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AdStand: Father’s Day 2016

There are really very few brands that have been built on father appeal. Yet this year many of those brands crossed over to other side, they did celebrate fatherhood. The clutter of Father’s Day ads led brands trying to differentiate hard from others

Delhi | June 22, 2016

Adstand by Naresh Gupta

The Father’s Day advertising clutter this year was the highest ever that I have seen. Fathers are not the most celebrated people in the ad world. Brands are happier portraying single men in their narratives then fathers. Fathers tend to make brands softer; moms do the soft aspect better.

Man as provider, mom as nurturer leaves little space for father – unless it is insurance where fathers rule that category. There are really very few brands that have been built on father appeal. Yet this year many of those brands crossed over to other side, they did celebrate fatherhood.

The bigger question is: Is there a brand out there which did not celebrate Father’s Day this year?

How did the tradition come into being? Unlike a lot of special days which have been created by international bodies like the UN, Father’s Day has religious and parental underpinnings. There is no one fixed day for Father’s Day. What we celebrated in India is the US date, and this day, from US custom, is all about celebrating fatherhood. What may have started as a day of societal celebration has a hundred years later become a full-blown marketing event.

This year Father’s Day was all over. You could not escape the hyper-marketing of the day. It was on all the brand mails, all newspapers had many ads, it was all over social feeds, it was on radio stations, it was on malls, there were special menu on restaurants. No one wanted to miss the festivity.

Do I make it sound like Diwali?

Zomato had the wittiest email sent out. Rarely will an email sent by a brand make it to social networks. Zomato’s did. Kids at Zomato sent out a mail offering a zero per cent discount on the Father’s Day; instead it wanted kids and fathers to sit down and have a meal. For once an online brand was not offering a discount!

The clutter of Father’s Day ads led brands trying to differentiate hard from others.

Snapdeal released large ads across the country with the hashtag #FathersCanBeMomsToo. What could have been an interesting plank was eventually a simple “we have things for Fathers” ad.

Diametrically opposite was the Raymond commercial that celebrates single moms as dads. #SalutingSingleMoms takes on the social media’s love for socially relevant messages and creates an enduring tale of child and mother bonding. The conversation the ad had on its social media feed does seem to indicate that not everyone has loved the ad; some people felt that the play on single mom as father was rather contrived. I like the non-judgmental tonality of the brand, but it is a bit too advertising type and may be that takes away from the charm.

Myntra, Videocon, Google, Bank Bazaar, FoodPanda, IndiaBulls and many more climbed on the bandwagon to celebrate Father’s Day.

The problem is that persuasion economy can make dads feel incomplete and put performance pressure on them. There is a stereotype of dads in advertising: hardworking, forgetful, pressurized, learning to be softer, occasionally cooking, and often socially challenged.

The real Father’s Day ads are outside the Father’s Day deluge of ads. The real father today does more than conventional stereotypical role. Vodafone did this brilliantly. He actually takes his child to the bus stand and drapes his dhoti for fancy dress, or rushes his little princess to washroom in strange city.

In reality, fatherhood appeals can be used and should be used beyond the blitzkrieg of Father’s Day. There are many interesting insights to explore.

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