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For a change, dads are upset with HuggiesMarch 11, 2012 @ 5:27 pm (Updated: 5:29 pm - 3/11/12 )
How many times have you seen the image of a clueless, clumsy, bumbling, fumbling dad?
It's a classic media stereotype in comic strips, TV shows, movies and commercials. But, it's no longer featured in a Huggies ad.
Huggies, a popular diaper brand, is being criticized for its campaign "Dad Test."
Here's the concept with a series of advertisements, which have now been pulled from Facebook:
"To prove Huggies diapers can handle anything, we put them to the toughest test imaginable - Dads, alone with their babies in one house for five days while we gave moms some well-deserved time off. How did Huggies products hold up to Daddyhood? The world is about to find out."
Huggies found out that fathers don't like being portrayed as guys who've never changed diapers, don't know how to feed a child, and are generally detached parents.
"This minimization and emasculation of men, mocking us as incompetent parents, is a stereotype I take particular offense to. Men have been written off as the 'inferior parent' for way too long and it's commercials like these that reinforce that message in our culture. Men are by and large ignored by the baby product industry when we should instead be the focus of some heavy attention," says Ryan Hauck. "I can take care of my three boys by myself quite competently, thank you. Believe it or not, I can even make sure they're dressed and fed and have on clean underclothes every single day. And I can most assuredly do it without using Huggies."
"I Was watching a hockey game last night. Tracked three ads. Two of them had the man-as-idiot theme, one with the obligatory superior, sophisticated women frowning upon the idiot man," says Paul Krill.
"Can you imagine if GM ran an ad talking about how their new cars had scratch resistant panels so that even the viewer's stereotypicaly vapid wife can't screw it up too badly when she inevitably wrecks it?" Chris Thomas says, "Seriously, Kimberly Clark, this is how you're going to do business? I'm a father of two and a stockholder and this makes me want to go out and buy a box of Pampers. Way to go.
Others weren't as offended. Daniel Freeman says, "I'm not quite at the level of uproar...but as a father of two I certainly don't feel 'celebrated.'"
After hundreds of complaints online, Huggies pulled its ads from Facebook and replaced it with a contest for dads. The company also posted an explanation/apology.
"I am responsible for the Huggies advertising you are seeing. We have read your feedback on our Dad commercials and, as a father of three young children, I recognize that we need to do a better job communicating the campaign's message. Our singular goal with this campaign was to demonstrate the performance of our products in real life situations because we know real life is what matters most to Moms and Dads.
A fact of real life is that dads care for their kids just as much as moms do and in some cases are the only caregivers. We intended to break out of stereotypes by showing that Dads have an opinion on product performance just as much as moms do.
That said, we’re learning and listening, and, because of your response, are making changes to ensure that the true spirit of the campaign comes through in the strongest way possible. For instance, we have already replaced our initial TV ad with a new one that more clearly communicates our true intent; and are in the process of revising the wording of our online communications. We appreciate the honest feedback and look forward to the continued discussion on the brand."
Dads, your call. Are you tired of being stereotyped as the dopey parent, or are the fathers being too sensitive?
By Linda Thomas
Photo, screen grab from Huggies "Dad Test" commercial
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