Huggies Retools ‘Dads Are Dummies’ Ad Campaign
In the last few weeks, Huggies has weathered a firestorm of criticism for its “Dads are the ultimate test” ad campaign. The campaign, in which fathers were depicted as being frazzled and barely competent to hold a baby much less raise one, has been pulled and reworked to take into account the not-so-new reality that men are active participants in child rearing doodies (see what I did there?)
The Huggies Facebook page reflects this new found respect for dads:
We’ve heard the feedback from moms and dads alike regarding our recent ads, so we’ve taken steps to immediately update our TV advertising, Facebook page and online advertising. Updated TV ads will begin running on March 26th. 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; we are working to communicate that more thoroughly. Thanks for the continued dialogue.
The Washington Post reports:
“We heard their comments and have made changes,” Joey Mooring, the spokesman for Kimberly-Clark, the company that owns Huggies, wrote me. (Janice D’Arcy)
Mooring said his team has been watching the reaction closely. After the backlash he went to the Dad Summit 2.0, a conference in Austin this past weekend, to talk with the audience that Huggies enraged.
“The intention was not to pick fun at dads, but only feature real dads, with their own babies in real life situations putting our Huggies diapers and baby wipes to the test,” Mooring said. “We have learned that our intended message did not come through and we have made changes.”
That’s one way of putting it. Another would be that Huggies was still advertising to women and playing on demeaning stereotypes in much the same way beer commercials still appeal to arrested development cases by flashing cleavage. Shockingly, women drink beer, too but you wouldn’t know it from the ads. Full disclosure: I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, boobs have nothing to do with my choice. Grow up, my marketing friends…
The new campaign will portray fathers not as rattled twits but as confident parents easily handling the role of caregiver. Welcome to the 21st century, Huggies! It only took you twelve years.