Monday, 18 August 2014

Baffled dads

(This was written in April. And then I forgot to click 'publish'. As a result, none of these ads are even on anymore. Good stuff, Michael!)

It must be great being an Advertising Man. You get to feel a bit creative, but also a bit business-y. You're not quite the four-square, straight-down-the-line, garden-variety corp-o-drone, but you're also not a slimy, warehouse-dwelling art student either. You have a bottomless expenses account, but you also spend time in your Inspiration Hammock. The best of both worlds.

The other great thing about being an Advertising Man (as imagined by me) as that you can blatantly copy your peers. When you're not in the mood to be a revolutionary, game-changing, up-firing creative, you can just cobble together a pitch based on that pretty effective ad you caught last night. That one about toast.

How else to explain the current bunch of adverts featuring baffled dads making hearty comfort food for their distant, unknowable offspring. There's a trio of them on TV at the moment. Let's take a look:

A bearded, grizzled lighthouse-keeper-esque dad attempts to console his daughter's romantic troubles. With a potato topped mince dish. You can see his dilemma: he's clearly some kind of long absent sea captain, briefly returned from months of isolation on a rickety old trawler. He doesn't understand these land people troubles. What is this thing you call "love", soil-foot? Note his suspicious sideways glances as she tucks into his meal: will this placate her bizarre inland ways? Will a full belly soothe her restless soul, a bit like over-feeding a white whale? Is this my daughter? He gives up, looks back down into the sink to wash up, watches the way the bubbles swell around his hands and soon finds himself staring off into the howling darkness, the salty maelstrom of the Earth's watery guts, the endless rocking of the waves carrying him back out into land-lost oblivion. The ad cuts off just before he starts shouting uncontrollably.

Another dad ad, another girl, another failed relationship. This time dad is sporting a sense of humour - why, that boy you loved and lost? Let us emulate his visage on an egg and then smash his speccy fucking face in with a teaspoon, just like the flop-aired knob-drip deserves. This ad is notable for also using the jolly bell end dad as well as the wise-beyond-his-years little shithead brother. The boisterous nature of the dad-son team's approach makes things more condescending than the sea captain's ad. While the sea captain is responding in the only way he knows how (through mince) to a situation he's completely out of his depths with, the dad-son team are fully aware of the situation, but they've just chosen to ignore it. Their message is thus: shut up, and put an egg in.

And then, the only one with a male teenager. Will it also be about a broken romance? Will Dan find grim consolation in a big pie, or by cracking his ex-beloved's face with a tea spoon and then dipping toast soldiers into the eggy wound? Well, no. Dan's in bed. Dan can't be arsed getting up. This ad satisfies two things - that kids are baffling monsters that sleep like the dead, and that they can only disappoint. Note how the dad responds "afternoon" to his exhausted son's "morning": there's a hatred there rivalled only by a married couple in a 1970s sitcom. Yeah, good morning, you greasy little bastard. 

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