Why Did This Television Commercial Make Me Cry?

This week at university we are studying the theory of theory. It’s a great topic because as my lecturer suggested in yesterday’s class, everyone has a theory about something. Well, at least those that were present in class agreed and suggested some theories about certain topics that are close to their hearts. And I’m sure that my regular readers know that I have several theories about parenting and being a modern father in 2014. Discussing more and more theories in my future posts will be where I am heading with this blog.

While I was working today I went to YouTube, as I do many days, and decided to listen to some music while I work away. Today I looked up one of the songs from my favourite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, “Once More, With Feeling” and the song is called “I’ve Got a Theory / Bunnies / If We’re Together.” Being a musical (episode), there’s actually three songs mashed together into one, but it’s the “I’ve Got a Theory” part of the song that I was obviously looking for because of the university topic.

The person who uploaded the song has added advertising to their YouTube channel so I had to wait until the advert played before I could listen to the song. Often when those five seconds have passed and the countdown clock turns into the “skip ad” button I click on it, but when an advertisement catches my attention within the first five seconds, I will always watch it. And today I saw an advert that caught my attention. The advert is for the website Domain which is the online real estate guide for the Fairfax Media Group. After viewing the advertisement I looked up Domain.com.au in YouTube’s search function so that I could track down the advertisement to watch again. Why, I hear you ask? Well…

Firstly, the song. I wanted to find out who the artist of this song was. When I found the advert on Domain’s YouTube channel and read some of the comments left by others who had viewed the advert on their channel, I wasn’t the only one looking for the name of the song and the artist. But more on that later; I’m sure you want to view the advertisement for yourself to see why I’m raving about it.

Let me just pretext it with the blurb that the advertiser gave for this commercial.

“Meet Charlie, the little champion setting up all the right moves to help his family make the good move.”

Now let me tell you why this particular advert got to me on an emotional level.

I’ve written about dads in commercials before as have many of my fellow Dad Bloggers. I’m going to highlight these two fine gentlemen because I truly admire their work. Both are American based bloggers so the brands they write about are obviously from the US.

Zach Rosenberg from 8BitDad writes many stories about the positive and negative portrayals of dads in advertising and if you click on this link you will be redirected to the complete database of his stories about “Dadvertising” as he has called it.  If you don’t want to sift through that complete database just check out his article called Observations on Dad-Bias in 140 Commercials from 2013.

Chris Routly from Daddy Doctrines is “well known for his civil approach with brands and has “started the conversation” with several on how to approach fathers and fatherhood. He is a brilliant negotiator and a true gentleman.” (Source: Dad Bloggers’ Glossary). In what is now know as “The Huggies Incident,” Chris was able to, well, I’ll let him tell the story; Huggies: Because You Can’t Trust Dad to Change the Diaper Properly.

Chris’ story even made it to national news in the United States and you can read about it here. Because the negative portrayal of dads is a topic that many of us bring up in our discussion group, we have a term for it which is “The Routly Scale” or “(going) the Full Routly.” Again as described in the Dad Bloggers’ Glossary, the Routly Scale is “the scale for measuring the size and scope of offence to fathers, especially in relation to advertising (e.g., Huggies, Amazon Mom).” For more about the Huggies Incident, check out my footnotes below.

Now this particular advert for Domain is not centred around the dad. The father in the advert is also not portrayed in a negative way. So why am I highlighting this? It’s just a great portrayal of a real life family in a real life situation and to me, this works. Also, the boy in this advert, Charlie, is proving to be as manipulative as my own five year old son as I mentioned in this story; Why Does Our Son Want Mummy and Daddy To Get Divorced?

And the twist at the end which becomes a sort of punch-line to this cute little story is perfectly crafted to wrap up the advert. The whole concept of this commercial is great. In fact, I actually teared up watching the part where the dad goes into the bedroom to show the mum the house Charlie had left on the screen, and once again at the end when the twist came. (Okay, I know I’m a softy and have been more emotional since becoming a father, but it’s nice to be moved by a short 60 second film like this).

Now I need to let you know that unlike my sponsored posts where I add a disclaimer at the end to let you know who was paying for the advertising within my story, this post is not sponsored by Domain, nor by the advertising agency. I simply wrote this because would like to commend the advertising agency The Works and the creative team of Guy Patrick, Josh Whiteman, Steve Dodds headed up by the Creative Strategy Director, Andy Pilkington. Well done guys. Well done.

And as I promised above, this is what I can tell you about the song that accompanies the advert. The writer is Bruce Heald from Noise International. He has worked on many advertising campaigns in Australia. You can read about him here. The song draws you in to the story just as much as the story itself and that’s what any great songwriter or composer’s job is. Well done to Bruce too.

Have any advertising campaigns moved you?


Huggies in the US fixed their mistake as Chris wrote about in this sotry; Huggies Unveils Revised Version of Commercial and They Nailed It. Huggies is also a major sponsor of the National At Home Dad Network conference. Other brands like them are coming on board for conferences such as the Dad 2.0 Summit in February 2015 which I will be attending and am hoping to be selected to be a keynote speaker. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes. In the mean time, check out the link to the website and check out that other brands that came on board in the last few years since this conference began.

In addition to working with the brands to make sure that they are reaching us dads and showing us in a positive light, we also need to reach the advertising agencies to make sure that they are on board with this too. I’m sure that Zach, Chris and the organisers of the Dad 2.0 Summit are onto this.

You can read what others are saying about this commercial here on Campaign Brief.

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