Pantene Super Bowl Ads Focus on Dad-Daughter Relationships

Pantene’s Super Bowl 50 ads will put the spotlight on the importance of the father-daughter relationship. It’s sweet, but I wish it was more.

A handful of the Super Bowl 50 commercials will put the spotlight on father-daughter relationships, and the importance of girls spending time with their dads.

It’s good PR for an organization that puts known domestic abusers back on the field.

It’d be better PR if the dads highlighted were doing something with their daughters other than styling their little girl’s hair.

Yes, I know it’s a hair product. Yes, the spots are adorable. Yes, the interactions are sweet. People will definitely love them. I love them.

BUT. Well. It’s complicated.

On the one hand, it’s super (DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?) for dads to be involved in tasks traditionally left to moms. On the other, it’s a bummer to see commercials inadvertently focused on how a little girl’s hair looks.

I say “inadvertently” because in the spots, Pantene challenges the football-player dads to master the task of caring for their offspring’s hair.

Fair enough.

But anytime you hand a little girl a mirror and say:You’re the most beautiful girl in the world, you give her the message that she’ll be most valued by how she looks. Through emphasizing her appearance in the context of how other girls look, it becomes a competition.

Of course it’s fine for parents to feel this way about their children. I hope we all do. But this is a commercial broadcast to over 100,000 million viewers.

You know what? Half – HALF – of football fans are women. In fact, women are football’s most important demographic. Women are the reason the NFL continues to grow.

So, maybe help us out?

Because when that commercial airs, that’s 50 million women who’ll get yet another message that how they look is their most important characteristic. That’s 50 million women who’ll get yet another message that we’re mostly useful for admiring like an object — or not.

The trouble with the NFL, and its sponsors, is that they’re not sticking up for women how or when we need them to.

When we needed to hear a clear condemnation of Ray Rice punching his fiancé in the face and dragging her off an elevator, we didn’t. Instead, we heard Roger Goodell trying to convince us he hadn’t seen the tape.

When we needed to hear that Andrew “Pacman” Jones had been banned from the league, what we heard was that maybe the woman who provoked him “had it coming.”

Domestic violence aside, what about the cheerleaders? I don’t even mean WHYYY is it strategically necessary to have scantily clad Victoria’s Secret models dancing on the sidelines?

No. I mean why — when multi-millionaire players are arguing about whose private jet goes faster — are these women paying out-of-pocket for travel expenses and barely making minimum wage?

Oh NFL, the sound of a game on TV is a warm memory of my happy childhood. It’s an excuse to eat a pile of delicious wings smothered in blue cheese and hot sauce, it’s a reason to ignore my to-do list and sit down next to my husband for an afternoon.

But your lady fans — actually, all of your fans — need you, and the brands advertising during the game, to stop hiding behind one pink-washed month, a couple of shampoo commercials, and the occasional anti-domestic violence PSA. It’s not enough.

We need you to show us that you value women as humans, not objects. We need you to stick up for us.  For our daughters, for our families.

And we’ll stick around — hosting tailgates, buying tickets, watching games.

Ok, I’m done. For now. Bring on the trolls.

Or the wings.

Source: Refinery29, Bloomberg, NYTimes