By now brands should know to avoid mocking parenting ability, regardless of whether it’s a mom or dad. Even it’s meant in jest, the ad will offend someone, and that someone probably has a blog and definitely has access to a Change.org petition.
Just ask Ragu
, which offended dads with a campaign last year suggesting they can’t cook. It’s a campaign Huggies should have paid attention to. This week, it felt the backlash after posting a video to Facebook for its “Dad Test” campaign, which evaluates the strength of a diaper after a baby’s been alone with papa for five days.
Fathers are lousy at changing diapers. Get it?
Parents weren’t amused. Dad bloggers spoke out
; the Huggies Facebook page
was overrun with negative comments, and a Change.org petition launched
. By Thursday, Huggies, which is owned by Kimberly-Clark Corp., removed the video and manned up to its mistake.
In a Facebook update
, the company said:
“Hi, I’m Erik and 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.”
As expected, the backlash against the backlash has begun. A post
on Huggies’ Facebook page this morning said:
“It really aggravates me AND my son's father that the backlash from the ad keeps being perpetuated by offended dads. The company tried to have a sense of humor about something and now they're being ripped a new one- they've apologized, what else do you want?”
That’s right; you can’t win, but you have to keep playing.