Even while he's sitting at the dinner table with this family, Will Ferrell is a deadbeat dad in this funny-sad campaign from Common Sense Media, created out of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.
The "#DeviceFreeDinner" campaign depicts what it's like to have a father who isn't around--even though he's right there--because he's so gone looking at his phone. Even with a delicious meal before them, the family can't bear to eat since they miss him so much--he's spending too much time making himself look like a cat with the latest filter, liking everything on his a feed--and he's even so distracted that he mistakes his own daughter for his son. It's practically an intervention when his family forces him to put his phone into the device basket.
While the campaign focuses on how distracting devices can be for paents, it accompanies Common Sense Media's latest findings on kids. The study of media use of children between the ages of 0 and 8 found that the average amount of time kids spend with media and mobile devices has increased nearly ten times since 2011. Other key findings found that there's been a significant spike in the amount of time that kids spend on mobile -- 48 minutes in 2017, compared to five in 2011, and in the number of children who have their own tablet devices -- it's up 42 percent in 2017, from 1 percent in 2011.
"In today's tech-driven world, where things are moving so quickly, it is really important to step back and take a hard look at what technology kids are using and how they are using it," James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense says in a statement. "Over the last six years, we have seen massive growth in media use and tablet ownership, and we haven't even begun to experience the explosion of new technologies like virtual reality and voice-activated assistants in our homes. If we want to ensure our kids develop well and are successful in life, we have to make sure they get the most out of tech while protecting them from potential risks--and that means paying close attention to the role media is playing in their lives."
As for why the ads take a comedic approach, "It's no fun to show someone disciplining a kid, but disciplining a parent who happens to be played by a famous comedian? Major fun," says Jeff Goodby, founder and chairman at GS&P.
"We know that kids who have family dinners get better grades, have healthier eating habits, and have fewer behavior problems," adds Margaret Johnson, partner and CCO at GS&P. "So we enlisted some celebrity help to show the importance of having device-free dinners."
The agency also enlisted Clay Weiner to direct, via Biscuit Filmworks.