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How Pop Culture Dads have Influenced the Marketing of Today

Pop culture knows how to wear away our defenses and enter our imaginations with grace. It is intelligent in not being afraid of simplicity. It knows that our emotional needs are in essence obvious to be encouraged, to be validated and jollied. It borrows from the content that is consumed on a mass scale, and moulds it to generate shared moments of deep emotion.

Let us take an example of masculinity and gender stereotypes. about important things like gender stereotypes and toxic masculinity etc. Which is what advertisements truly desire- that is why today’s ads are heavily inspired, if not an extension of pop culture.

The concept of being a father has graduated from being a unidimensional portrayal of shallow male presence to a complex and intricate character free from the bounds of stereotypes. This Father’s Day, let us take a look at the most celebrated, off-beat father figures that exist in pop culture, who have inspired and paved the way for great Father’s Day campaigns for various brands.

1. Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird– Greggory Peck played the iconic role of the dad we all wished for. The integrity and gravitas complete with being a magnanimous father who raised his children as a single parent, Atticus Finch holds a special place in the hearts of millioåns.

2. Danny Tanner, Full House- The show had three great father figures, but it was Danny who truly upheld the role of a dad. The off-beat concept of men raising children became famous through this show, and Bob Saget was exceptional in the role.

3. Uncle Phillip, Fresh Prince of Bel Air- The great coming of age show would have been incomplete with Uncle Phillip and his subtle lessons. Everyone wanted a bear hug from him (except DJ Jazzy, the only thing he got was getting tossed out of the door!). He was always there for his children, and wanted nothing but the best for them all. In an era where black families were not seen on television, Uncle Phil was a rich, self-made lawyer.

4. Arthur Weasley, Harry Potter — Mr. Weasley was curious, confident, and content. He was the life of his family, and supported and protected all his children, including Harry throughout the series.

5. Marlin, Finding Nemo — He literally went to the ends to find his son, Nemo. He raised Nemo to be a confident boy which helped his survive his adventures. He was not afraid to show his emotions, and as all a great man is made up of. Truly, a legend.

6. Phil, Cam, and Mitchell — Modern Family as a show challenged all stereotypes and emerged victorious. The show not only managed to make us party to the ongoings of the huge family, but also gave us great paternal models.

Phil is fun, supportive, and defies the patriarchal stereotype that is associated with dads. Cam & Mitchell are the power couple who raised Lily to be independent, intelligent and aware (perhaps too intelligent!). Their presence in the show and their journey of being fathers is beautifully showcased in the show where nothing is perfect, yet everything is ideal.

7. Mr. Feeny, Boy Meets World — The Matthews’ next-door neighbor and Cory’s teacher and principal. William Daniels’ role was monumental to the show because each dialogue by Mr. Feeny was immersed in sass and sarcasm, or was a life lesson.

8. Bryan Mills, Taken — More than just a meme, Liam Neeson’s character was a pursuing dad who wanted to build a relationship with his teenage daughter. A desperate call from his daughter sent him on a rampage to hunt down the kidnappers. “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” Iconic.

Advertising works on the formula of targeting the subconscious mind of their audience. Pop Culture has mass appeal, which now has become a great tool to tap into the minds of people and grab their attention. To stay at par with all the social movements now advertisements are trying to emulate what these shows did years ago, because the timing is just right.

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If you see any of the actors aforementioned, you automatically think of their groundbreaking roles and buy the product, only because you trust that one role they played. Each of the aforementioned figures have contributed something to the evolution that the definition of a ‘father’ has gone through. Here is an ad that took a page from the Pop Culture Dad playbook, and struck the right chord in the hearts of many.


Advertising and Pop Culture are both a big part of our lives. They do not suffer from the high arts of subtlety, rather accept that the core of one mind is a basic structure that thrives on repetition and past experiences.

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Pratyush Arya