Verizon’s Asian-American Dad Buys Yellow-Haired Doll
These stills are from a Verizon Wireless TV spot. I first noticed it last year around Father’s Day, and I spotted it last night on Hulu, which was handy for screen caps.
In the ad, the man stands opposite a Verizon Wireless store, expresses (in internal monologue) his desire for a new mobile device and eventually goes and gets himself one.
In the Father’s Day version, he rationalizes that his wife and daughter might not know he wants one for Father’s Day, so he should just go get it.
In the current iteration, he rationalizes that his wife won’t mind him being late if the reason is that he stopped to get this new mobile device.
While the link between the doll and the man’s child is more loose in the second spot, the job of the prop is the same: to identify him as a family man.
It’s not difficult to conjure a backstory that would explain this man buying a yellow-haired doll. However it remains a jarring choice for a 30-second TV spot starring an Asian-American dad.
All I can think is that the lighter-colored hair gives the doll more separation from the dark background in the wide shot, and competes less with the dad in the closer shot. But light brown would have worked fine, or even the same soft blue as dad’s shirt. It’s a toy after all.
It begs the question why the toy had to be a doll in the first place. If it were a stuffed puppy I wouldn’t even have a pit to hiss in, so to speak.
The point is this ad bothers the hell out of me and I thought it was gone last year and now it’s back.
(The actor in the spot is Randall Park and he does a good job. I probably wouldn’t even have looked up at the TV otherwise.)