There's no wrong way to have a family, and IKEA's latest ad totally gets it.
Breaking news everyone: Divorce happens.
While divorce rates in the U.S. are dropping (we can thank feminism, marriage equality, and true love for that), divorce is still a pretty common occurrence for couples and families around the world.
We're starting to talk about it more, too — at the dinner table, in stories about celebrity breakups and conscious uncouplings online, and in scripted and reality shows on every TV network, like Sarah Jessica Parker's new HBO show which is simply titled "Divorce."
This is important because marriages don't always make it, and it's a fact of life.
But real talk about divorce is still missing in one key arena: advertising.
Heartbroken dogs, death, and raising families are fair game. However, for most brands, divorce is just a bridge too far. But, luckily for us, and all families navigating this tricky transition, that's changing.
Enter Swedish furniture and meatball giant IKEA, who tackled the issue of divorce recently in a moving spot titled, "Every Other Week."
The ad shows a young boy packing his things to spend some time at his dad's place for the first time.
He grabs his belongings and travels across town to his dad's apartment.
And thanks to IKEA, we see that his room at his dad's apartment is just like his room at his mom's.
Showing separation and divorce in ads can really be this simple. It doesn't mean this child or every child of divorce has an easy or carefree life, but this ad works because it doesn't make divorce a sob-fest either. Commercials like this normalize what life is like for millions of families around the globe.
IKEA isn't the only company featuring a perfectly-imperfect family in their advertising.
Nabisco's Honey Maid brand dipped a toe in the water in 2014 with their documentary-like spots celebrating "the changing face of American families." (Upworthy gave them a shoutout for their LGBT ad from the same campaign.)
The two-minute commercial showcased Isaac, a real child talking about his big beautiful blended family ... and eating graham crackers. (After all, they're still trying to sell products.)
The onscreen caption reads, "No matter how families change, what makes them wholesome never will." Here, here! Pass the marshmallows.
This representation matters because these families aren't necessarily broken, and they're not damaged either. They're just families.
With the divorce rate in the U.S. still hovering around 50% and 4 in 10 marriages being remarriages for one or both lovebirds, it's high time we see more families like these on the big screen.
Because families now look different from how they did 50, 20, or even five years ago. Families are going through divorce, or they're blended, or led by grandparents, foster parents, gay couples, or single people. And brands and companies should celebrate this positive shift, not shy away from it.
Watch IKEA's heartwarming "Every Other Week," in its entirety.
It's the first video in a series of nine for their "Where Life Happens" campaign.