That Home Depot Commercial

1Has anyone else seen this Home Depot commercial I can’t find an online link to?

Teenage daughter in kitchen with Dad points out to him that the fridge is old and they need a new one. And the cabinets, too. Dad begins to mull this over seriously. Daughter goes into living room, where Mom slips her a cash.

Let’s count the stereotypes:

  • Dad doesn’t listen to Mom, so Mom has to find someone else to tell him what she wants, someone whose sensibilities he gives a shit about
  • Women are manipulative: Mom and daughter ganging up on Dad
  • Dad is stupid enough to fall for this trick, because men are just so stymied by the mysteries of the feminine
  • Mom wants new stuff when the old stuff isn’t broken, because women are vain like that

UPDATED from commenters:

  • Cheryl: “Mom has no control over the finances. Dad has control over the money- how it will be spent, when it will be spent, where it be spent, and what projects of worthy of it being spent. Ironically, this isn’t true — there’s plenty of research showing women make the big purchase choices in a LOT of households. The ad in fact, seems to be targeting *women*. (“HomeDepot is a place you can both be happy spending your money.”)
  • Cheryl: All things “handy” are “male”.

Lovely.

Comments

  1. DNi says

    … Huh. I was actually thinking that that commercial was pretty okay because of the way it portrayed an Asian-American family as being completely normal.

  2. sbg says

    There’s a similar one with a woman pondering how to ask her husband to re-do the family room floors. Her son wanders through, asks her what she’s doing…and proceeds to shout “Dad, Mom wants new floors!”

    Because it was too tough for her to figure out that method.

    The commercial ends, of course, with the kid telling the mom, “Dad wants a motorcycle.”

  3. Jennifer Kesler says

    … Huh. I was actually thinking that that commercial was pretty okay because of the way it portrayed an Asian-American family as being completely normal.

    That’s an interesting point. Is that truly normal, or is it a white stereotype they’re opening up to Asian-Americans? It may indeed be doing some good, to some degree, on a racial level. I don’t feel qualified to say, but it’s worth talking about.

    SBG, I’ve seen that one too, now that you mention it. I also don’t like the idea that parents just use their kids as a communications tool rather than face each other honestly. I’ve known people who were always getting put in the middle as kids, and it sucks.

  4. says

    I can’t believe you didn’t comment on this:

    Mom has no control over the finances. Dad has control over the money- how it will be spent, when it will be spent, where it be spent, and what projects of worthy of it being spent.

    Ironically, this isn’t true — there’s plenty of research showing women make the big purchase choices in a LOT of households. The ad in fact, seems to be targeting *women*. (“HomeDepot is a place you can both be happy spending your money.”)

    Additionally, all things “handy” are “male”.

  5. Jennifer Kesler says

    I intentionally left out many of my brilliant insights so that you guys could contribute, too, Cherly. :D

    Just kidding. I wrote it in a hurry and didn’t even try to think of everything. Which means now I can update the post with your contributions, too.

  6. Pat Mathews says

    In my family, my now-ex was a lot more willing to listen to his daughters than he was to me, and treated them with more respect. I blame the example his father set in the way he treated his mother, and of course, the Selfish Genes. It’s easier to respect your daughters since they are genetically half yours (and we had no sons) than a wife who is no kin at all.

  7. Jennifer Kesler says

    It’s easier to respect your daughters since they are genetically half yours (and we had no sons) than a wife who is no kin at all.

    That’s a very good observation.

  8. S. A. Bonasi says

    BetaCandy,

    You said, “Is that truly normal, or is it a white stereotype they’re opening up to Asian-Americans?”

    Maybe. It’s important both diversify representation and to challenge stereotypes…but it’s not always easy to do it at the same time. Which is not to say that one shouldn’t critique the comercial, but it might be good to also acknowledge what it gets right.

  9. Jennifer Kesler says

    it might be good to also acknowledge what it gets right.

    It is, and that’s why I was inviting other opinions. What you and DNi are saying makes sense to me, but I was hesitant to attempt to evaluate the racial issue because, honestly, I don’t feel qualified. I’m not Asian American and I don’t live with the exclusion and stereotypes they’re faced with in film and TV.

    I can definitely see it as inclusive and “normalizing”, even if some of the context is problematic.

  10. Darryn says

    There are so few commercials, if any, targeted at Asian Americans it was actually a fresh welcome for me. The commercial let me think why aren’t there more commercials with Asians targeting Asians?

    To me, this commercial raised the issue of why aren’t there more Asian faces on T.V., in specific, commercials, rather then the stereotype issue you are talking about. Not that your issue is not important.

    Asian Americans have significant spending power, and yet very few commericals target this market. Why wouldn’t advertisers see the significance in this? Is that a stereotype?

  11. Jennifer Kesler says

    Both issues are important. I generally stick to gender issues because this is a gender blog (and because I’m white and therefore not always the right person to try to discuss racial stereotypes). But I’m glad we’re discussing the race issue here.

    Asian Americans have significant spending power, and yet very few commericals target this market. Why wouldn’t advertisers see the significance in this? Is that a stereotype?

    I think this is a parallel to what you’re observing about ignored Asian American spending power: women of all races also have huge spending power, whether its our own money or the household budget we’re spending. It’s estimated by reports from publications like WSJ and Business Week that a woman’s approval is required for about 80% of all purchases happening in the US, and they’ve been saying for years that marketers are fools not to realize this and update their strategies.

    Why marketers tend to ignore this, no one knows. My personal theory is that young white men are the easiest spenders to sway to buy total crap, and so marketers don’t want to do the work involved to figure out how to appeal to more savvy and discriminate shoppers. So they’ve purported the myth that 18-25 year old white males have the biggest spending power and if the rest of us don’t like that we should spend more… which is impossible because we’re already doing it. Just not based on slick ads.

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