Anyone who knows me, knows that I love being a dad and hate when any company marginalizes the role of dads in the parenting equation. The old stereotypes of the bumbling father who doesn’t know what to do with their kids have got to go.
So, a few weeks back when Huggies launched a new campaign that focused on “putting dads to the test” I wasn’t a fan of it.
They had a television commercial (since pulled) that first got people bent out of shape. I personally didn’t mind the commercial, but understood that they blew it on the copy. Instead of saying that they were putting the diapers to the test it implied that the dads were the ones being tested.
What got me was on their Facebook page they were giving money to moms for inspiring ideas and at the same time picking on dads who needed to be put to the test as a parent. It was the same stereotypes that I hate. I left them a note on their wall sharing my thoughts and then figured I was done with it. My kids are no longer in diapers and we were always a Pampers family so I didn’t really care if Huggies wanted to be a short sighted clueless company.
I figured this was the end of the whole thing for me, but boy was I wrong!
I was scheduled to take the stage at the Dad 2.0 Summit when I got an e-mail from Huggies’ agency Edelman asking if I’d be willing to sit down and talk to representatives from the brand about the situation. I was shocked and skeptical of what they were trying to do. I had never seen any response to mine or many of the comments left on their wall, but since it was obvious they were trying I wanted to give them a chance.
We sat down and chatted about the campaign. Kevin from Huggies came right out and said sorry the minute we sat down. He insisted that they never meant to pick on dads and admitted that the choice of wording was a miss step on their part and that they were pulling the ads and tweaking them. They were also going to go back and change the language throughout the campaign to make sure that it was always their products being put to the test and not the fathers.
The conversation was really good and I have to applaud them for stepping up like this. Big kudos to Edelman as well, because I know from my agency days how often you know what is the right thing to do, but clients don’t always listen and in this case they did.
These guys got on planes at the last minute and came to a conference to talk to the audience they offended. They didn’t hide behind an online post or e-mails. They did the harder thing and faced the issue head on. Way to go!
One bit of the conversation I had with them has lead to the video below that Digital Dads has the exclusive premiere of.
They mentioned to me that the men in the commercials were actual dads with their kids. I encouraged them to spotlight this and make a point of saying that because it makes everything they say a bit more genuine. So while this won’t be showing on television anytime soon, they are going to be pushing it out on other channels.
Anyone else find the awesome irony in the subject of this video? I nearly fell on the floor laughing when they sent it to me. I wonder what sauce they used *laugh*
In conclusion, what every brand should learn from this is that we all make mistakes and when they happen you need to own them and address them. In today’s social and connected world you can’t go silent and hide from mistakes. Saying sorry is not easy for anyone and when you are a multi-million dollar brand it is harder, but you still have to do it.
Huggies, thank you for stepping up and being responsible and hearing from our community. While I don’t need your products in my life anymore, I have more respect for you than I did before this whole campaign started! Way to go!