Jim Higley watched the new Huggies commercial that puts the emphasis on dads. And it’s got his underwear in knots.
It’s been a long time since I’ve changed a diaper. It’s also been a long time since I’ve paid attention to anything about diapers. But a new television ad from Huggies recently caught my attention. And it looks like I’m not alone. Read on.
Wanna know what’s smellier than a stinky diaper?
Well, it looks like a lot of people think the answer to that question rests in Huggies newly launched ad campaign featuring the “Ultimate Test” – a group of dads who (presumably) don’t change diapers on a timely basis.
Here’s the video on Huggie’s Facebook page.
I saw this ad the other night for the first time. I actually had heard – months ago – that Huggies was kicking off a new “pro-dad” campaign in 2012. So my initial reaction, as I started focusing on the 30-second spot, was to start high-fiving the television screen. But my first reaction was more like a great big”ouch.” Something didn’t feel right. So I backed up the recorder to watch it again. Then again. Surely I was just missing something. Right? This is 2012.
I watched that commercial four or five times in a row to try to figure it out.
Ultimate test? That has the potential for funny.
Kids loaded up with a warm bottle right before a nap. Oh yeah. I get it. Funny. I’ll laugh.
But every time I rewatched the commercial, I swear that they were suggesting that the “Ultimate Test” wasn’t the set-up with the bottle right before nap time. Nope. They were saying that the “Ultimate Test” was Dad. Dear old dad.
And it was rubbing me the wrong way. But since I’m no longer a consumer of disposable diapers, I just brushed it off – thinking I must be the only guy on the planet who even noticed the commercial.
Huggies’ Ultimate Test
It seems to me that the real “Test” here – for the folks at Huggies – is how they are going to navigate through what clearly is a messy, stinky, dirty public relations mess. If you take a quick look through the campaign’s Facebook Page it’s pretty clear that a lot of parents noticed the commercial as well. I wasn’t alone. And most parents are not happy.
- “Right, Dads all idiots, thanks for the continuous stereotype that Dad’s can’t care for their children.”
- “Hey jerks – thanks for contributing to the perception that fathers are incompetent parents who let babies lay around in their own waste until they can be rescued…”
- “The narrow view of gender roles maintained and supported by Huggies (and ads, TV shows, etc. like this) hurts dads AND moms. We should all be free to fill our family roles in the way that makes sense based on our skills and interests, not on some antiquated, stereotypical gender binary.”
I’m gonna give Huggies some credit. For trying to get dads involved in a promotion is great. It’s long-overdue. But, as one of the commenters on Facebook pointed out, it sure doesn’t look like Huggies did any focus group testing on this campaign before they launched it. Looks to me like they’re the ones with leaky diapers. What a mess.
But the surprising thing is how they are handling it. They’re trying to put a positive spin on the campaign as bringing a focus on dads. Sorry. For me that comment’s dirtier than the diapers we’re talking about.
The Fix is Easy
I actually have a solution. (Note to Huggies: Let me know where to send my invoice for creative services.)
Do a redo of the commercial. Go ahead and keep the “Ultimate Test” theme. But make the idea of the “Ultimate Test” being a bunch of babies who just enjoyed a nice warm bottle before nap time. THAT’s the test.
Swap out a couple of those chairs with moms. So you’ve got a room full of moms and dads (collectively, we call them “Parents.”)
Relaunch the campaign with that. Parents. And don’t make a big deal about it including moms and dads. Let the picture speak for itself.
Get over the gender thing, will ya, Huggies?
Because, as best as I can tell from all the comments you’re ignoring on Facebook, most of us parents have been over the gender thing for years.