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Football greats strike down gender roles in new Pantene ad

Super Bowl 50 was the second-highest-rated Super Bowl in history, according to Nielsen’s overnight ratings. Over 49 percent of Americans tuned in to watch two fiercely competitive teams battle for the championship.

While the highly regarded players are known for their aggressive tactics on the field, Pantene exposed a vastly different side to these men during its “Strong Is Beautiful” campaign ad.

DeAngelo Williams of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Benjamin Watson of the New Orleans Saints and Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys all joined Pantene in a heartwarming daddy-daughter video highlighting the importance of dads spending quality time with their daughters.

The videos had each player doing their daughters’ hair with a variety of brushes, product and hair decorations and ended with the statement, “Girls who spend quality time with their dads grow up to be stronger women.”

For centuries, men and women have fallen into socially doctored gender roles, and few dared to push the boundaries. However, within the past few decades both sexes have begun to reevaluate their positions in life and are realizing family roles are much more fluid than previously thought.

Family dynamics vary, and these football greats are showing men the impact they have in their daughters’ lives. Even something as simple as being open to doing their daughter’s hair could play a part in strengthening that relationship and have a lasting influence on the girls’ self-esteem.

“If you’re a father, and only have so many hours in a day, maybe doing their hair is one of the things you can do to connect with them and to build that relationship,” Watson said.

In each video, the young girls giggled and offered encouragement to their fathers as they attempted to tame each of their beautiful locks. Even though in some cases it took multiple tries — I’m looking at you, Witten — the girls absolutely loved their “dad-dos.”

Despite the criticism online, this campaign is not saying a girl who lacks a caring father is doomed to grow up damaged. All the commercial does is encourage dads to spend time with their daughters in any way they can.

Criticizing fathers for doting on their kids only further supports the idea that men must remain aloof to keep their oh-so-fragile masculinity intact. As this commercial shows, men are sick of it. If three hugely admired football stars can confidently attach a bow to a braid, so can dads at home.

Pantene knew last year’s Super Bowl was the most-watched show in U.S. history and recognized the opportunity to reach an overwhelming number of viewers by presenting the ad with the extremely recognizable figures.

The “Strong Is Beautiful” campaign is all about ensuring the next generation of girls recognize their self-worth because the company believes confidence is the key to a beautiful life.

“We know strength and self-esteem start by building confidence in girls at a young age,” P&G Hair Care & Color for North America Vice President Jodi Allen said. “We hope our new series of how-to videos shows dads how easy and fun it can be to spend quality time with their daughters… (Which) will foster the next generation of strong and beautiful women.”

Williams, Watson and Witten made it clear dads should not be afraid to get creative in spending time with their daughters. Pantene brought a crucial issue to the masses with their adorable football-themed campaign ad, and it is changing the way men interact with their daughters, one viewer at a time.