If you haven’t seen it yet, you will soon. German lotion maker Nivea has commissioned an ad already being called 2016’s dumbest — a commercial that features a seagull squirting sunscreen on kids from way up in the air.
Yes, it looks like the seagull is pooping on the children:
Why would anyone think this is a good idea? Ah, well… we can only imagine they’ve been driven to the brink of complete desperation by having to contend with the reality that is actually trying to protect a small child from being fried by the sun.
There are a thousand and one things to love about summer, but let’s face it, kids manage to make you feel like you’re wielding a weapon of mass destruction and not a small tube of liquid designed to save them from the horrors of skin cancer. For those puzzled by the Nivea commercial, let us present to you what really happens when you try to put sunscreen on a child:
Step 1: Assess your target.
Give your child the once over like a doctor examining his subject: How many tantrums have there been this morning? Is the subject calm? Hungry? Thirsty? Can you approach them with the idea of heading out to the pool without being reproached?
Step 2: The sneak attack.
Channel your inner ninja to glide up behind your child and try to wax on, wax off the sunscreen before they have time to figure out what’s going on. When they try to stop you, announce that you’re going to the pool in your best “I’m-a-super-caffeinated-host-of-a-kid’s-show” voice. When they slowly back away wide-eyed, stop and reassess.
More: Toddler’s burn raises warning that metal slides aren’t the only summer danger
Step 3: The distraction.
Hand over your unlocked phone in an effort to focus your child’s attention on something other than the lotion. Manage to get one arm sufficiently covered before your child squirms behind the couch. You’d text your partner for backup, but the pint-sized genius still has your phone.
Step 4: The bribe.
While you may not brag about it to your mom friends on Facebook, from time to time we all have to compromise with our kids to accomplish a goal. Since precious daylight is wasting away, you decide to speed negotiations along by skipping over the offer of a banana nut muffin and go straight to the good stuff: Three Double Stuf Oreos if she’ll let you finish. You manage to get the other arm, back, chest and torso coated before you run out of chocolate ammo.
Step 5: Intermission.
In your frustration, you wiped your hair off your brow and accidentally got some sunscreen in your eye. You abandon the project temporarily while you run to the kitchen sink to rinse out your eye and treat yourself to a well-deserved cookie.
Step 6: The idle threat.
Tell your child that if they don’t want to wear sunscreen, then fine, you’ll just stay home instead of going swimming. Practice your yoga breathing when they shrug and tell you they don’t care.
Step 7: Regaining the upper hand.
Renew your child’s interest in venturing outdoors by telling them if you stay home there will be no screen time, and take your phone back to drive the point home. Marvel at your stellar parenting skills while you apply sunscreen to your child’s legs and feet.
Step 8: Lead by example.
When your child balks at the idea of applying sunscreen to their face, you take the opportunity to show them how it’s done and coat your own body is SPF. In your effort to hurry, you accidentally get sunscreen in your other eye. Repeat step 5.
Step 9: The ambush.
Pull out all the stops in an effort to complete your sunscreen mission — screen time, snacks, the promise of a puppy, whatever it takes to get the job done. You swipe every inch of their face you can in the 30 seconds they let you touch them, then vow to make them wear a hat just in case you missed some spots.
Step 10: Finally go outside.
At long last, you grab your towels and head out for the pool, hoping that you can get some decent swim time before those predicted afternoon showers show up to ruin your fun.
Wait… Was that a raindrop?
Originally published July. 2015. Updated July 2016.