This 2 minute 30 second spot highlights fathers from four different kinds of families as part of Honey Maid’s “This is Wholesome” campaign. The campaign emphasizes similarities between a range of family configurations, including families with two dads, single fathers, or fathers who have to travel or be away for long periods of time for work, showing how these seemingly “abnormal” families are also “normal” and “wholesome.” For example, the third family shown features a tattooed musician father saying, “people do think that we’re so different. But we actually have a pretty regular life in a lot of ways.”
How does this ad show a diverse range of family configurations? How does this ad depict and reinforce stereotypes? What other kinds of families and dads are left out?
Titled, “Our Dads,” what does this ad say about fatherhood?
Honey Maid produces snack foods. Why might they be interested in shaping the image and dynamics of home life in America?
Looking more critically at this piece, we can see how normalized, dominant constructions of class, sexuality, and race still confine the presentation of these families in this ad. The last family, the Washingtons, are introduced by their patriarch admitting, “I’m not home a lot,” which plays to a dominant construction of black men being absent from the household. The first family, a homosexual union, is the only piece to have the child talking rather than the fathers which reinforces the taboo of homosexual families by attempting to surprise the viewer when it is revealed that the boy has two fathers. As such, it quickly becomes apparent that the definition of “wholesome” in this context can be more neatly described as expected and typical portrayals within a limited range of representations.