The evolution of the dad brand

Believe it or not, Father’s Day is still relatively new. The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers wasn’t issued until 1966, and it took another six years before Father’s Day became an official national holiday. In comparison to Mother’s Day, which was conceptualized in 1908 and made permanent in 1914, Father’s Day has historically fallen a bit short.

by SHANAshay

However, the perception of dads has changed in the last few years, and celebrating fathers is no longer an afterthought. Tabloid magazines reserve full-page spreads for their favorite celeb dads, there are numerous Instagram accounts reserved for hipster dads and #dadbods, and Jim Gaffigan talks dad brands in a series of Chrysler commercials that glorify the suburban father. It seems the increased celebration of dads is more of a cultural shift than a random trend, thanks to changing American household values. Over the last ten years the number of stay-at-home dads in America has more than doubled as more women have entered the workforce, and there is a significantly greater number of dual-income houses to show for it. Fathers are no longer the work-all-day breadwinners with family time confined to one hour at the dinner table. Instead, fathers who live with their children tend to take more of an active role in caring for them and helping out around the house.

The modern dad has become a brand of his own. He’s less stuffy than the workaholic dads of days past—he might own a small business or work from home for his tech job. He’s technologically-hip and posts selfies with his kids on Instagram (take a look at the popular #dadsofinstagram stream on Instagram to see for yourself). He works out semi-regularly to maintain the beloved “dad bod” (maybe don’t check out that Instagram stream, though). Most importantly, he can assemble IKEA furniture just as well as he can change a newborn’s diaper, and he’s damn proud of it. In celebration of Father’s Day we’re honoring the modern father: funnier, cooler and more involved than ever before.

Our favorite Dad Brands

These dudes have branded themselves around their dad-ness, and we love ‘em for it.

Ben Affleck

Photos (from left): growingyourbaby.com, FameFlynet

When you think quintessential Hollywood dad, it’s inevitable that Ben Affleck comes to mind. Pictures of him and Jennifer Garner with their adorable two daughters populate social media and tabloid websites almost as much as photos of the Kardashians. However, unlike other celebrities, Affleck epitomizes the down-to-Earth dad, sporting baseball caps and t-shirts covered in melted ice cream that scream “My kids have been here.” We appreciate Affleck’s normcore dad brand and dedication to giving his family an all-American life regardless of his fame. Bravo on a dad brand well done!

Jamie Oliver

Photos: David Loftus

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver transformed his personal brand into a dad brand when he, well, became a dad, and the outcome is awesome. Oliver’s television series, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, promotes healthy eating and ways to combat childhood obesity, which helps not only his own kids but kids around the globe. Considering Oliver has four children and one more on the way, we think it’s safe to assume he’s got the fatherly role on lock. Overall, Oliver’s successful family-centric professional brand proves having kids shouldn’t deter you from doing what you love. In fact, it should motivate you to keep going.

Bryan Mills a.k.a Liam Neeson

Photos (from left): Fox, Esquire, Huffington Post

We don’t know how Liam Neeson is as an actual father, but we’re convinced of his kickass dad brand after his killer (pun intended) performance in the hit movie “Taken.” Mills’ infamous phone speech, in which he tells his daughter’s captor, “I will find you, and I will kill you,” has become one of the most well-known movie speeches, fueling thousands of Buzzfeed articles and gifs everywhere. Mills exemplifies the ultimate badass, protective dad brand, though we are doubtful about how many actual dads (with their subsequent dad bods) could kickflip like Neeson.

Barack Obama

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

We needed at least one dad on this list who does something other than look really really good on television (though Mr. President kind of does that too). Obama’s dad brand revolves around mentoring and inspiring fathers everywhere, and we applaud him for it. In his 2008 Father’s Day speech he said, “Even as we are imperfect, even as we face difficult circumstances, there are still certain lessons we must strive to live and learn as fathers—whether we are black or white; rich or poor; from the South Side or the wealthiest suburb.” These lessons included setting an example of excellence and passing on the value of empathy and the gift of hope. +1 for keepin’ it real, Mr. President. Malia and Natasha sure are lucky girls.

Mike Quinones

All photos via Instagram

Cute kid? Check. Man bun? Check. Small business owner? Check. Instagram personality and ourCaste owner Mike Quinones has his hipster dad brand nailed down to a T, and it’s even better than the other Insta-famous dad brands because his is for a cause. Quinone’s son Micah was born with Down Syndrome, and Quinones uses both his own Instagram and a separate account, @lifewithmicah, to document Micah’s journey and educate others about the disease. He gets extra branding points because his Instagram stream is a well-curated mix of professional, good-looking photos of Micah, his wife (model Amanda Booth), and other stereotypically “manly” things like his motorbike and dog. We appreciate the sensitive ruggedness of Quinone’s dad brand and applaud him on a branding job well done.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Photos (from left): Miamipixx, Tumblr

Leo’s the most well-known name in dad bods and he’s not even a dad! How’s that for effective branding?

6 steps to creating your own dad brand

attachment_70350499
by Fatema abbas

Now that we’ve got you inspired and maybe slightly jealous by these famous dad brands, let us show you how to do it yourself.

  1. Become a dad
    Or at least find one you can perform some branding magic on.
  2. Choose your cause
    Your cause is the equivalent of your company mission. Are you going to spread awareness about a disease like Mike Quinones, or embody a simple lifestyle like Ben Affleck? There are approximately 70.1 million fathers in America, so your dad brand needs an angle to help you stick out from the rest.
  3. Fashion your look
    Just like with businesses, your appearance affects how you’re perceived, so it pays off to take time choosing an appearance that reflects your cause. Will you wear baseball caps and t-shirts or suit jackets and loafers? Will you drive a sports car or a Prius? Will you eat Ramen or filet mignon? These choices make up your brand identity, so choose wisely.
  4. Put a logo on it!
    Now that you have a clear brand identity, you need a logo to sum it all up. Ask yourself, what image defines my dad brand? Then, have a designer make your vision reality.
  5. Get going on social media
    It’s time to show your face to the world, dad! In order to get noticed you’re going to have to do some serious damage with hashtags. Think about the niche audience your brand appeals to, and choose hashtags that appeal to that audience.
  6. Have fun!
    We have faith you’ll be the most popular dad at the soccer game in no time! And if not… at least your kids love you.

Need some inspiration? Check out this winning dad brand from 99designs:

dudeoir
Logo by Koauila for Dudeoir

Dudeoir centered their brand identity around the aura of the dad bod. Here’s what they have to say:

“Look. Bodacious brutes are beautiful. That’s a fact. But the sex appeal of a voluptuous dad-bod is hard to encapsulate in a single logo. And we had a lot of important questions. How much chest hair should he have? Where does elegant femininity and brute masculinity meet? The answer… design it all. Within just a few days we had a total of 120 designs to choose from. Needless to say, we proudly have the most sultry dad-bod brand on the internet. Thanks 99designs.”

 

3 creative Father’s Day gifts:

Help your old man turn dad into a lifestyle with these unique gift ideas.

  1. Turn your dad into a gif
    Let dads break the Internet this year.
  2. Brew a beer and name it after him
    If you can’t pick up a home-brewing kit, design your own label and stick it over a beer bottle. Cheers, dad!
  3. Print his face on a sticker & plaster it across the city
    Okay, maybe now we took it too far.
pc hunter
Design by BlooByrd Art for PC Hunter

Happy Father’s Day!

The author

Brea Weinreb
Brea Weinreb

Brea is the Marketing Coordinator at 99designs. When she's not working you can find her painting in her art studio, reading a good poetry book, or drinking boba tea while dancing around in suede fringe culottes and pretending she is Jimi Hendrix (actually though).

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