Among the weary and cynical, Father's Day is one of those American traditions sometimes called Hallmark Holidays. The term refers to holidays and celebrations that are primarily commercial in nature. They exist so that people will feel obligated to buy gifts for other people. Think Sweetest Day, Grandparent's Day or Secretaries' Day (now called Administrative Professionals' Day, thank you very much.)
In the United States, Father's Day is believed to have originated as response to Mother's Day, a holiday that itself began earnestly enough as a way to honor those who had lost children to war. But by the 1930s, both Mother's Day and Father's Day had become thoroughly commercialized, promoted by the greeting card industry and groups like the New York Associated Men's Wear Retailers.
In fact, many enduring traditions actually have their origins in the boardrooms and marketing departments of America. Here's a sampling.