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New Tide Commercial Features A Normal Dad Doing Laundry. That's It.

Remember Tide’s DadMom fiasco from a couple years ago?

Read this, watch that. I’ll wait right here while you get caught up.

People bristled at labeling him a “DadMom” instead of just a “dad.” And the need to wash his laundry cooties off with some manly crunches didn’t go over very well either. So Tide was called out.

Sometimes, when you make noise, people listen. Tide is back with a new commercial that is getting a lot of attention because it doesn’t call attention to what Dad is doing.

When I hailed Doritos’ Super Bowl effort as a winner, many said that the Dad wasn’t being a great Dad, he was only playing with daughter because he wanted Doritos. As with the DadMom spot, there needed to be some sort of “manly” reward for a Dad to do something “motherly.”

The new Tide commercial features a dad doing laundry. No kicker. No silly goofiness. The dad knows how to use the machine. It’s no big deal. He knows how to fold clothes.  Because, well, he’s an adult. He knows how to play with his daughter. Because of course he does.

“And since I’m the one that has to do the laundry,” confidently confesses our actor, “I do what any expert Dad would do” and then he rolls into the pitch.

There’s no approving wife looking over her trainee from afar. There are no buddies snickering from over a fence. There’s just a Dad, leaning in at home, doing what needs to be done. It’s taken as natural, normal, and this is a Dad worth listening to as a pitch person for the product.

Terry O’Reilly is a Canadian marketer and radio host with a fantastic show on advertising. A few years ago he did an episode on how brands follow, and sometimes lead, public opinion on social issues.  If you can stop and think about all the commercial messages we are exposed to every day, it’s no wonder brands can be crucial in forming our attitudes on everything from gay marriage to gender roles at home.

In a July 2009 episode called “Rethink The Shark,” O’Reilly explored an old marketing axiom: “never try to change people’s minds”.  He explores how Jaws spurred on a shark harvest,  how drinking and driving attitudes evolved, and even how attitudes to gay marriages have changed.  He points to this Ikea commercial with a same sex couple picking out furniture:

When society’s attitudes change, brands are often involved in helping to define the new status quo. Thanks for being a part of the sea change, Tide.

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