Memo to: Dads everywhere
From: Acme Public Relations Worldwide
Re: A blueprint for action
Date: Father’s Day 2018
Fathers are drastically losing market share, particularly to mothers, but also to grandmothers and even to teenage babysitters and complete strangers. The best known character on TV depicting a father, tellingly, is Homer Simpson, whose approach to nurturing children often leaves just a little something to be desired. Fathers are increasingly perceived as second-class citizens, or at best out to lunch. The refrain from kids in response to most anything a father says and does is generally along the lines of, “Oh, that’s just Dad being Dad,” Hence, our response here to the Dad community’s recently issued RFP for an agency of record.
To elevate the drastically diminished father brand, chiefly, but also to counter the widespread perception of dads as merely “the other parent,” overcome misapprehensions of fathers as hopelessly and helplessly delinquent in the discharge of even the most routine paternal duties and, most of all, project an image of dads as a leader, a hero to sons and daughters everywhere, able to walk on water and kill Godzilla, sometimes simultaneously.
Launch a full-scale multi-media global campaign – working title: “Dadly Do-Right” – to rebrand patrimony as something actually quite positive.
Children, mothers, mothers-in law, policymakers, family counselors, the guys at the sports bar around the corner, the general public and pretty much anyone willing to pay attention.
- Deploy exemplary “everyday” fathers (a k a “Everydads”) to appear on “Today,” “Good Morning America,” “Ellen” and perhaps “Bassmasters” to perform incredible stunts – heretofore considered impossible – such as listening closely.
- Enlist model dads as ambassadors to lobby lawmakers on Capitol Hill to push through legislation that lends fathers a competitive advantage that’s still technically legal.
- Create a website for fathers, complete with inspiring “How I Did It” personal stories, “How You Can Do Better” personal advice and a quiz to assess your skills, particularly at barbequing.
- Ensure that every father relies on a teleprompter any time he addresses his children in order to maintain strict message control and avoid common pitfalls such as saying something stupid and wildly insensitive.
- Solicit Hollywood producers to stop developing scripts starring Will Ferrell, Steve Carell and Seth Rogan in portrayals of Dads as loveable but hapless, clueless, no-account losers.
Key messages/talking points for fathers
- My role in the reproductive process deserves equal credit.
- I have chest hair as well as ear hair, so qualify as the real primate in this family.
- I have a deeper voice than mom does, so deserve status on a par with hers.
- “The American Dad On The Comeback Trail” (Time)
- “The Corporate Conspiracy Against Fatherhood” (Pro Publica)
- “Are Dads Becoming The New Moms?” (“60 Minutes”)
- “Why Dads Are Good For Our Health” (WebMD)
- “The Dad Who Could Do No Wrong” (Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
- “Say Hello To Robot Dad” (Wired)
- “How Dad Can Blast His Quads” (Men’s Health)
- “House Weighs Vote To Repeal Motherhood” (Washington Post)
- Pope Francis could come in handy as an ally for the cause, perhaps pitching in with Congressional testimony, though he might hesitate out of concern about alienating half his base.
- Schedule conference call with every dad on the planet to build unanimous consent about this proposed initiative.
- Develop PowerPoint presentation that celebrates dads in history from Neanderthals to holier-than-thou Williamsburg hipsters.
- Declare every day of the year Father’s Day, including – and especially -- Mother’s Day.
Bob Brody is a media strategist and editorial specialist with Powell Tate, a division of Weber Shandwick. A contributor to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications, he is the author of the memoir, Playing Catch with Strangers: A Family Guy (Reluctantly) Comes Of Age.