(The Federalist) -- This ad was the first really bad one to air. It’s about a father missing all of his child’s milestones because he was at work (as a race car driver) and then showing up at the end in a shiny red car as if this makes up for it. To make matters worse, the ad used Harry Chapin’s “Cat in the Cradle,” as the music. That’s a song about how fathers too busy to be with their sons end up having sons too busy to spend time with their fathers. It’s horribly depressing.
If one assumes that Nissan has a goal of selling automobiles with this ad, one must assume that the ad executives thought they were portraying this absentee father sympathetically. And with 24 million children in America living in homes without fathers, this isn’t a great idea. The Nissan child wouldn’t even qualify as a child living in a home without a father, he just has a father too busy to spend time with him. But father absence plays a significant role in poverty, emotional and behavioral problems, infant mortality, incarceration, crime, teen pregnancy, child abuse, sexual abuse, alcohol and substance abuse, and educational lags. Showing up one day with a new red car isn’t really a solution to all of these problems.