The smallest moments can have the biggest impact on a child’s life. Take time to be a dad today.” That’s the campaign message of new public service advertisements (PSAs) that launched nationwide in recognition of Father’s Day. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 24 million children (34%) in the U.S. live apart from their fathers. The PSA campaign is an effort between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance and the Ad Council to show fathers the unique and irreplaceable role they play in their children’s lives.
From the time the Responsible Fatherhood campaign began in 2008, the PSAs have featured different segments of the population each year and the various challenges fathers face. This year’s campaign focuses on military and Hispanic fathers. An unforgettable reunion between a military father and his daughter is captured when he surprises her in her classroom.
“The President has said there is no more important job he or any other man can have than being a father,” said Joshua DuBois, Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. “We are excited to promote fatherhood through this year’s media campaign as we all work toward addressing the crisis of father absence in our communities.”
According to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC), children who live without their biological fathers are on average at least two to three times more likely to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents.
Whether they live together or just see each other occasionally, research shows kids benefit greatly when their fathers are actively involved in their lives. The Responsible Fatherhood campaign urges fathers to be proactive and not wait for their children to ask them to read them a book, play a game, or sit down together for a meal—but take the lead. Spending time with your children can energize the relationship and create a stronger bond between a father and child.
Created pro bono by Campbell Ewald (CE), this year’s campaign includes new TV, radio, outdoor and Web PSAs that include Hispanic fathers and Military dads, and the small, yet precious moments they share with their children.
The U.S. Census reports that 34% (slightly higher than the national average) of Hispanic children live in father-absent homes; while more than 1.8 million children of military dads suffer from the unique stresses of military life. New Spanish television, radio and outdoor PSAs were developed in collaboration with the Hispanic Communications Network.
This year’s campaign also includes a second series of PSAs that were developed in collaboration with The Walt Disney Studios. The new television, radio, outdoor and digital ads feature the lovable animated characters from the movie The Lion King. The PSAs illustrate the important role fathers play in their children’s lives and ask fathers to play a part in “the circle of life.”
To date the campaign has received nearly $123 million in donated media across television, radio, outdoor, print and digital. Per the Ad Council’s model, the PSAs will run and air in advertising time and space that is donated by the media.