A lot of people had some issues with American Greetings’ Mother’s Day video, “World’s Toughest Job.” I wasn’t one of them; once you get beyond the fact that all ads are manipulative (the whole point of an ad is to sell you something, after all), it really drove home the fact that parenting isn’t easy, so why not give your mom a big round of applause? However, I’m a little less taken with the greeting card company’s Father’s Day-themed “World’s Toughest Job” sequel, “Dad Casting.” Here’s why.
Like the Mother’s Day video, the Father’s Day one features a bunch of real people going in for a fake job; this time, it’s a bunch of middle-aged actors (mostly white) “auditioning” for the part of “dad.” But whereas we were clearly meant to relate to the people applying for the “job” in the Mother’s Day video, a lot of us can’t really use the auditioning men as proxies. I don’t know about you, but I am neither middle-aged nor a dude. Plus, as Adweek’s Tim Nudd noted, “The video is funny, and at times heartfelt. But while it clearly celebrates fathers, it's not entirely complimentary to them. So, will dads appreciate it, or will some feel slighted once again?” I’m going to go with “slighted”; whereas the mothers were painted in the first “World’s Toughest Job” video as superwomen capable of doing anything and everything, the dads here are shown as bumbling, clueless, and ineffectual. If the goal of the video is to demonstrate to us that we should give credit where credit is due, it’s a monumental failure.
It’s true that there’s no script for being a dad; there’s no script for parenting, period. I’m not a parent, but from what I can tell from talking to my friends who are parents, it’s all about making it up as you go along and hoping that you’re doing it right. I get that, American Greetings. But not because of this video. There’s a difference between actors struggling to find their lines and parents struggling to teach their kids that yes, your grades do matter, even if you have ambition in spades. Maybe it’s just me, but I think dads deserve better than this.
Give it a watch below. What do you think?