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Advertisement for “Shared Dad App” Goes Viral in China

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China has pushed the “sharing economy” more than most countries, with entrepreneurs hyped up by shared bikes attempting to launch everything from shared umbrellas to shared sex dolls. But just when it seemed China had tried shared everything, an advertisement for “shared dads” has recently gone viral on social media.

Presented by furniture company Oppein, a WeChat mini app presents users with a menu of dads ranging from “business type” to “athletic type” to “soft guy type” and a map showing which ones are closest to you.

After you select the dad of your choice and press to finalize your purchase, you’re redirected to a video:

The video centers around one of the “shared dads”, spending his life filling in for other fathers — being there for the birth of another’s child, attending sporting events, standing up against bullies.

The punchline is that at one point the shared dad realizes one of his star coworkers is being rented out by his own family to take his place at home, at which point his voice narrates, “I gave up the job… in this day and age you can share anything, but the love for your family can only be custom made.” Oppein, the home furnishing company’s logo appears. Boom.

In case you’ve not cottoned on yet, the whole thing is of course a prank. Or a slick marketing ploy created by a home furnishings company, depending upon your viewpoint. Oppein say the campaign was a way to promote parenting values on the eve of the United Nations’ International Day of Families.

shared dad app

Given the masterpiece of a video (one person on Weibo jokingly called it a “refreshing, imaginative, magical piece of artwork”), who could really be frustrated with Oppein for faking the mini program? Well, lawyers for one. Some legal spoilsports say the scheme may have been against the law, and others aren’t too happy about being duped, taking to social media to lambast the company.

Still, some think the app and video cast light on the important issue of family values. For others just getting a kick out of the video was enough.

shared dad app china viral

To quote Oppein from one of their Weibo posts, “If there really was a shared dad renting platform, you could find the perfect dad closest to you with the click of a button; but they would never be a true substitute, because the world’s best dad will always be by your side.”

While that’s often not the case, the sentiment is very much endearing. They end with their slogan, “custom made love for the family.”

Andrew Little
    Andrew is a writer from Dallas, Texas, and currently based in Beijing as a RADII contributor. Contact him at [email protected]

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