In what Advertising Age called a "poop-storm," Huggies ran a campaign called a "Dad Test." Described in the promotional video, Huggies promises "to prove Huggies diapers and wipes can withstand anything...put them to the toughest test imaginable: dads, alone with their babies in one house for five days, while we gave their moms some well-deserved time off."
Reactions to the campaign were mixed, with many feeling that the ad insults dads, 32% of whom are primary caregivers.
Huggies maker Kimberly-Clark responded to the controversy:
"We have heard the feedback from dads concerning our current 'real life' dad commercials. We recognize that we need to do a better job communicating the campaign's overall message. The 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 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, the Huggies brand is learning and listening, and, because of the responses we have received, are making changes to ensure that the true spirit of the campaign comes through in the strongest way possible.
"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 the Huggies brand online communications."
Huggies has changed its approach and now encourages people to nominate great dads for a chance to win Huggies products.
- Do you find the original Huggies ad offensive, funny, or something else? Do you understand the backlash, or do you think dads are over-reacting?
- How do you assess Kimberly-Clark's response? What are the most and least convincing arguments?
- How successful is the revised approach? Will this satisfy those who were offended by the original ad?