0:00-0:01- The video opens on a wide shot of a house, looking at it from the backyard. The house is modest but neat. It has one story and the lawn and plants are well-kept. This appeals to middle class viewers and also gets the audience to keep a more open mind toward the homeowner we are seemingly about to meet; if this person keeps his lawn looking so neat, how bad could he be? The house is in a wooded area. There is a patio set with a small grill that again speaks to the potential character of the homeowner. Maybe he’s the sort of person to invite people over for a cookout. All in all, the house looks like it is in a suburban and likely middle-class area because of its modern architecture, wooded surroundings, and upkeep. A light turns on inside the house. The sky is gray but not totally dark and the house is in shadow, so it is either dusk or dawn. Either that or there is a storm coming. It isn’t immediately clear what kind of production this is, but the video quality is professional and high definition.
0:01-0:04- Inside the house, a Black man opens his fridge. It’s hard to tell just how old he is, but judging by his face he’s probably in his 30s or 40s. He has a beard and glasses, and is wearing a robe. The robe further contributes to the idea that it is either the morning or evening. He doesn’t look disheveled, but he doesn’t look immaculately groomed. He looks tired, as if he just woke up, so the video probably takes place in the morning. The fridge looks pretty well stocked. Inside we see milk, orange juice, grapes, bananas, various condiments, jam, and more that is harder to make out. This man is likely not poor. A middle class viewer could recognize and relate to him. By the way he moves his mouth, the man appears to sigh as he picks up the milk. When his body moves slightly to the side as he picks up the milk, a young boy is revealed to be standing behind him. The boy appears to be his son as they are in the same house and generally look alike. The house’s interior can be seen behind them. There is a dark wood cabinet in the kitchen and farther behind that is a room with a bright green wall and a window with sheer curtains. The color scheme evokes 60s style, but the man’s glasses are modern, so it’s likely that this takes place in the present day and the house’s interior is outdated. This further contributes to the idea of this being a middle/upper-middle class house. It was probably built around the 60s, and while it’s a nice, neat house, refurbishment was too high an expense. The aesthetic makes the setting and characters relatable to middle class viewers.
0:04-0:05- The man hands the milk backward to his son, but does it in a way that looks like a dance move. Drawings are taped on the fridge, presumably the son’s. We get the idea that this man cares about his son and likes to have fun with him. He seems like a good dad, and the audience is being encouraged to like him. Outside the window, the sky is brighter, solidifying that it is morning. The milk and the corn flake box on the counter behind the son imply breakfast. Both the boy and the father are wearing pajamas. The dad is wearing a robe, sweatpants, and a T-shirt, and the son is wearing flannel pants and a shirt with a sports pattern, so they’re not wearing anything fancy nor slovenly. They just look like regular, everyday people. The father’s playful attitude makes it seem like they aren’t in a rush. It appears to be a laid-back morning, maybe a weekend, and the dad and son are going to make breakfast together. The dad seems considerably less tired now that he’s started dancing.
0:06-0:08- The dad opens a silverware drawer and takes out a spoon, which he throws behind his back to the son who catches it. The son’s expression doesn’t look particularly enthused but he doesn’t look annoyed or upset either, so we can assume that the father and son are having fun together even if the son maybe thinks he’s too cool to be hanging out with Dad. This seems to be a loving father-son relationship that viewers will be endeared to. The dad is also able to toss the spoon over his shoulder without looking and the son catches it without fumbling, so this might be something they do often. It also shows that the father and son are a good team and have a good relationship since they smoothly accomplish a trick that could have been difficult. It’s reasonable to assume that this is practiced or routine because of how easily they carried out the trick.
0:08-0:10- The father’s feet slide across the floor as he dances. He picks up the corn flakes and takes them over to the kitchen table where the son is sitting with a bowl in front of him. The mood remains playful and fun as the father keeps doing something as silly as dancing around the kitchen. He is clearly trying to create fun, positive memories with his son. The audience likes him for that because he’s being a good dad. This appeals to any parents watching because he’s doing what most parents would want to do for their kids. It’s also admirable because it is the morning and at first the dad looked tired, but now he is energetic and putting effort into creating a special moment with his son despite being tired.
0:10-0:15- The father stops mid-dance and gives his son an expectant look with his hand held out. He looks expectant because of the way he cocks his head and how his eyes are wider. Clearly, the father won’t pour the corn flakes until the son does something that evidently known between the two of them. The son shakes his head and smirks before tapping his father’s hand and ending the pause in the dance. The son’s face gives the idea that he thinks his dad is silly but he appreciates the fun they’re having together. The father waves his arms as he continues his dance and pours the corn flakes in a bowl for the son. On the wall behind them, there are juvenile drawings in crayon or colored pencil that depict a dinosaur, space, and a rocket ship. These appear to be the son’s drawings, so the father hung his son’s drawings not only on the fridge but on the wall, too. The audience understands that he is proud of his son and loves him. This moment is very sweet and heartwarming. The dad isn’t afraid to act silly to create a special memory with his son and the son even plays along. It’s a scene that parents would wish for in their own lives and something that most parents would want to imitate if they love their children like the dad in this video.
0:16-0:24- The dad dances around the back of his son’s chair and does a dance move where he puts his hand on his chest and pops his chest forward and back. He does something that appears to be a moonwalk behind the son’s chair and into the kitchen, but it’s hard to tell because the shot doesn’t show his feet. As his dad passes behind him, the son follows with his head. He’s pretty expressionless and he’s not smiling, so he could be a little embarrassed by his dad’s antics. He doesn’t have a resentful expression though, it’s a pleasant neutral, so even if his dad is acting strange, the son likes his father. The dad’s energy is high and he’s clearly very committed to this moment, even though his son isn’t too enthusiastic. At this point it’s also notable that a second parent has not appeared in the video, and while that doesn’t confirm that this man is a single father, it’s a reasonable assumption. The father is so upbeat as he tries to create a happy moment, and he likely does this often, even if he is potentially doing it alone. It conveys the idea that even if there are parts of life that cause struggles, it’s the parents’ obligation to make their kids happy.
0:24-0:25- The dad moonwalks backward off screen and pours cereal from the box into his mouth. He made sure his son had food before getting food for himself. The phrase “make a moment” appears. At this point it becomes clear that this is a commercial. This is a message to parents, advising them to put effort into making happy memories with their kids. The son sits at the table in the background, looking at where his dad just was, and now he is smiling.
0:26- Now there is a bust shot of the son looking at where his dad just was and nodding, with a satisfied and appreciative look on his face as if to say “yeah, my dad’s a pretty good guy.” The dad doesn’t see this reaction. This conveys a key part of the message, which is that a parent might not always know if they’re making a difference in their kids’ lives or if their kids appreciate them, but they have to keep putting effort in because their kids could be privately appreciative like the son in this video.
0:27-0:30- An overlay goes over a shot of the son eating at the table. The phrase “#DanceLikeaDad” is in the center of the screen with “fatherhood.gov” below it. Now the audience knows that this ad is targeted specifically at fathers. The phrase “dance like a dad” is catchy and also clever because it encourages the upheaval of the stereotype that fathers should be serious and give tough love. The tough stereotype and the deadbeat dad stereotype are especially applied to Black men, so this commercial discourages that harmful stereotype as well.