We can do better than #BinkyDad.
Don’t get me wrong: As a Lead Dad, I’ve lived Kia’s Super Bowl commercial, where a couple is checking into a hotel with their baby only to realize they forgot the binky. Immediate panic – any possible relaxation is gone without the binky.
Dad gets the look and goes on an epic drive back home, with a media frenzy ensuing to support him as #BinkyDad doing, well, what? Driving home to get something he and his wife forgot?
Look, it’s funny. And my wife and I have been in similar situations. Our oldest daughter only liked one type of binky. And by one type I don’t mean one brand. I mean one brand’s brown, not tan, nipple with a larger ring in a weird green and purple combo. I forgot it several times.
What we laugh about still was how that binky left us, like a TV commercial for a car gone bad: We were walking back from the beach in Naples, Fla, and in a tired fit, our daughter threw the binky out of her stroller. Before my wife or I could pick it up, a lumbering Bentley Continental GT ran it over, obliterating the one-and-only binky.
What I had issue with in the Kia ad was the trope: the Dad was trying to fix the situation, but the adulation he got for simply driving home was exactly what angers so many working moms. Enormous praise for a small act – done by a Dad. (Plus, he got some peace and quiet in the car on the drive!)
And I get it, I get it – it’s a Super Bowl ad! Kia equals caring Dad. Buy that SUV!
But next year, I’d like to see a Super Bowl ad where the dad gets enormous BLAME. Picture this: dad leaves work early not for a youth football game but to pick up his child who is sick. His colleagues eyeroll him. His boss makes a passive-aggressive comment about him leaving early, again! A key client calls and he struggles to tell the truth about why he can’t talk right now. He forgets to save the presentation he’s been working on as he rushes out the door.
But then, he gets into his Kia, drives to his son or daughter and is there to parent, there to be the Lead Dad his family needs.
Oh, and he did all of this without the school nurse calling his wife repeatedly until she steps out of her meeting because he was the first name on the call list and the school knows not to call her unless they can’t reach him.
Okay. Scratch that last part. This is a Super Bowl ad trying to sell a car. It’s not some futuristic film where working moms are no longer the default call for school officials. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s next year’s T-Mobile ad, where their network blocks schools and doctors offices from reflexively calling mom!