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The Father Factor:
Fatherhood Matters

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Guest Post: And the Winner of the 2011 Fatherhood Award is...

Shawn Bean is the executive editor of Parenting and author of the new fatherhood manual Show Dad How. He lives with his wife and two young sons in Florida. Shawn learned about NFI's "View and Vote" contest to select the next winner of our Fatherhood Award™ and wrote on his blog Pop Culture about why he thinks this is a great idea. (Read Shawn's original post here).

In one of my previous posts, I take issue with the current state of dadvertising. Where to even begin? For starters, moms get all the good gigs (Hey Proctor & Gamble, you think only moms use the Swiffer? I Swiff! I Swiff like a motherswiffer!) There are as many redheaded English princes as there are cool modern dads selling product these days. Dads are losing pitchman gigs to cavemen and lizards. The two most prominent males in advertising are Mr. Clean and the Brawny paper towel guy. If those dudes have kids, they certainly never let them on the label. And what would two childless guys know about using cleaning products?

So I was seriously happy to see that the National Fatherhood Initiative has nominated three companies for its 2011 Fatherhood Award™, companies that have created TV commercials that present Dad as the kind of guy we aspire to be: easy-going, funny, someone a kid can look up to.

Voting for the 2011 Fatherhood Award™ ends this Sunday, November 6th. To cast your vote, click here.

Vote today for your favorite Father-Friendly TV Ad: Chevrolet, Oreo, or Volkswagen?

Regular readers of our blog know that we occasionally honor individuals, corporations, and organizations with our Fatherhood Award™ for their work to strengthen involved, responsible, and committed fatherhood. (Click here to learn more about our Fatherhood Award™ and see a list of recent and past honorees.)

We need YOU to help us choose the next recipient of our Fatherhood Award™. We selected three wonderful television commercials by Chevrolet, Oreo, and Volkswagen that portray fathers interacting with their children in heart-warming ways. A special page on our Facebook allows people to view the commercials and vote for their favorite. The ad that receives the most votes by November 6 will receive a Fatherhood Award™ from National Fatherhood Initiative.

Would you take 2 minutes to click on
this link, watch the three commercials, and vote for the one you think is most deserving of a Fatherhood Award™? Vote every day between now and November 6 - and tell your friends and colleagues to vote too!

We guarantee that these short videos will bring a smile to your face. In a time TV typically portrays dads as dumb, disaffected, or dangerous, it's really encouraging to see corporate brands depicting fathers in positive ways in their advertising. We want to see more of these types of ads and that's why we're doing this contest on Facebook. Take a look and vote - no matter whether you vote for Chevrolet, Oreo, or Volkswagen, you're casting a vote for a brand that recognizes the importance of dads!

Vote today!

Dad is Carpool King

A recent survey conducted by Chevrolet found that dads are taking a more active role in carpooling their kids to school, extracurricular activities, or daycare – 70% of dads are involved in this responsibility. Unsurprisingly, the survey also found that Dads prefer utility vehicles over minivans, the traditional choice for carpooling, opting for a more masculine / cool vehicle. Dads also value safety, fuel economy, versatility, and passenger capacity as top vehicle features.

At NFI, it’s no surprise to us that Dads are more involved in carpool duties. This is right in line with recent trends showing that Dads are taking more and more hands-on responsibility in caring for their kids and helping around the house. In fact, we’ve blogged about how dads and moms do the same amount of work and how dads are key influencers in family purchase decisions. NFI’s own Vince DiCaro certainly would agree with Chevrolet’s findings because he choose his SUV for the practicality of carrying a car seat, dog, two adults, and lots of equipment.

The fact is, despite record levels of father absence in our country now – 24 million kids or 1 out 3 grow up without their father in the home – when dads are involved, they are more involved than they have ever been in almost every category. Take a look at these statistics (taken from "Marketing to Dads”, August 2010, Mintel.):
  • Dads have tripled the amount of time they spend on child care since 1965.
  • Dads have become key influencers and decision makers in all categories of family purchasing, including groceries, financial investments, child and baby care items, and toys.
  • One-third of men are the primary shopper in the home – in fact, 7 out of 10 disagree that mom does most of the shopping for the kids.
  • Dads are spending a significant amount of time with their children engaging in play, cooking, and planning healthy and educational activities for their families.
Not only is this increased involvement good for kids – research shows that children who grow up with involved fathers fare better on almost all social, economic, educational, and physical measures and are less likely to be involved in crime, get pregnant, experience abuse, or drop out of school – but it’s also good for moms. In Mama Says, NFI’s survey of mothers’ attitudes about fathering, a significant majority of moms said they could balance work and family better if they had more support from dad. Most likely, the extra help with carpooling from dads is a big plus for moms.

Props to Dads for stepping up and adding “taxi driver” to the many hats they already wear. And props to Chevrolet for taking the time to recognize dads’ increased role in taking responsibility for ensuring their kids get to where they need to go safely!

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