One of the more frustrating aspects of the last few days being this accidental activist has been the feeling of being completely ignored by the people who you are trying to engage.
I understand all of the issues involved, sure. Give us attention and you give our petition more legitimacy. And after the PR nightmare cause by the initial Huggies “background information” on their insulting ad campaign which made this so much worse, I understand not wanting to do that again.
But for a company that has made such a point of declaring how much they love dads and appreciate our equal parenting role, the silence has been rather deafening.
So when this was posted to the official Huggies Facebook page this afternoon it was very welcome:
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.
*Erik Seidel, VP Huggies Brand at Kimberly-Clark
This is great news, and I really appreciate they they are finally taking this seriously.
How in the world they went from the above stated goals to the finished product, I cannot imagine. But that their intentions were as stated? Okay, I’m willing to accept that.
It is over 15 hours later now, and their Facebook page still features the exact same “Nominate a Dad!” promotion on the front page (nominate for exactly what, no one has yet to figure out), and their profile photo is still that strangely smug dad (who weirdly looks to me like he has some sort of crazy hillbilly overbite if you stand back… or is it just me?) and a call to “Put them to the Dad Test!”
How hard is it to swap out your profile photo?
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how serious they are about fixing this. In the meantime, the petition continues.
I really wish I was heading to the Dad 2.0 Summit in Austin this weekend to ask them myself, as they are apparently sending a team to “engage” with the dadbloggers who are attending. Very interested to hear what goes on though.
After posting this, a new version of the “Nominate a Dad” promotion went live:
Better, definitely. At the very least it’s much clearer that the idea is supposed to be dads putting the diapers to the test, rather than the dads themselves being tested.
But there is still a very fundamental problem here, in the whole idea that dads test diapers in any way different than moms, whether better or worse. You want to know how a “seasoned diaper duty pro” dad changes diapers? Just like a “seasoned diaper duty pro” mom.
If this was an actual science experiment, that it was being done by dads is still the most important variable. The big question laid out to Huggies — why and how are dads a test? — remains unanswered.