So often dads are portrayed in the media as bumbling or out of touch when it comes to raising their children. With “Calls for Dad”, Dove Men+Care and Davie Brown Entertainment set out to acknowledge the caring moments of fatherhood that often go overlooked.
As a new father head over heels for his 4 month old son, Rob Meltzer was incredibly excited for the opportunity to direct this project right before his first Father’s Day.
The key to this project was authenticity. The fathers and their children needed to be real people (rather than actors playing families) who have genuine loving relationships. Using a small team of researchers, we reached out through numerous channels to find fathers and kids whose closeness would jump off the screen.
Over the course of the 5 day shoot, we shot nearly 100 kids and their fathers with a small documentary crew. Though we had ideas of what we were hoping to capture, Rob and his team were always looking for truthful moments that happened spontaneously.
Culling down 5 days of footage into a 60 second mini-documentary in less than a week was one of the biggest challenges of the project. Rob, who also occasionally edits, started cutting immediately after production wrapped and edited the first cut in two days. There was a ton of great footage, so we spent the next several days experimenting with shot selection and music until we had crafted a little gem that made everyone in the edit bay misty-eyed.
Nothing could have prepared us for the incredible reaction “Calls for Dad” got when it hit YouTube right before Father’s Day.
In the first week, it racked up 7 million views and has gone on to 12 million. It received coverage on “The Today Show”, “The View”, Time.com, The New Yorker, and was praised by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg as a “Father’s Day ad I love”. And then the most amazing thing happened… Dove decided to air the the spot during the 2015 Super Bowl! The spot was also nominated for a Cannes Lion.
For all of us involved, this was a hugely rewarding project. One of the best parts has been reading the wonderful things dads have had to say about it on YouTube. (Click here to check out the comments on YouTube.)