Win: Volkswagen drives into fatherhood
The National Fatherhood Initiative's (NFI) mission is to "improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers." Since 1997, the organization has honored individuals, corporations, and organizations that have shown a commitment to "involved, responsible, and committed fatherhood" with the Fatherhood Awards. In April 2012, the NFI honored Volkswagen of America with a Fatherhood Award for its TV spot, "The Force." For the first time in the award's history, the winner was chosen by the public through an AFI Facebook contest.
Volkswagen's Super Bowl sensation "The Force," first released online, features a pint-sized Darth Vader attempting to "use the force" to magically move objects (even his unamused dog) within the home. After the child's father pulls up in a Volkswagen, the miniature Vader tries his powers on the family's Passat. From inside the home, dad uses the remote ignition key to start the car, surprising his excited son.
The dad's smile perfectly captures the playful spirit of the father-son relationship. Vincent DiCaro, NFI's VP of development and communication, explained that Volkswagen deserved the award because the ad "taps into a characteristic that all good dads have -- their desire to encourage creativity and play in their children. NFI is honored to recognize Volkswagen for celebrating dads in this way and providing safe, reliable vehicles that give dads peace of mind."
Another recent Volkswagen commercial clearly captures an attempt to create "peace of mind" for fathers. The video traces an individual's transition from boy to father and the shifting priorities that accompany said change. As the boy matures into a dad, he replaces his backpack for a baby carrier, his bike for a Jetta, and the question "Is it fast?" for "Is it safe?"
Not only are dads exercising more buying power, but they are also expanding their social influence. Tapping into the dad demographic at a moment when fathers freely share information online should be every brand's objective. So, as the outdated man matures into the modern, responsible father, it's time for modern brands to grow up too.
Kyle Montero is an editor at iMedia Connection.
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"Hispanic father and children shopping online" image via Shutterstock.