P&G, Procter and Gamble, IGNORE Dads in Their Olympics Commercials

Category: Weekly Columns

Excuse me? P&G has been airing a ton of commercials during The Olympics in which they portray the wonderful support moms give their athlete kids. And, they do. BUT, so do the dads. Maybe, just maybe, even as much as the moms. Maybe, gulp, even more?

A non-parent friend of mine was watching The Olympics and saw one of these mom-ads from P&G. His first reaction was, “Gee, I assume the next one will celebrate how dads contribute to their kid’s athletic pursuits.” Nope, never happened. He was as stunned as I was.

Isn’t it time we recognize that BOTH parents these days are involved in raising OUR kids? Yes, sometimes it’s the moms who are more active but sometimes it’s the dads. And, to take a sexist stereotype, wouldn’t dads be as least or maybe even more interested in being involved in their kid’s sports endeavors?

I’m an Olympics junkie and really enjoyed watching the women’s gymnastics team win the gold. Did you see how Aly Raisman’s mom AND dad were so fully involved, excited, anxious, and lovingly there for their daughter. Mom AND dad! Hello @ProcterGamble.

Funny...it looks like mom AND dad to me!?

I’ve never gotten on the bandwagon of complaints about dads portrayal by brands and advertisers, but this time I can’t sit idly by and watch this go on. Procter and Gamble, you OWE us dads not only an apology but equal time.

PLEASE let @ProcterGamble know how you feel about this! Tomorrow night’s #DadChat is coincidentally all about The Olympics and Sports – join us and let’s get out the word about P&G to MILLIONS! I will also be talking about this – passionately – on my radio show tomorrow!

UPDATE: @ProcterGamble sent this tweet to me and I do believe this commercial is great. I told them so, but asked about the number of those in the rotation, since I’ve watched a LOT of The Olympics and not seen it, but had seen a whole bunch of the moms ones:

So, the dads get shaving commercials … I get it. Let’s reinforce those gender stereotypes!

Second UPDATE: I invited @ProcterGamble to join us at #DadChat. They didn’t show up. The discussion was quite spirited. Here’s the transcript. And, it seems that commercial they referenced isn’t airing at ALL in The Olympics. Why don’t they just “own” that they dropped the ball!

  • DadandBuried

    I’ve been hearing a lot about this lately – in fact, the two of us chatted about it during #blogchat on Sunday.

    It just doesn’t bug me the way it bugs a lot of dads out there. Here’s my take: http://goo.gl/iWrEE

    I’ll be on #dadchat tomorrow night to take my punches. At the very least it’s a provocative topic!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      #DadChat tomorrow will be about the good moms and dads can do in supporting our kids in sport, especially since we have the wonderful @SmashFit co-hosting. However, I won’t mind a hit or two at P&G given we generate millions of impressions. We can make a difference!

      • DadandBuried

        “#DadChat tomorrow will be about the good moms and dads can do in supporting our kids in sport…”

        Ah, well, based on my last few blog posts, not sure I belong there! 😉

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          Ha Ha…I EXPECT to see you and @ProcterGamble at #DadChat tomorrow!

  • manvdadhood

    I get the frustration… I do. This is a common complaint, as we have talked about. So how do we go about letting these companies know that dads are not just a punchline, comedic relief, or a bumbling idiot who cannot care for their own child? Do we jump on the established Mom Blog networks and make the dad presence known, or do we create something that is our own? What do we do to be taken seriously, and WHO do we want to be taken seriously by?

    You are right when you saw we are the other side of the equation, so how do we get others to realize that too?

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      We – dads – WE let our voices be heard! Get everyone you know to write to @ProcterGamble, to join #DadChat tomorrow when we discuss this and more…RT this post…WE are a big enough community that WE can get the brands to pay attention just as well as the moms have. Besides, I suspect MOST moms would completely agree with us!

      • manvdadhood

        I’ll be there Bruce. Looking forward to it!

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          Great JB…please invite your friends to join us at #DadChat tomorrow evening!

  • David Weber

    Prior to the uploading of this article, I emailed P&G to express the same ideas that Bruce is expressing here.  I think that it is irresponsible to not  have some kind of equal acknowledgment of dads.  

    This is the 21st century.  Surely some of the Olympians were reared by single dads.  Even in some two-parent families, a dad was surely primary logistician and coordinator of the young athlete’s training process — e.g., driving the son or daughter to lessons, practices and tournaments, cracking the whip when the youngster balked at yet another workout, being the first to offer a shoulder for the competitor to cry on when a bad break came his or her way … even, unfortunately, keeping the young athlete’s spirits up in an emergency room. 

    From Bruce’s writings, I am aware of his commitment to enabling his older son to excel as a musician — schlepping him to lessons, driving him to concerts, coaching him based on his own experience in show business — to the point where his son is now poised to be a professional musician.  Again, recalling Bruce’s writings, Bruce did this for his son as a single dad and, later, as a remarried one.  Surely the equivalent pattern is found in the lives of any number of Olympic athletes.

    Even if the P&G campaign does not have a “dads” commercial to pair with the “moms” one we have been seeing, even a wry tag at the end — e.g., a man popping onto the screen saying something like, “I was part of it, too, you know, and yes, I still think of my Olympian as a kid” — would have been appropriate and in harmony with the spirit of the commercial.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      TY David – I hope @ProcterGamble:twitter  pays attention!

  • http://www.dadand.com dadand.com

    Seems ridiculous to worry about something like this. Can’t guys let women have ANYTHING to themselves? We already take over projects they start by wandering into the room “what’cha doin? let me show you how to do it”. We take over if there’s grilling to be done. We take over if they try and have a blog conference for WOMEN called BlogHER. And now we have to have equal time on a TV commercial because a company is saluting moms?

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      The women/moms have PLENTY to themselves and normally I don’t begrudge it/them AT ALL. Love the moms and moms have historically helped make the world run and STILL DO. But this particular campaign is just too egregious for me to idly watch!

      • http://www.dadand.com dadand.com

        And P&G did a dad commercial for father’s day. Now we’re all even.

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          Even? They did a Gilette one for The Olympics – all they are doing is reinforcing gender stereotypes and the number of mom ones FAR FAR outnumber the occasional dad ones!

    • http://father-ed.blogspot.com/ Edward Staples

      how do i “unlike” this?

  • http://twitter.com/samfiorella Sam Fiorella

    It’s a great series of ads. Here in Canada anyway, we’ve seen a few over the past few days that feature the parents of Canadian
    Olympians – both parents. In fact, this morning I saw one that featured
    a Dad only. Wonder if there’s a different strategy based on country? 

    [Reposting my comment, in the right post this time. I think]

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      That was so funny, Sam. Evidently, P&G also have a Gilette ad that features the dad role in supporting their Olympians. I’ve not seen it though I’ve watched every prime time Olympics show to date. Maybe it runs in the daytime when we SAHDs are ironing?

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  • http://www.dadblunders.com/ dadblunders

    Like I have said on my own blog and on here in comments the only way to change things is to keep talking about it. They are currently reinforcing stereotypes of a century/millennium that is over. I think its hilarious how we preach to our children all the time NOT to accept gender bias and stereotypes. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if several of the top P&G officials even tell that to their children. They then show the opposite on television.

    Being a man, I am sincerely glad that have given us razors since I HAVE to use one if I want to shave. In my opinion them giving us razors is compared to them giving females, feminine hygiene products. They are marketed (as they should be) to the audience who is going to purchase them.

    I think that’s why I did away with disposable razors and went with the old fashion Double Edge Razor. I can purchase a pack of good blades for around 10$ (50 of them) and not give them as much money since I don’t have to buy the disposable razors. I try to hurt them where it hurts and thats in their pocket book! I have choices and I can make an effort to show them that they don’t deserve my money.

    I am a stay-at-home dad and proud of it. I teach my son that gender bias is outdated and has no place in the world. I will continue to teach that and talking about equality. hopefully when he’s grown the world will be a better place!


    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Aaron, this whole debate about @ProcterGamble:twitter has logically moved from just the bias of the mom commercials to the probably more appropriate point that you are making…reinforcing OLD gender stereotypes. C’mon P&G…wise up. Let US help you. You are a good company. Get better and WE will support you fully! 

      Hopefully they will join us at #DadChat tonight and participate. Again, @ProcterGamble – YOU are invited tonight at 6 pm PT!

  • Bill Draeger

    Just looked at P&G’s list of products (http://www.pg.com/en_US/brands/all_brands.shtml).  Out of the dozens listed only one jumped out as a product whose purchase would likely be decided by the man of the house.  It’s simply good marketing to show moms in their commercials.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      So, we agree Bill?

  • http://generationbsquared.com/ Linda Bernstein

    So, Bruce, yesterday I was having pizza in a small town restaurant/bar, and when the mom P&G ad came on, all the guys went, “awwww.” My husband said he liked it too. He said he likes that they were highlighting that moms play such a big role in these athletes lives. They’re the ones who often do all the schlepping and even give up jobs, etc. Someone I know was saying that a commentator had done a rough estimate, and more of the athletes at the games have just their moms there than have both parents or just a dad. I can’t find anything to back this up, and as you know, I’ve been watching coverage via BBC during the day and ignoring NBC, so I can’t say. In the past, at least for the Americans, it usually seems that both parents are there. But this is all anecdotal.

    One other thing- you’re always going on about how being politically correct is stupid, but if you’re asking P&G to air ads showing dads when their buyers are over 80% female, wouldn’t they be doing it just to be pc and include dads? Think of it that way. They’re paying big bucks to NBC to get women to buy their stuff. So of course they’re going to target their buyers. As far as gender stereotypes in ads, they’re all over the place. Best thing – stop watching TV. That’s what I’ve done.

     On the other hand, I also believe that involved dads who go all out for their kids the way you have need much more recognition. Yes, there are many, many more single moms than dads, but I’ve known a lot of single dads who did it all. They were awesome.

    If you really take on P&G and make a dent, let me know. I’m all for swatting at the big brands. Oh, and that tweet they sent you is obnoxious. Totally obnoxious.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Truly, there are bigger issues to “take on” I suppose…but, this one just got to me and the way @ProcterGamble:twitter  chose to reply was sort of lame…but at least they did. I wonder if they have the GUTS to show up at #DadChat tonight and back up their marketing with some real explanations and/or own up to simply going for the straight buck and ignoring the dads and playing the gender stereotypes?

  • http://brianvickery.com/ Brian Vickery

    I’m sure this will be covered by other commenters, but moms do generally “drive that bus” when it comes to kids. Yes, I’ve been blessed to spend a large part of my career at home to watch my daughters grow. I’ve attended every piano recital, martial arts testing, soccer and tennis match.

    Your readership is composed of many dads who do the same thing…every day, every week, every year.


    Yes, I would love to see Dads represented, but several of these athletes have no-account Dads who walked out on the family.They are garbage, and they do not deserve to be put on a pedestal to celebrate their kid’s achievements when they were not there to share the hardships.

    Truth hurts, man. We can make a difference, and hopefully by being great role models – and you have several in your readership – we can make changes in how dads are perceived as well as serve as examples to dads that it is a blessing to be a soccer mom, errr, Dad.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I’m with you BV when it comes to THOSE deadbeat dads that abandon their families…but, since I lived and live through the opposite, I still believe we should celebrate BOTH parents and especially in something like The Olympics. All those shots of Mr. and Mrs. Raisman really reinforces my feelings…LOVED seeing the both of them there in FULLY support of Aly! 

  • woodhana

    Cheers .

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  • Discarded Dad

    The first and only time I have seen the Gillette ad was on youtube after reading about it here.  I have seen the Mom ads at least 50 times on TV.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Exactly! Hello @ProcterGamble:twitter We are NOT blind, even though we’re dads! You have an open invitation P&G to come to #DadChat and make good!

  • Sara

    This has been driving me crazy! I have an incredible Dad, an awesome, hands-on husband (HE took a year off to care for our sone 25 years ago) and a 25 year old son who has had these values modeled for him. I keep telling my husband that these commercials are making so angry I am having trouble watching the Olympics. Thanks for showing us we are not alone!
    And, as long as I”m kvetching, my husband does all the laundry. So there!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      So THERE is right, Sara! Let @ProcterGamble:twitter know how you feel!

      • Jessie

        So there is right, Mom (Sara)! Both of you guys pitched in equally around the house and with the two of us, and, because of that, my brother is a chivalrous, respectful, equal-rights kind of man…though he could help with the cooking a bit more…

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          Does he do the dishes? You HIT the nail on the head – @GeneralElectric:twitter got it right…now we just need the others to do it, too!

          • Sara

            I did tweet P&G. Now, I’ll get to general electric.  My son gets insulted when every ad (the new GE with 20% more time, showing the family waiting at the table while mom does the laundry, dishes and cooks – everyone is so happy for her) shows women only. He and his father do laundry, dishes, cooking. Besides the ads, young women have a part in this too. I am the director of a preschool where many moms don’t allow the dads “in”. I am constantly encouraging them to stop criticizing what is not done to their standards and start working as teams. If not, their sons are never going to have the role models needed.

          • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

            TY Sara…boy, those pre-school moms are WAY out-of-line!

  • Dads help to

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      We sure do, Wendy…please inform @ProcterGamble:twitter of that fact as they are deluging us with the moms-only commercials! I’m hearing from moms EVERYWHERE who are as sick of that stereotype and THOSE commercials in particular as we dads are!

  • Smokiwi

    The first time I saw the commercial I thought “what about the dads?”  I was very frustrated and disappointed that such a huge corporation did not recognize that it takes more than just moms to make this happen for these participants.  What were you thinking P&G?!!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

       I’m still waiting for a good reply from @ProcterGamble:twitter

  • Guest

    Like many others, I assumed there would be some balance to these ads.  I find it hard to believe that for the entire Olympic event programing moms are supported and fathers are not.  The P&G spots are good, but hard to believe no males working there saw a problem.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      It’s especially disturbing when you see how well #GeneralElectric handled their Olympics ads compared to @ProcterGamble:twitter 

  • FrillArtist

    Wow. And I thought I was the only one that felt this way. I’ll be avoiding P&G products whenever possible. This is absolutely enraging.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I wonder if @ProcterGamble:twitter has “got” this yet?

  • http://www.TheOnlineMom.com Monica Vila

    Bruce I think you have a valid point in that dads need to be recognized -every day, I am grateful for having grown up with my beloved dad. But why do you jump on P&G?  Because an ad did not ALSO acknowledge dads? It’s just marketing by the numbers -> women account for the majority of household spending in the US. Period. Recognizing moms does not mean they do not believe dads have a huge role. It’s just recognizing moms in the context of a smart consumer campaign IMHO.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Monica, I think by NOT having some balance in their ads, they were not smart. Did you happen to see General Electric’s ad about their incubators? It showed a mom AND a dad…the mom was more featured, but it was beautiful. It was the NUMBER of @ProcterGamble:twitter ads at a sports-oriented HUGE event that was so troubling. It was blatantly kissing the moms right on the lips and they could’ve literally HAD IT ALL by just doing some with either both parents – ideally – or some that featured dads. Did you see Aly Raisman’s parents – mom AND dad? THAT is what they should’ve been doing and showing, IMHO. 

      Thanks so much for your comment!