Because I'm afraid I'll forget, I just have to spotlight one of the YouTube responses to this commercial which lets us know that Mr. Chapin's estate is very grateful that this song was used in this ad. Yes, I'm quite certain that Mr. Chapin's heirs appreciate the royalty money. Other than that, I'm not at all certain that Mr. Chapin would be thrilled to see his cloying tear-jerking mess of a song being used to pitch TD f--ing Ameritrade.
Now that that's out of the way, we see that this is one of those ads that has nothing to do with any product but instead is designed only to elicit feelings of warmth toward a particular company. "Awwww....look at that dad being involved with his kid! Awwww...I remember this song, which is about a father who neglected (worked for a living to keep a roof over his head) his kid! Awwww...the company that bought the rights to use this music must really, really love dads who really, really love their kids! I should invest with them, maybe!"
Oh seriously, gag me. This commercial features maybe ten three-second scenes from eighteen years of a father's life with his son, including baby-holding time that son will NOT remember or appreciate later. Are these three-second scenes representative of the guy's relationship with his son? Or are they the rare highlights of 18 years in which the dad was essentially absent (the rare highlights that this guy images reflect the kind of awesome dad he was/is, while if the son looked at this commercial would think "yeah, I guess that ten times over the course of 18 years, dad and I did stuff together, but what about the great majority of the time when he was nowhere to be seen?") Also, if this IS an accurate portrayal of his life as a father, so what? Being a father is Optional. This guy chose to be a father. He's just doing what decent fathers should do. This ad suggests that this guy should be up for a Nobel Prize because he held his son when he was a baby and played catch with him and took him out for a burger on occasion.
And finally...this is, in the end, a commercial for TDAmeritrade, a company which in all of it's other ads feature people staring at stock analyses on laptops and cellphones or sitting in coffee shops or "green rooms" chatting away with greasy analysts about how to spend more time obsessing over money. No kids to be seen, anywhere. So what's with the mixed messages? Are guys supposed to spend time with their kids, or are they supposed to be spending every waking moment manipulating their money? I know which one yanks the heartstrings, but I also know which one signs up the customers. Which is why this particular ad is the outlier.