? Yes and no. Yes, because it’s refreshing to see what might be a record number of dads (three) in a magazine ad. No, because it’s not necessary, and not what we believe in. You see, our main focus is to stop excluding dads from marketing campaigns, not make them the only focus. Moms belong in ads every bit as dads do.

If this was an ad for a male-only product – face shaving cream, suits, underwear, etc. – we’d see the need. But an ad for insurance is every bit a “mom” product as a “dad” product – it’s a “family” product, a word that’s a third of their name. Bring on the moms, we say!

The role fits the part too much

We’ve watched, heard and seen other insurance ads, and yet another stereotype is that insurance is the guy’s domain. Dads are the protectors of the family, right? So, moms supposedly let dads handle this department, just like dads supposedly let moms do all the diaper changing.

Having only dads featured in this ad reeks of formulaic cliché.

Stereotypical roles

Indeed, dads can perform all the roles as featured in the AmFam ad – buying sports equipment, going fishing, painting – and there’s certainly nothing wrong with these tasks. But aren’t they being a bit typecast here? We think dads should be featured in real, everyday roles, too. If anything, one of the photos could have shown a dad doing a task normally classified as what most think of as “belonging” to a mom: baking, making crafts, grocery shopping. After all, dads do these things too, right? Right.

All in all, much can be learned from American Family Insurance’s valiant attempt, as we have to believe it was good-intentioned.


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