Dove Ditches Super Bowl; Media Tips from Dads & Daughters

superbowllogo.gifThis Super Bowl Sunday, our favorite Dove Campaign for Real Beauty ad has flown the coop.

They’re smart birds to shift to the Academy Awards venue, because even though the genders are supposedly evenly divided for the game, it isn’t their ‘target market,’ and it IS a terrribly pricey media buy at $2.6 million a pop for a :30 second spot.

Still, I love the way it jolted football fans into a more balanced view of what they’re watching amidst all the jiggling and wiggling and beer-n-babe commercials; planting their daughter’s faces on the screen sending a Dove self-esteem message to girls everywhere.

This past weekend my preteen daughter and her pal kept pointing out the “Raiderettes” plastered all over the Oakland Raiders billboard repeatedly throughout our four hour road trip to her grandparent’s house.

I kept hearing backseat banter, “There she is again, ugh!” and tried not to react, but finally said, “Ok, so which ad are you two talking about?” I got a shrill, “The one with her shirt off wearing a bra, fergawdsakes!” Clearly referring to the eeny meeny tie-top with the buxom black & white Raiders uniform splashed all over ambient ads in every major S.F. Bay area location…

Yep. The Dove ad would’ve been a nice counterpoint for a split second to take the chip-chomping testosterone level down a notch and see the impact this body image crud is having on little girls.

Would’ve been nice to view the game as more than a Janet Jackson peekaboo halftime thrill. But hey, Dove got a lot of buzz for their buck, and much of that came from post-game Oprah hype on self-esteem, so I can see why they bailed from a business standpoint.

That’s life, especially when Dove’s Evolution viral film had no media outlay at all and scored end zone consumer online response!

I’ll miss them while monitoring these things, especially when we have ‘Go Daddy’ drek to look forward to and countless soft drinks, junk food and sporting goods to fill the void.

Sigh. As AdRants pithily claims, “Every year we have to endure the painful submit, reject, submit, reject saga GoDaddy forces us to live through as it tries to get the network to accept its commercial for the Super Bowl. No one’s in the dark here. Everyone knows Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons is submitting ads he knows will be rejected simply to get the press that rejection generates.”

Therein lies the game. Word has it they already ditched a ‘Sharon Stone/Basic Instinct’ leg cross ditty and are back to the basic cleavage routine. Sigh. What’s a parent to do?

Well, Dads & Daughters has a wonderful list of ‘tips’ for watching the Super Bowl with awareness, engagement, and everpresent perception. Get a clue. Stay alert. Be aware of media messages filtering into your daughter’s (and son’s!) gender and identity composition.

This nonprofit earns touchdowns and game points beyond any standard mind-numbing spectator sport.

They ‘get it’ and the advice will linger long afer the play is complete. Thank you, Joe Kelly, Helen Cordes, Nancy Gruver, and your whole team for offering these words of wisdom:

Tips for Dads & Daughters Watching the Super Bowl Together

Dads & Daughters watching TV sports together–one of life’s pleasures. But what about those moments (like during some commercials) when you want to cover her eyes with your hands?

Here are a few simple tips from the national nonprofit Dads & Daughters for fathers, stepfathers, and significant men in the lives of girls, watching the Super Bowl (and other TV sporting events.)

1. First, spend part of the pre-game afternoon tossing a football around with her! A Dad who plays sports with his Daughter increases the odds that she’ll grow up healthy and strong!

2. If she doesn’t like to play catch, take a walk or bike ride together. Let her know that you enjoy being with her. The time together may give her an opportunity to share what is going on in her life. Daughters may see our enthusiasm for sports and think we’re more interested in our favorite team than in her. Making time for her on Super Bowl Sunday (and every other day) can counter that perception .

3. When watching the game, be aware that what your daughter or stepdaughter sees and what you see may be entirely different. She may be struck by the cheerleaders, whose partially clothed bodies look so “perfect.” Instead of enjoying the game, your daughter may be comparing her body to theirs and feeling inadequate.

4. Try to watch the broadcast through her eyes. Would any images, commercials, or events look or feel different if it was your daughter on the screen? You might share these perceptions with her and ask her what she thinks.

5. Use the remote! If you see an ad or image that disrespects or objectifies females, change the channel so you, your daughter, and your family don’t have those images in your home. Let her know why you decided to flip and ask for her feedback.

6. Compare the number of female sports announcers (usually fewer) and their roles (usually on the sidelines) to the number and role of male announcers. Talk with your daughter about what you think those numbers mean. Do they mean that your daughter “can’t” be a big football fan? Could she be taken seriously as a sports announcer someday or should she eliminate this from her career aspirations?

7. Ask her which players and coaches she admires or sees as heroes. Tell her which ones you admire, and then share your reasons with each other.

8. After the game, debate what each of you thought were the crucial plays and most exciting moments. Then invite her to do something special together next Sunday to keep these conversations rolling and to convince her that the most important man in her life takes her seriously–and enjoys being with her!

9. Use the Super Bowl to become more media-literate and sensitive to your daughter’s experience. Decide to pay more attention to how media portray women and girls. When you see an ad, ask “What if it was my daughter?”, and then reassess your reaction to it.

Get more resources for fathering daughters at the Dad Man’s website or the Daughters bimonthly newsletter and forum for girls. Both are making the world safe and fair for our daughters.

I liked this definition of football from an anonymous referee, who described it as, “Trying to maintain order during a legalized gang brawl involving 80 toughs with a little whistle, a hanky and a ton of prayer.”

Yes, I prefer to throw the ball rather than watch the ball, if truth be told.

Do I “throw like a girl?” Hmn. Guess that’s my segue to promo the National Girls & Women’s Sports Day coming up February 7th…Lots to think about this Super Bowl Sunday.




  1. I just wanted to say, Amy, that readergirlz loves your blog! Thanks for bringing the media’s influence on teen body image to light.

    As a ballerina-turned-novelist who is very much concerned about body image, your work is particularly important to me, considering my firsthand knowledge of eating disorders.

    I am one of four YA authors who want to use books to get girls to reflect deeply about hard issues, which is why I’ve co-founded readergirlz, an online book community celebrating gutsy girls in life & literature. Our mission is to encourage teen girls to read and reach out. Every month, we’ll do more than select a new novel to read with teen girls; we’ll tie each book to related community service.

    We would love to fete you on our website and to point teens to your powerful words.

    For more information about readergirlz, you can look at,, and I’d love to hear if you are interested.

    Best in your work,
    Lorie Ann, readergirlz diva

  2. VERY interested. I’d love to be in touch! Are you on Skype? I’m at Shaping Youth if you’d like to ping me…this is definitely worthy of a feature!

  3. LOVE the co-viewing tips for Dads and Daughters! Thanks for this great addition!

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