Date: March 13, 2012
Are you tired of ads that show dads as incompetent bumbling idiots where it comes to caring for babies? They hit a nerve with me. All of the men in my family are skilled and loving caregivers, and I find these ads insulting.
One dad recently was so incensed by a Huggies TV campaign that showed dads as being the "toughest test imaginable" for diapers—one ad even showed a dad too busy watching sports TV to change a soiled diaper until after the game—that he launched a petition on change.com. Kimberly-Clark, which markets Huggies, responded quickly by contacting the full-time stay-at-home dad about his concerns, removing the offensive ad and replacing it with one that shows fathers with their napping babies. Starting this week, Huggies will have a new TV spot featuring real fathers out and about with their babies as a way of showing the diapers hold up well, and Huggies/Kimberly-Clark is moving to revise of all its "bad-dad" stereotyping TV copy. Huggies has also launched an incentive to reward Facebook fans who nominate a Dad.
The move came after more than 1,000 people signed the petition by Chris Routly, who has two children in diapers and lives in Breinigsville, Penn. The petition is now closed, and Chris says he is "particularly happy" that Huggies is "spending significant time and resources to actually change the current ads."
It's interesting that one dad and his following on change.com may have liberated the creators of the Huggies ads, who, sitting behind their desks at work, felt pressured to promote "dummy dad" stereotypes. As Chris writes, "I am convinced that most of the people behind these ads are real moms and dads like you and I, who truly wish to see involved, active dads lifted up and encouraged, not torn down. They made mistakes. But I believe that they are truly committed to engaging with dads in a respectful way, and I look forward to seeing that continue, and to grow."
Me too! The Census Bureau reports that one-third of fathers with working wives regularly care for their children, so it's about time that ads featuring dads reflect reality.