When Kenny Weiner first heard the commercial on WEEI-AM (850), he thought it was a spoof. The spot features three male co-workers who find out their friend Darren has been stuck with kid duty and can’t make their weekend trip to Las Vegas.
”Will somebody tell him to wake up already,” one of them says. ”That kid looks nothing like him.”
The ad is for 1-800-DNA-TEST, an at-home paternity kit sold by a company called Orchid Cellmark. The doubting father simply swabs the inside of his cheek, and the child’s, and sends them to a lab for analysis. Two weeks later, his fatherhood will no longer be up for debate.
”For a guy with an MBA,” one of the men in the commercial says of Darren, ”he’s sure failing economics 101.”
The ad didn’t last long on WEEI. After a handful of complaints, programming and operations director Jason Wolfe pulled the spot last Monday. ”I just didn’t feel that the way that they chose to produce the commercial was appropriate,” he said.
Several bloggers have also taken issue with the provocative ad, which is part of a radio campaign launched a month ago in several markets. The ad was scheduled to start running on WBCN-FM (104.1) on Friday, according to Orchid Cellmark….
The proliferation of these tests is worrisome to Nina Selvaggio, president of the National Organization for Women’s Massachusetts chapter. Not because she thinks they shouldn’t be available, she says, but because ”it’s perpetuating a culture that says there’s a way to get out of being responsible.” With the number of so-called ”deadbeat dads” out there who aren’t paying child support, she says, why not put the focus on preventative measures, such as birth control.
I’ll bet Nina is worried about this. Because a very good way out of being held responsible is to not be responsible in the first place. Considering that we live in a world where there are seminars devoted to teaching women how to fake evidence of an abusive relationship, the idea that a man should have the ability to verify the paternity of his children is hardly outrageous.
In this case, one really has to wonder where the objection could possibly be if one does not have something to hide, since there is no possible violation of the woman’s privacy. Impressive cowardliness on the part of the program director, too. One wonders how he thinks the service might have been more appropriately produced, given the subject at hand.
Now, I suspect there’s a lot of men who would find it impossible to disown a child they loved and had reared as their own. I know I would. But that decision must belong to the purported father, not to the state and certainly not to the mother.