General Mills finds the Smart Dads Missing on TV

I’ve been grousing for a long time about the way advertisers (and sitcom writers) portray fathers as buffoons and ignorant slobs who must be instructed by their children when they are not being utterly emasculated by their wives, to whom they must obediently kowtow.

So, kudos to General Mills and whoever has their Cheerios account:

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How refreshing is that? A smart, easygoing dad who is involved with his family and has a sense of humor. I see a lot of my husband in that guy. And I love the energy of the ad, the way the camera flies — there are very few cutaways, so the thing has momentum.

It’s not the first time Cheerios has managed to put a great, involved dad to the fore:

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Good on ya, General Mills. For 30 years we’ve had Cheerios in our cabinets. My husband used to share them with our sons, slipping them one-by-one across the highchair. Thanks for noticing the good dads in our midst.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Ian Rutherford

    I applaud the commercial but it wouldn’t prompt me to buy Cheerios since GM is all in for homosexual marriage. It’s just a cynical marketing ploy to make sure they don’t have any fall off in their family constituents while they funnel money to destroying that very group.

  • SissyWillis

    Nice. Reminds me — in a Dad Lite sort of way — of the full-bodied Cadillac ELR dad :)

  • Manny

    I love it! I love being a dad. Stupid of me to wait to being one for the first time at 48 (four years ago) years old. I should have done it years ago.
    Hey I was finally able to comment at Anchoress. It seems she closes comments just before I get there. Perhaps it’s a hint. ;)

  • Romulus

    Nice Nipper allusion at 1:12.

  • Burn Ender

    It is an ultimate pander toward a female audience. Make the male look stupid, make the female look smart, responsible. Advertisers know women make up about 85% of the spending.

    The media also adopts this principal, you see nothing carefully selected stories that bash fathers and men but when women do something horrible its either not mentioned or funny.

    Like Katherine Becker who cut off a mans penis and threw it down a garbage disposal was laughed at on “The Talk” with Julie Chen and Sharonne Osborne, you also heard a predominately female audience burst out in laughter. Switch the genders, you would have heard outrage had a male done something as egregious as that.

    That is why I don’t watch sitcoms, nor T.V outside of sports, tired of men being portrayed as stupid when we know men have pretty much built all of civilization and are responsible for just about every bit of technology we enjoy today. Those women that laugh at men who get their crotches kicked, just remember who built and drives those trucks which supplies the malls they love shopping at. Just remember who is responsible for the car you drive, the airconditioning you enjoy, the cellphones and the cellphone networks facebook and twitter are connected to.

    This society doesn’t appreciate men at all and quite frankly, its disgusting to the point where I’m permanently expating to somewhere else once I have enough money and a decent revenue stream going.

  • donttouchme

    Yeah, what a great dad. They manage to retain the essential effeminacy while also throwing him a bone as if to say, “Yes, you’re obviously emasculated, but we’re willing to pretend you’re not, because we have heard and understand that’s important to you, that we pretend that you DON’T have the soul of a eunich.” It’s in the details. In the first he such a great servant, he gives the boss her coffee and takes care of the kids while she looks at facebook in the background or maybe brings home the bacon, because that’s how you “dad.” In the second, you know who’s boss. Look at the absolute confidence in the little girl’s face when she informs him she’s getting a puppy. Where did she learn that? Of course he pretends they’re making a “deal.” This is the exact same thing as anywhere else, the exact same thing. Except maybe a little more insulting because it’s more patronizing.

  • Dennis M

    Finally society understands you can’t play “bad cop, bad cop” and expect results. You can’t call dads morons and baffoons when they stick around and then deadbeat lowlifes when they don’t.

  • donttouchme

    “It is an ultimate pander toward a female audience. Make the male look stupid, make the female look smart, responsible.”

    Exactly. But even “traditionally-minded” women are unable to see it. Because they don’t actually respect men. They have this strange mental simulation of respect that allows them to keep their feminist equality bona fides and still feel kind of like they actually think highly of men, but it’s just a psychological trick they play on themselves.

    Edit: But it’s obviously not just women playing the pseudo-respect game. The quasi-men who happen to be fathers after the mainstream Catholic fashion today love it, too, pretending to enjoy the pretended respect from their wives.

  • wgone

    A really great ad Too bad its wasted on garbage like cheerios!

  • Wirend

    Ian, quick question – by what mechanic does recognizing homosexual relationships as similar or the same damage or in any way alter heterosexual relationships? It seems to me that it may have the effect of altering the homosexual relationship by adding bureaucracy to relationship breakup (bureaucracy that in a lot of places is not involved) but doesn’t seem to alter the existing relationships at all. Feminism and the bar fucked up the family, and spending attention on any other group would seem to be a waste of time. (In fact, it would seem that good strategy would be to drive a wedge between feminism and said groups instead of willingly pounding it in ourselves.)

  • Aaron P.

    You think that homosexuals getting married is destroying marriage????
    *cue laughter*
    Marriage has been destroying itself since its inception. Its an unnatural situation forced upon us by society. People were never meant to marry, plain and simple. How else can you explain the high divorce rates and the rates of infidelity? Marriage is not sanctified by God, its a contract between two people. What difference does it make what gender they are?

  • Andrejovich Dietrich

    whats the demo for any and all ads? The 75% who do the shopping. Who ironically enough spend the rest of the money of the other 25%.

  • Pete from Hobe Sound

    It’s one of my mantras: American television has gone from “Father Knows Best” to “Daddy Doesn’t Know a Damn Thing”. I’m glad to hear there’s a commercial bucking the trend.

  • Eric

    I get my wife coffee….. She also gets a lot of things for me that I like. Something unworthy or un-Christian or un-dadlike about being a servant?

  • vsm

    Exactly. He’s neutered and efficient — and about as masculine as that box of cheerios he’s hawking.

  • TapestryGarden

    You’re definitely the world’s greatest expert on your own opinion. But you have simply declared what you believe, failing utterly to provide the slightest bit of evidence you have any support for your rather outrageous theories. Marriage exists in every society and has since the beginning of recorded history (and likely before). Marriage in your opinion seems little more than a financial contract without any consequence and easily discarded when one or the other party gets bored. I think you need to do a bit of research before making such silly comments.

  • TapestryGarden

    This starts early. Go into any elementary school classroom, likely taught by females and you see everything “male” rejected. Sit still! Pay attention! Quit moving around! Your hands are dirty! Why don’t you want to read this incredibly boring blather? All things “feminine” such as obedience, ability to sit quietly and work on a lesson, and willingness to be compliant to instruction are rewarded. Boys soon feel they are the lesser sex, that they are stupid, that they have less chance to succeed. This translates to the adult male who alternates playing video games and trying to find a competent female to support him. We broke it, we bought it. I’d like to see the difference between males and females understood and appreciated instead of morphed into this demand for effete and androgynous males.

    I write to companies that insist on portraying males as morons. I’m a very smart female and do not need to demean males to have confidence in my own ability.

  • Joyfully

    I concur, Elizabeth, and add this Cheerio’s ad from last summer:

    The creative mind on this one is either Catholic or is and doesn’t know it! Little one speaks Eucharist truth.

  • Razedbywolvs

    Peanut butter Cheerios pay attention.

  • Eldritch Edain

    I’d suggest some women do see it, and Cheerios may be responding to negative feedback from wives of good men who are sick of seeing men portrayed that way.

  • Ian Rutherford

    It redefines marriage into something that is no longer a building block of civilization acknowledged by society as what keeps that society strong and growing but instead shrinks it into a contract based on feelings between two people with no permanence or future.

    I grant that we’ve already done a fine job destroying marriage without explicitly redefining it. This just makes it official and impossible to correct.

  • MillerJM

    Actually, if you factor out 1) individuals who marry before the age of 25 and 2) repeat divorcees (those who divorce 2 or more times). The divorce rate drops to less than 30%. Furthermore, if you take a marital preparation class, divorce rates drop another 10 to 14%. Thus, the vast majority of folks stay married if they do so at a mature age and are properly prepared. It sounds like you need to go back to school before you start giving ridiculously bad information. *cue laughter back at you*

  • PlainOldTruth

    Not impressed. “Muscle mass” “garbage day.” I’m still boycotting their crap products.. And I’m boycotting all the fluff. The weak-character indoctrinated go-along-to-get-along teachers’ conformist union freaks at the government centers demand that they condition our kids. Not acceptable.

  • Daniel

    A commercial that doesn’t suck is certainly newsworthy.

  • Susie Parker

    You guys DO know Cheerios isn’t good for you, don’t you? An expensive cardboard box encasing a plastic bag of adulterated sawdust sprayed with chemicals passing for nutrition so no adult has to cook or prepare any real food?

    What “smart” father would actually promote feeding this worthless filler to a child?

  • Susie Parker

    Contracts are made to be broken? Tell that to Verizon.

  • Ponte

    Teeny tiny baby steps in the right direction for an ad. Not impressed, It won’t continue.

  • Anna

    Yep, commercials that portray dads as morons always make me want to throw something. And I refuse to allow Berenstain Bears books in our house for the same reason. But no use arguing with donttouchme; he’s been showing up on all the female-written Catholic blogs here and insisting that real men treat women like middle-schoolers and that any man who is a caring husband and father isn’t actually a man.

  • Dennis M

    Yeesh, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you and it might start handing tastier treats. It’s a step in the right direction, don’t rock the boat.

  • donttouchme

    That’s a truth and lie right next to each other. Treating a woman like a middle-schooler IS caring and manly.

    The only reason I show up on some women’s blogs is because they’re objectively good blogs for other reasons like Simcha’s or Unequally Yoked, and because men’s blogs in the Catholosphere either avoid these topics like the plague or go all mealy-mouthed and theology-of-the-body on it, which is boring.

  • donttouchme

    Yes, obviously, taken in context. But let me guess, you….LOVE the commercial….and Theology of the Body.

  • Wirend

    So, symbolic then? I was under the impression that marriage was a legal contract meant to influence people who are married to stay together and raise their children by applying society’s ‘teeth’ to those who’d leave and or damage the contract in some other manner. That can be done regardless of the gender or genders of those involved in the contract. Symbolism is irrelevant, reality should only be concerned with what a contract actually does. The redefining of the contract is what destroyed the contract. It no longer applies teeth to those who would leave if they have a vagina (usually.) It instead rewards them regardless of their behavior or responsibility, financed by resources robbed from the other party at gunpoint (alimony or jail, pay or be arrested, resist arrest and be shot, ergo, gunpoint.)
    It only worked because civilizations work best when they promote monogamous relationships. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the creation of children. In many cases, you cannot turn someone gay straight, or straight gay. Gay people will or will not have kids, in our out of wedlock. The contract will not alter them choosing to have kids (but could help to clean up our disastrous . But what it might do is keep the dads or moms together, something which we DO want. We have a societal interest in monogamy for another reason as well – control of the spread of STDs. If a partner in a relationship knows that they’ll be facing an at-fault divorce, they might just keep their jeans zipped. And in doing so, not getting aids, and bringing it home. 2 insanely expensive medical treatments made unnecessary by a single piece of paper. (And a whole bunch more taxes paid, everybody wins.) Oh, another thing it used to do – convince a gay mom or dad to stick around until the kid is 18 and then worry about the divorce. Sucks for the parent, but, civilizations usually prefer the kid over the parent. Feminism changed that by the way, not the gay lobby. (Though, technically, one could call feminism a type of gay lobby, but that’s neither here nor there.)
    And, it has always been a contract based on promoting one set of feelings, but once entered into, dissuading another more destructive set of feelings. It has been turned into a contract based on rewarding destructive behavior at the behest at those who feel that they deserve their fair share of something that exists without any real understanding of what caused that something to come into existence. Feminism is the true enemy and focusing on gays and symbolism gives them free hand to continue their path of hate. Which side are you on?

  • Lorenzo Benito

    If it makes you feel any better, Gay Marriage is very far down on the list of reasons why I won’t get married. Really, really far down.

    If anything, I wonder why Gays want to get married in the first, when it is only recently that straight men are finally starting to chew their legs out of that bear-trap. I suppose they’ll have to get burnt themselves before learning the lesson.

  • Lorenzo Benito

    Actually, that is exactly what it is. Putting a couple of layers of Godpaint on it may mask this, but it will still only be a mask.

  • Krolll

    ‘Why do advertisers portray men as idiots? A new survey has revealed that WOMEN are angry with the way men are depicted in TV adverts – so why aren’t MEN complaining?’

  • Mr. Two Cents

    Screw the media. Screw “societal norms.” I’m bucking this trend; and I’m taking my son with me. It’s up to men. It’s always been up to us to lead. We see what happens when we don’t. Strong, father-led families are at the center of a healthy society. Natural Law has been tested here in the last 40 years and still proves to be right, yet again.

  • donttouchme

    It is destroying marriage and you’re a case in point. It contributes significantly to debasing the general understanding of what marriage is and makes people like you think marriage is just a contract between any two people, which is stupid.

    Marriage IS society and civilization. It’s the source of civilization and the basic cell of society. Neither would exist in any developed, civilized sense without marriage. So if you value modern society with all its perks such as, for example, the computer you’re typing on, you own that ultimately to marriage.

  • Fiddlesticks

    That add is really clever. I’m already thinking ‘I must buy my kids cheerios so that my husband will give them breakfast in the morning while I sleep in’. There’s a sliver of my brain that’s telling me that there’s something not quite right about that logic, but when you’re in the supermarket trying to choose between cheerios and shreddies there’s no time for negative thinking.

  • donttouchme

    This all got me thinking…I wonder if this ad is actually intended as an indictment of men. I assumed it was a basically sincere but ultimately condescending homage, but what if it’s 100% cynical? It’s not saying anything to the women it’s aimed at except that that’s basically the best you can expect from men and, in fact, what you ought to expect from men. This is the new “masculinity.” It reminded me of this dissection of a Guinness ad:
    We men are maybe even worse off than previously believed.

  • Aaron P.

    But.. it IS a contract.

    When your marriage fails, you don’t go back to the preacher, you go to a LAWYER.

    Oh, here:

    Some facts for y’all.
    Enjoy! :)

  • Aaron P.

    Please explain how my computer is the result of marriage.

    Marriage of innovative thinking and technology, Yes.

    Marriage of two people duped into believing this is a blessing by God, No.

  • Aaron P.

    It was my first(only) marriage, I was 29, and we both took classes. Odds were in my favor, right?

    YOU go back to school!!!!!!

  • donttouchme

    I already did, in the second paragraph. I gather you’re not too bright, so I’ll break it down: marriage led to civilization, civilization led to technological advances, technological advances led to computers, ergo marriage led to computers. Complicated, eh? I know. Thinking is hard. But that’s why homosexuals getting “married” destroys marriage and civilization. Because it confuses the whole issue for folks like yourself.

  • ME

    That was my first thought when finishing up watching the commercial too….

  • LT Brass Bancroft

    Stop nagging.