Let's run through this one briefly so everyone's up to speed. There's a 50-year-old man with two pre-teen daughters, and there is no wife or girlfriend to be found. We are to assume she either left because he's WAY old, died heroically thwarting a deep-sea diamond heist, or is locked behind a false wall in the basement. The man is enjoying a leisurely read through the obituaries when his daughters beg him to put some on clean sweat pants, leave the house, and find them a new mommy. Being thoroughly conditioned by the liberal media to believe that one's worth to the opposite sex is measured by their hair color, they beg him to use some Just For Men. Later, a sandy-coiffed dad thoroughly ruins his chances for a second date by taking a picture of his companion and sending it to his daughters, who rejoice, believing they will soon feed once more...
There's a lot going on there, and not a moment of it isn't toddler-beauty-pageant creepy. The daughters' interest in their father's sex life is creepy. The date cell-phone picture is creepy. The title of the ad, "Daddy's Girls," is fat-man-rubbing-his-nipples-in-a-public-pool creepy. My nagging suspicion that the woman at the end IS their real mom, and he has colored his hair to trick her into thinking no time has passed since she went down into the bomb shelter is...well, it's not creepy, exactly, but it's something to ponder.
I call this style of ad Perplexing Parenting, and of all the genres of terrible ads out there, to me, these are the most baffling. PP ads present a universe of parent-child interaction so wholesome, if Norman Rockwell had vomited cotton candy onto the cast of Leave it Beaver during Bring Your Daughter to Work Day, it still wouldn't be any comparison. In PP ads, moms greet holocausts of grape juice on the Berber carpet with faux-exasperated smirks and "those kids of mine" shakes of the head. Dads get good chuckles opening their briefcases to discover their sons replaced their presentations with boxes of whole-grain cereal. And daughters apparently take such an interest in the fact that their fathers haven't gotten their whistles wet in a few years, they offer fashion tips and shoplifted hair products.
The relationships in PP ads push wholesome family values to such an extreme, though, they completely break down the boundaries that keep normal families from painting the walls crimson with each other's blood. I don't care how much you love your kid, if your boss is breathing down your neck for a quarterly earnings report and all you have to offer him is a heartwarming tale about breakfast cereal, come 6:00 PM, kid gon' die.
Not being a parent myself, I can't tell if these ads are supposed to appeal to parents' longing for "Oh, wouldn't that be nice?" moments with their own kids or whether they represent what advertisers actually think goes on in the modern household. Not ever planning to curse my house with children, I hope never to know for sure, but I was a child once, and I distinctly recall none of this shit ever taking place. From my experience, the Just For Men commercial should have played out something like this:
The daughters enter the room, faces aglow with the nervous anticipation of their father once again finding love and making their house a home. Father patiently explains for the thirteenth time that he has a lot of therapy to get through before he can begin to get the image of their mother's laughing face out of his mind as she joyfully confessed to a years'-long affair with his brother, let alone begin to date again, so could they please mind their own fucking business for a change? The children grow distant and experiment with drugs. The redhead briefly flirts with exotic dancing, then goes to nursing school. The brunette moves out at 18 and does not see her father again until his funeral. The father fails at several attempts to distract himself from his whore ex-wife, including fly fishing and pastry school, then dies alone of thyroid cancer.
It wouldn't sell a whole lot of hair coloring, but it also wouldn't paint a picture of a single dad that maybe the state wants to keep a closer eye on.
Chances I will buy Just For Men thanks to this ad: All signs point to ew.