Friday, April 20, 2012
The Ultimate Test
You might have seen the latest ad campaign for Huggies popping up on TV lately - "have dads put Huggies to the ultimate test." If you haven't the commercials involve a group of dads taking care of their babies, doing things that might push diaper-filling or cleanliness to the extreme, to test the durability of Huggies diapers and wipes. For example:
While I think it's great that these advertisements for childcare products actually have men in them, and the current ads are only subliminally sexist, the first round of the campaign, which was pulled quite quickly due to backlash from a lot of parents, apparently started off extremely sexist and depicted a bunch of dads in a room with their babies, watching sports while the diapers filled unnoticed. Thus, the original "ultimate test" for Huggies was supposed to be the dads themselves, not just making a mess and having dads clean it up.
I don't need to spend time ranting about this because if you want to read a bunch of rants about it, just Google "Huggies ultimate test dads" or something and you'll find many blog posts like the one linked above. The interesting thing about this story though, was that Huggies changed their campaign and made it less sexist not because the dads complained, but because it also offended moms. And because women control most household spending, Huggies straight up admitted that they don't care what dads think, but if moms don't want dads being insulted then the moms get what they want because they buy the products. Sort of weird - but I guess that's economics. Although one has to wonder if there were more ads out there for household products that were more gender-neutral if those stats would change. It's worked with technology, so why couldn't it work with things like bandages and cough syrup and diapers?
On a lighter note though, is that honestly dads are SO FAR from the "ultimate" test for diapers, amiright! Huggies wanted a funny ad campaign showing someone who doesn't normally care for kids "testing" their products to their limits - but I can think of a ton of different things other than dads that would have been funnier. Toddlers, robots, animals - you name it.
"We put Huggies to the ultimate test: DOGS."
"Okay Barky Von Schnauser, there's a frozen pizza in the fridge for dinner, mashed sweet potatoes for Billy on the counter, and I think you've got the hang of how to use the digital cable! Here's the number for the restaurant and we'll call in an hour just to check up on Billy!"
Then show a montage of Barky carrying a diaper to the garbage in his teeth, feeding Billy sweet potatoes out of a dog bowl, but then using Huggies wipes for all of the messes, you know, typical dog-babysitter stuff.
However, imagine the backlash from that one. "OMG DOGS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO BABYSIT we are suing Huggies for promoting neglect."
I have to say, I'm pretty glad I didn't stick with my first career choice out of high school (marketing) because I think considering all this stuff on a daily basis would have driven me nuts.