Top Dad Ads from Super Bowl Sunday 2013

I have not seen all of the Super Bowl ads yet, but did it seem as if car makers and others were pitching directly to parents last night? Maybe it’s just our middle-aged bias clouding our judgment. Here, through a father’s eyes, are the Top Dad Ads from Super Bowl Sunday 2013:

1. The Flaming Lips appearing in and providing the soundtrack for Hyundai’s “Epic Playdate” ad was cool, but the clincher was after the montage of extreme activities showing a day filled with frivolity the youngest child asks, “Dad, what are we going to do tomorrow?” Moms, dads and kids everywhere bobbed their heads to the music and nodded their heads in agreement throughout this commercial.

2. All parents will likely agree that Hyundai knocked it out of the park for our demographic this year. Another favorite ad was “Team”, in which a mom provides car service for a team that will stand up to the bullies that hogged a football.

3. Speaking of car service, parents of teenagers were simultaneously rooting for the underdog who gets a kiss from the queen of the dance while cringing at the thought of their teenager taking Dad’s Audi for an adrenaline-fueled spin afterwards. The marketing side of me also loved that Audi added a link to the song, “Can’t Win Em All” by Hanni El Khatib.

4. Kia’s modern-day take on a virtual, space-age stork delivering babies around the world was a little over the top. Our favorite part was the kid activating the B.S. meter at the end, and the parents instructing the car to quickly change the subject.

Slight aside… another Kia favorite from before the Super Bowl:

5. I don’t have daughters, but I can see how a dad can reach this point, Doritos or no Doritos:

6. I made a very similar milk run on Saturday morning:

7. Toyota taught us to be careful what you wish for, but that does not stop me from wishing Toyota had linked to “I Wish” by Skee Lo that plays near the end of this ad (Was that song really from 1995? That seems like just yesterday). The good news for you is that Commuter Daddy is a full-service operation. “I wish I was a little bit taller. I wish I was a baller….”

8. This Volkswagen favorite is more from our professional than our parental side. “Respect Boss Mahn!”

9. A glimpse of Super Bowl Sundays of our future from Taco Bell:

Cooking in the car

The amount of time I spent in my car this week wasn’t significantly more than usual, but the compressed schedule made it seem so.

Was up-and-at-’em early Monday, hitting the road at 5 a.m. on the dot for the drive to headquarters in Middletown, N.Y. Drove into New York City at a more reasonable hour on Tuesday. Parked on Eighth Street, only to learn the person I was meeting with had meant to direct me to Eighth Avenue. So I hopped back into the car to relocate it and make the meeting for which I was already tardy.

Then drove to Waltham on Tuesday afternoon for the Detours and Onramps conference at which I was speaking the following morning. Returned home to the Cape Wednesday afternoon after the speaking gig and lunch.

I felt as if I needed a shoehorn to extract myself from the car.

Along the way — and I’m not certain which leg of the trip this was — I was catching up on some podcast listening, and I heard a Splendid Table interview with Bill Scheller, author of Manifold Destiny: The One! The Only! Guide to Cooking on Your Car Engine!.

(When you’re truly the one and only, you can put exclamations in your title. That’s in Strunk and White, isn’t it? I’ve misplaced my copy. Surely the book’s publisher followed the guidelines.)

I haven’t read Manifold Destiny yet, but if ever there were a book that was perfect for a Commuter Daddy, this would have to be it. It has been added to the Wish List/reading queue. I hunted for a companion blog, but haven’t come across one. If you know of one, put a link in the comments.

During the interview, Scheller did say that American cars are generally the best for cooking while driving. My recently acquired VW may not make the cut (see item#18). Looks like I picked the wrong period of my commuting life to go with an imported car.

My biweekly, 4.5-hour trips to Middletown, though, have got to be ready-made for some slow roasting if I can find the right place in the engine compartment to park some vittles. It would be the ultimate multitasking feat. Maybe Prius Pork can be transformed into Passat Pork?

Porsches are apparently right out. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I’m in the market for one.

Look before you launch apples in the dark

Refreshed from an 11-day vacation, I hit the road at 5 a.m. yesterday to resume my extreme commute to New York. As if I wasn’t rusty enough commuting-wise, there was black ice afoot, and I was driving the family car — an all-wheel drive Toyota Highlander, which is not my usual commuting vessel — because of the snow/sleet/rain mix expected on my drive home tomorrow.

But I was otherwise prepared. I had packed some food the night before, for starters, and remembered to set the coffee timer so it would be brewed by the time I finished getting ready in the morning. My clothes for the day were laid out and bags were packed, buying me an extra 15 minutes of sleep in addition to saving me from fumbling too much in the dark and running the risk of waking a child or two.

While I had not slept well Sunday night, I was still feeling pretty good and back in the swing of things as I headed west. The iPod was cranking, and I was ready for my coffee after munching a granola bar, some smoked almonds and an apple for breakfast.

So while keeping my eyes locked on the road, I hit the button to roll down the passenger-side window in preparation for returning the apple core to a natural habitat. While the 32-degree air was blowing back into the car at highway speeds, I held the window button an extra couple of seconds, to make sure it was open all the way.

Then the windup… and the pitch…


What the…?!

Once I recovered my breath and my heart returned to its rightful place in my chest, I looked over to see apple juice and smithereens splattered all over the passenger seat, while the apple core was resting on top of my backpack on the floor. There also was a big smear of apple juice and bits dead-center on the front passenger-side window.

I had hit the wrong button. It was the rear passenger-side window from which I was feeling the freezing, speeding air.

I’m just grateful my apple fastball didn’t break the window. Can you imagine that conversation with the clerk at the auto glass shop?