Dad’s In The Cradle

There’s been a lot of talk about which Super Bowl commercial was the worst.  The competition was pretty stiff this year.  Was it the Nationwide ad where a little boy turns out to be dead?  Or the creepy one with Jeff Bridges in a couple’s bedroom?  Or one of the many commercials that were supposed to be funny but were complete duds instead?

To me, the worst commercial was the Nissan ad where a race-car driver has a son, is an absentee Dad who ignores and repeatedly disappoints his kid, and then tries to make up for it by giving the kid a new car.  In short, you can cure your crappy performance in the fatherhood department if you just shell out enough for a really neat car!  Hard to believe that even a car manufacturer would think that message would promote car sales.

But this commercial wasn’t bad just because it made me kind of embarrassed to be a Dad, either.  I really hated it because the soundtrack was Harry Chapin’s awful Cat’s In The Cradle song, which has to be one of the worst and most depressing songs ever recorded — and not just because Harry Chapin really couldn’t sing a note.  It’s a trite message about a Dad who works his life away rather than playing ball with his kid.  Because he wasn’t playing catch with his son, his priorities obviously were misplaced.  Who cares if the overworked Dad has to labor those long hours because he’s trying to put food on the table, buy clothes for his family, and send his kids to college.  But those are the kind of real world nuances that the sledgehammer subtlety of Cat’s In The Cradle just couldn’t capture.

These days, Dads usually aren’t cast in a very favorable light, and the Nissan ad is just the latest in a long line of Dad dissings.  I’m tired of it.  The ad agency that came up with that effort should be sentenced to listening to Cat’s In The Cradle for a solid week.

 

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