Huggies Pulls Ads After Dads Insulted
Dads complain. Huggies listens.
The diaper company changed its "Have Dad Put Huggies To The Test" campaign after the controversial commercials depicting dads as inattentive caregivers sparked outrage - among dads.
Last week, Huggies posted several videos to their Facebook page as a part of a campaign "to demonstrate the performance of our Huggies diapers and baby wipes in real life situations."
The commercials showed dads so consumed by sports on TV that they neglected to tend to the full diapers on their babies.
In the ads, a voice-over explains that the company put the diapers to the test "to prove that Huggies diapers and wipes can handle anything."
But some dads saw things differently. "Dads were being put to the test, not the diapers," said Chris Routly, a full-time stay-at-home father from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. "I was disappointed; they tried to do right by dads, but played up the stereotype while claiming to celebrate fatherhood."
Routly, the father of two sons, ages 1 and 3, decided to express his disappointment with Kimberly-Clark, maker of Huggies, on his blog, " The Daddy Doctrines."
The feedback from his post led the father of two to start a "We're Dads, Huggies. Not Dummies" petition, receiving more than 1,000 signatures in less than a week.
Routly's petition, along with blogs by other upset dads, including Jim Higley who writes The Bobblehead Dad, gained the attention of Huggies and its parent company.
"We have heard the feedback from dads concerning our current 'real life' dad commercials," said Joey Mooring, spokesperson for Kimberly-Clark and the Huggies brand, in a statement. "We recognize our intended message did not come through and that we need to do a better job communicating the campaign's overall message."
Routly was one of several dads the company decided to approach for feedback.
"We have listened and learned," Mooring wrote.
"The company has already made changes to the campaign "to better reflect the true spirit of the campaign - putting the performance of Huggies diapers and baby wipes to the test," the statement said.
The videos have been taken off Huggies' Facebook page and replaced with ads showing attentive dads tending to their babies during nap time. Huggies plans to continue to revise the TV ads to clearly communicate the message.
"We also realize that a fact of life is that dads care for their kids just as much as moms do and in some cases are the only caregivers," Mooring adds, "The intention of our Huggies TV ad was to illustrate that dads have an opinion on product performance just as much as moms do."
As for stay-at-home dad Routly, he's pleased with Huggies' response to his petition.
"I'm happy and appreciative because Huggies proved they are serious about showing the importance of dads and are helping change the stereotypes to show dads in the best way," he said.