Last week, I wrote about the controversy triggered when Huggies rolled out its “Dad Test” advertisements. The ads traded on a throwback stereotype, suggesting that Huggies diapers are of such quality that they could withstand the neglect of a father.
Daddy bloggers blasted the company and one father, Chris Routly of Pennsylvania, launched a Change.org petition titled “We’re Dads, Huggies. Not Dummies.” It quickly drew more than a thousand signatures.
“We heard their comments and have made changes,” Joey Mooring, the spokesman for Kimberly-Clark, the company that owns Huggies, wrote me.
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.”
This week, Huggies will release a revamped ad that shows a group of confident fathers carrying their babies in carriers together. They also replaced the most egregious ad, which showed dads watching a game with their babies, with an image of fathers napping with their kids. Also, the Huggies Facebook page has been updated.
Instead of featuring the image of an exasperated father wearing a suit, the page now shows a virile looking man, wearing jeans and a T-shirt, his chin jutted out confidently, one arm expertly cradling a happy baby.
“We respect the job that all parents do in helping to raise and care for their children. We also recognize that Dad is playing a larger role in the family and deserves to be celebrated,” Mooring said.
The changes were welcomed by Routly. “I am incredibly happy to report to you that the people at Huggies/Kimberly-Clark have heard your voices, and are responding in real, impactful ways,” he wrote on his blog Daddy Doctrines.
“Victory,” he wrote. “and a happy ending to this chapter.”
What do you think? Are the changes enough to confront the tired cliche of incompetent dads?