Positive Messaging in the 2015 Super Bowl Ads

I was busy travelling during the Super Bowl and didn’t get to see most of the advertisements during the game. But I did catch some while waiting for my delayed flight in the airport and some while in the air because I judiciously selected an airline that provides free satellite television (thanks, JetBlue).

However, some of the ones I did catch got me thinking of the good, positive messages these ads portrayed. I went back and watched all of them this morning and here are some of the ones that I thought were worth mentioning.

I’ll start with a trio of ads that talked about being a dad and showed how important he is in the life of a child. I think the first one from Toyota has a clear message showing how the dad stepped in and protected his daughter throughout her life.

The next video from Nissan is a little more open to interpretation. One writer didn’t think it was such a good message, but I disagree (although I do agree that it was a bad song choice). The video shows the dad being a part of the son’s life, but there are times when the dad had to leave home for his job in order to provide for his family (I can relate as I have to travel for my job, even on Super Bowl Sunday).

But even when he is away, he is always thinking about his wife and son (he calls often and tapes a picture of them onto his car). When he wins the big race, he doesn’t go out and party or join the celebrity scene. Rather, he hangs it up (leaves helmet in the race trailer) and returns home to his son–who, in the scene immediately prior, was obviously getting into trouble (based on the mom’s expression). Watch the video and decide for yourself.

[Update 1: I’ve re-watched the video a dozen times and I’ve changed my mind about the song choice. Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” has long been one of my favorite songs because of the irony. In the ad, they only use the first two verses and the dad in the ad realizes, during the victory celebration, that his career isn’t as important as his son. That’s something the dad in the song didn’t learn until it was too late. Also, it seems like he’s looking right through the television at his wife and son when he makes that realization. Another reason why I like the song choice? Harry Chapin died in a car crash but the dad in the ad walks away from one. Brilliant!]

[Update 2: Excellent editing note #1: the song lyrics say, “When you coming home dad? I don’t know when,” just as the dad in the ad’s car is struck. Excellent editing note #2: the song lyrics say, as the son is watching dad in the ad’s victory celebration, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah, you know I’m gonna be like him.” But that’s when the dad in the ad realizes that his son is more important and he comes home, thus holding off the third and fourth verse of the song. I think it’s a brilliant ad.]

The final “dad ad” that didn’t show men as incompetent boobs came from Dove, which asked the question: “What makes a man stronger?” The answer: “Showing that he cares.” This comes after showing a montage of children calling out for their dads.

I thought this ad from Dodge that featured several centenarians (or near-centenarians) was great as showing that we can always learn something from the elderly, even though our society wants to focus only on the young and beautiful. Best advice: “Never, ever forget where you came from.” It’s not that we should wallow in the past, but, for better or worse, our past is what shaped who we are now. Remembering your connection to the past also serves as a way of keeping you humble; and that’s a lesson we can always continue to learn.

The final ad I want to share has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that in the last 12 months, two beautiful puppies have entered into my life and I think I’m becoming a “dog person.” I’ve watched this ad from Budweiser at least a dozen times and I can’t stop watching it. Enjoy!

Women as POWs

I was just browsing through the political cartoons at WORLD magazine when I ran across this one from earlier in the week.

Combat BarbieIt immediately struck me that no one has been talking about what would happen when one of our women combatants gets captured. How would that be used to compromise the morale of the soldiers in the field? How would that be used to compromise the political will of our government? How would that be used to compromise the morale of a nation who speaks out in support or against a war?

What will be our response when we see American women raped, tortured, battered, and killed?

In the mad dash to be seen as “enlightened,” “open-minded,” or whatever other term you want to use, we are becoming a nation that does not want to protect and provide for the women of this nation, which is contrary to a man’s natural desire (see Thoughts on Chivalry). But that’s hardly surprising since we don’t want to protect them anymore in any other way.

We have basically told men that its okay to use women as tools (pornography), are easily replaceable (hooking up/friends with  benefits), and are valueless if they become pregnant (40 years of legalized abortion leaving a legacy of over 55 million dead babies and countless women dealing with the aftereffects). Now we’re letting men off the hook again and throwing our women into the lion’s den of front line combatant.

Thoughts on Chivalry

I was recently directed to a blog called Feminine Mystique because of an entry entitled “On Chivalry.” It was an interesting read which contained some thought-provoking statements, such as:

… Chivalry is necessary for patriarchy to function; chivalry is an intrinsic part of patriarchy.  Chivalry is the male expression of patriarchy; it is the man’s role in patriarchy.  The fundamental ethic of chivalry is that it is a man’s duty to provide for and protect women. …

Chivalry is an inherited duty on the part of men and it is an inherited privilege on the part of women.  Women do deserve chivalry in the sense of the woman’s role and purpose being something honorable and something desirable and something generous and kind and deserving of respect.  However chivalry is not something that is “deserved” in the sense of it being earned or based on superior merit or it being an expression of preferential treatment due to the woman’s good conduct. …

Chivalry is not done for the purpose of pleasing or gaining the approval of women.  Pleasing and gaining the approval of women is a side benefit that often accompanies chivalry but it is not its purpose.  The purpose of chivalry is the man maintaining his honor as a man.  Chivalry is meant to provide a benefit to the woman but it is not based on the desires of the woman. …

I’m not saying I agree with everything she wrote, but it quite interesting.  Click here to read the entire post.

P.S. – Thanks to “Why I Am Not A Feminist” for sharing the post.

Women in Combat and What Real Men Don’t Do

Last week, the Pentagon suddenly announced that women would be allowed to serve in direct combat. Where did this come from? Who was pushing for the right for women to kill someone? Why would someone WANT to do this, to purposely put yourself in a position where you would have to kill another human being?

After some reflection, I’ve decided that we shouldn’t be surprised by this action. Our society does not want to understand that men and women, although equal, are not the same. We are not the same biologically, physically, emotionally, psychologically, or spiritually. There’s no disputing these realities:

  • Men and women have different internal structures designed by God for different purposes (biologically);
  • Men and women have different capabilities in regards to strength and size–yes, there are women who are stronger than me, but the average woman is not as strong or big as the average man (physically);
  • Men and women have different feelings that emerge while experiencing the same situation (emotionally);
  • Men and women have different thought processes to handle the same situation (psychologically); and,
  • Men and women were given different roles to play in our families and our culture by God (spiritually).

Even if you don’t believe in God, you cannot brush away all the other differences between men and women. This DOES NOT mean that women are inferior to men and it DOES NOT mean that men are inferior to women. What it does mean is that men and women have different roles in society and when we blur those distinctions, then society suffers. And when society suffers, families and individuals suffer.

For example, women were created by God to be the bearers and nurturers of human life. That’s a biological fact that cannot be avoided. But when a woman, who has a desire to bring forth life, is told to go ahead and kill it instead, what is going through her mind? That’s the same paradox we have set up with legalized abortion in this country. A time that should be joyous (pregnancy) is now turned into an opportunity for the abortion clinic to make several hundred dollars and the woman is told that killing her child is the best thing that she could do in that situation.

Here’s another example: men were tasked by God to protect and defend women. But now that a woman will be the one defending herself and the man, he has no reason to step up and perform his role. I’m not saying that women shouldn’t be able to defend themselves, they should because men aren’t always available or able to do so, but if the woman takes the primary role, then what is the man to do? Allowing women to serve in direct combat doesn’t elevate the status of women but actually does the opposite, it devalues the woman because now they can be killed with no compunction since they are just another combatant.

This is also seen in today’s legal abortion culture. A man can get a woman pregnant and not have to take care of her or his child by telling the woman to get an abortion. This lack of duty or responsibility can also be seen in the low numbers of the younger generation getting married. For the men: why take on this responsibility when the women want to take care of themselves? For the women: why get married when the men are irresponsible and absent? Do you see the vicious circle we have created?

Author Linda Bartlett has written extensively about the roles of men and women and she has posted on her blog a four part series from an study on relationships that she wrote. The lesson is entitled, “Bearers and Defenders of Life.” You can read Part 1 by clicking here, Part 2 by clicking here, Part 3 by clicking here, and the Conclusion by clicking here.

WORLD magazine posted an interesting article on the topic, “Unwilling Warriors” (click here to read it) that describes some of the problems with women in combat. The most interesting fact they uncovered was the casualty rate comparison between mixed-gender combat units and all-male combat units.  Take a look at it and see if it makes any sense.

Finally, I’ve been following Public Catholic and she wrote recently about what real men DON’T do. I’ve put a link here to it because I think it falls along the same lines as what I’ve said above: men and women have God-given roles in our society and one of man’s roles is to protect and defend his family, including the baby in the womb. Here’s a link to “Real Men Don’t Kill Their Children,” but be forewarned that she has a picture of an aborted baby at the beginning of the post.

Updated 2 February 2013: added link to the conclusion of Bearers and Defenders of Life.

Protecting My Wife

My mentor, Linda Bartlett, (click here to see her blog ) has always taught that one of God’s roles for men is to provide a covering for their wives. This covering, among other things, can be provided through physical protection or spiritual leadership.

This year, I purchased my first lawn mower. As I’ve done a couple of times already, I poured too much oil into the reservoir. Needless to say, when I started the mower, it looked like I was laying down a smoke screen to hide an invading army. My pride took a big hit…what would the neighbors think? What’s wrong with Ed: he can’t fill the oil properly and when he does it wrong, he can’t figure out how to drain it so it wouldn’t look like the subdivision was burning down!

So here I was, ready to give up and have the repairman come out again. Yes, again, because he’d already been out earlier this year when I ran over a tree stump in the backyard, a move that killed the blade and sheared something off (and I have no idea what that was). My wife was beside herself. Not only did we have the cost of buying a new mower this year, we’ve already had to pay to fix it once already. Her anxiety rose, her spirits dropped.

So I worked in a cloud of smoke and mowed the lawn. I buried my embarrassment and focused on getting the grass cut to an acceptable height. Someone once said to me that owning a home and doing the DIY jobs around the house was worth the pain and fatigue because you could be proud of the a job well done at the end of the day. Not really.

Rather, at the end of the day, I thanked God that I was able to provide my wife with a covering in the form of peace of mind. Even if it meant walking behind a cloud a smoke for an hour.