From Budweiser's homeward-bound puppy to McDonald's "acts of kindness" campaign, many of the Super Bowl XLIX advertisements were much more sentimental than the typical comedic shorts that have aired in years past. Nissan's #withDad advertisement featuring a race car driver and his family highlighted the importance of fatherhood in an age when a man is pressured to find his identity and his purpose in his work.
Fatherhood is often overlooked in western culture, which tends to categorize the single, hard-working mother trying to make ends meet as a nobler calling. Nissan took a more traditional route through their advertisement, however, by saluting men who try to balance their professions with being a husband and a father.
Although we can't draw too much from a short production, we can see that the driver is there for the birth of his son and seems to love his family very much, but misses out on important milestones in his child's life and has a long-distance relationship with his wife because he is often out on the road racing. The wife seems to be a stay-at-home mom, and the father a committed family man outside of his demanding work schedule.
The pro-family message of Nissan's commercial is refreshing, and it reminds us that a man's role is so much bigger than his work. Fatherhood is a high calling, and a present dad is an essential ingredient for a thriving family. Where a father is absent or uninvolved, children miss the headship of the male role model that God intended for them to have, and this can especially affect little boys.
The father and son depicted in the commercial seem to spend quality time together while the father is home, but the way that the little boy watches him leave makes it apparent that these precious moments with his dad are few and far between. Even as his mother cries watching her husband collide with another car on the track on television, the little boy's intrepid imagination is eclipsed by dreams of being just like his dad someday.
The song in the background of the commercial implies that the father did what he could to provide for his family, though the sacrifice weighed on him. He seemed pained by having to be away from his family for so long, but it isn't until his boy is a teenager that he puts his helmet on the shelf for what could mean spending more time with his wife and teenage son, who has perhaps begun to resent his father's absence.
Nissan's commercial reminds us that fathers are heroes, and it helps fathers to see that their role in the family is both masculine and necessary. Nissan is also donating up to one million dollars to Habitat for Humanity and The Wounded Warrior Project, organizations which promote strong family relationships.