The Demise of the Doofus Dad in Ads

A backlash against the bumbling father figure is paving the way for the Superdad

Picture it: A dad strolls down Main Street. His wide-eyed, 10-month-old daughter, perched in her stroller, giggles and coos. It’s a fall day—not too hot, not too cold. Yet a stranger stops the dad, asking if he thinks that baby could use a hat. No, she couldn’t, he replies, mustering a perfunctory smile. Dad keeps walking but is stopped by yet another passerby who urges him to return home at once, as it is much too cold out for a baby. Then, still another concerned citizen sidles up to serve up a scolding.

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