Huggies Ad Backlash Sweeps Web As Angry Dads Protest

    March 15, 2012
    Amanda Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

A recent Huggies ad campaign has many fathers angry at what they say is a depiction of dads as “bumbling idiots” rather than active parents.

The ad, which urges consumers to “Put dad to the test”, shows a group of dads who are so preoccupied with watching sports that they forget to change their babies’ diapers. The intended message, according to a Kimberly-Clarke spokesperson, is to “demonstrate the performance of our Huggies diapers and baby wipes in real life situations” rather than make fun of men’s childrearing abilities or to draw on stereotypes.

Many fathers don’t see it that way, however, and an online petition has been created to get Huggies to stop airing the commercial, although the company claims changes have already been made to the ad.

As one father told CBS recently, it seems like something we might have seen 30 years ago rather than in modern times, when fathers are stepping into bigger caregiver roles than ever before.

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Huggies has taken to social media to defend themselves, especially after commenters on Facebook expressed their disgust with the ads.

“Your ad campaign disgusts me,” wrote James Garcia. “My wife and I share the responsibilities of the house. I cook, grocery shop, clean, and we take care of our daughter equally. At times I have been at home with my daughter more than my wife has been, after she had to return to work and I had a lot of time off. It is insulting to all fathers to portray us as a bunch of bumbling idiots.”

This is a topic I could write about for days, as it seems to me that commercials and ads are always portraying outdated gender roles and stereotypes. Carl’s Jr. uses sex to sell hamburgers. Men are either sexist or clueless (or a combination of both) and women are either shrews or sex objects. Worse is when an ad has a mix of all those things, which frankly seems to be the norm these days. Ad companies seem to be holding onto the belief that what’s worked in the past will work forever. Consumers are wising up to their tactics, and this latest faux-pas is just an example of how far companies will go to market their product. We can only hope that they’ll wise up and stop using antiquated methods, especially in the wake of so much backlash.

  • Havesomesense

    If the fathers have a problem with this ad, maybe they should be better parents. There are so many dads who would rather do ANYTHING else than change a diaper, particularly a diaper that contains more than just urine. This ad shows a scene that occurs all the time. They just got called out on it and feel stupid, as they should. They should be thankful they were included at all considering how many men father children and don’t stick around. Stop crying you big babies!!!!

    • Michael

      I know of some women that are pretty poor excuses for a parent as well. The ad don’t bother me as much as your prejudice statement. It sounds like you picked a bad dad or had a bad dad. Doesn’t mean that all are this way. My wife had 2 children by a POS but, I stepped up to fill the void. Sounds like women need to quit spreading their legs to just any POS they come across as well.

      • K

        The ad is an ACCURATE portrayal of 100% of all dads I have ever seen. True not all mothers are noteworthy too but in general I think it is cute, it is accurate, and men need to greatly improve their attitude as well as their skills.

        • monie

          I have to say that this us my experience, as well. Although, I do believe that the number of moron dad’s is low…they’re giving the rest if you a bad name.
          ! Kinda like when men say all women are b*tches……

  • ncgassett

    I thought it was funny! I am a father of a 6 year old and have one on the way. To all the dads that took offense to THAT no to get a sense of humor or some thicker skin.

  • mykidsdad

    @Havesomesense — Not all men are like your “babydaddy” that obviously hooked up with you and left beacuse you were throwing your stuff around to whoever wanted it and not using protection, or teh one that just couldn’t stand to be around such a bizznitch and left whichever the case was. Just because you chose your mate poorly (or more than likely tried to trap a man that just ran off to get away from you) don’t for a minute think that all men are like the one you were with.

    • Susan

      Why make the woman the guilty party? Was the man involved not just as careless? You are sexist and your wife, if you have one, is probably disgusted by you.

      • super dad

        He made the both the guilty party when he said “Not all men are like your ‘babydaddy'” and “don’t for a minute think that all men are like the one you were with.”

        If you weren’t blinded by being so sexist you would have seen that. Your husband, if you have one, is probably disgusted by you.

        • Susan

          “throwing your stuff around to whoever wanted it and not using protection” was aimed at women only. The comment that any man would be disgusted by my statement makes zero sense, whereas many women would be disgusted by his statment. That was a nice try though.

  • thinker89

    I wonder why the didnt speak up when only mothers were shown taking care of babies.

    • Missy


  • http://www.MyPartTimeJob.org Keith

    What a bunch of cry babies. Get over yourselves.

  • ashley ellis

    My husband was like the ones in the above ad. While he was at home laid off with them he would forget to change them all the time. Our kids are toddlers, so they only need pull ups when sleeping. Sadly, one time he even forgot to put pull ups on at bedtime. Dont know why he did it, lack of sleep or just lack of concentration.

  • Sam

    I love when “adults” use name calling and bashing as a way to respond to an article about diapers. It’s ridiculous, and so is the huggies commercial!

  • mykidsdad

    @thinker89 — “why didn’t speak up when only mothers were shown..” I don’t know why didnt YOU speak up? It is fathers speaking up now about the way they are shown in these ads if you have a problem with the ads showing women then you should speak up about them, not just chime in when the men are defending fathers.

    • Susan

      You misunderstood what she meant. You are extremely clueless.

  • bud

    I dont know why these guys are takeing offense to the commercial. If they pay attention, at the end of the commercial the fathers are takeing care of and holding the child. But when someone sees something they think is offensive is probably becouse, they are feeling guilty becouse they have been there. It is only offensive to the offensive mind.

  • Wendy K

    I actually loved this commercial. I thought both that I’ve seen with the dads (nap time version and the game day version) were precious. I thought it showed loving dads getting another wonderful chance to spend time with babies they obviously were showering with love. I’m sorry it offended some fathers out there. I’m guessing it’s another one of those things someone was overly sensitive about. It’s a shame when a sweet commercial gets a bad rap.

    • Heather

      Amen to ur comment Wendy. I thought both commercials were also very sweet. The commercial isn’t about the fathers lacking to take care of their kids, its about leak protection. Plain and simple. The only men who would be offended by that commercial are the ones who actually don’t take care of their kids. If you notice the men on here who are real fathers just laughed it off and thought it was funny. People need to lighten up and stop making such a big deal about every little thing. Ya’ll are gonna have heart attacks. Its a commercial, there’s plenty of other things in this world to get stressed about. Get over it. If it really bothered you that much and you guys really think you are super-dads, try asking ur wives and see what they say.

  • Nick

    Man, talk about some sensitive men! Grow a pair you sissies… That’s what’s wrong with America, everybody is so sensitive….

    • Sarah

      HAHAHAHA. Damn nick, you single??? We need more men like you.

  • amanda

    Can’t these guys take a joke? Commercials are often parody. That’s why we all wait for the super bowl commercials, because we know we will get a laugh. Women don’t wash cars and eat hamburgers in their bikinis or fantasize about our plumbers “flushing our pipes” but these commercials are entertaining. Maybe these daddys need to lighten up.

  • Dads Rule

    SuperDad you make soooo much sense. You win my vote!
    I grew up with a dad that left when I was 18. Dads still rule! This commercial was funny. Huggies was NOT trying to hurt anyone! That was NOT their intention! Geesh!!

  • cb

    Amanda, we can take jokes… but it seems like we’re always the butt of jokes. Seldom do we get the recognition that moms do… even when we’re doing the same job. For example: I’m a stay-at-home dad… I take care of my kids (ages 3 & 6), as well at babysit a friends kids (ages 1 and 2) from 7:30-5 everyday. I do the cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, diaper duty, etc… yet people still assume that because I’m a male… I don’t know much about raising kids. Had a lady ask me today if I was “off today”, because I was out with the kids doing errands.

    • Missy

      I can see what you mean. Women in the workplace get so much recognition for doing the same jobs that men do. In fact, we are recognized so much that we are often overlooked for raises (even equal pay), promotions, business trips and other perks, just because of our gender. This comment is hilarious, because it is the flip side of what women have been dealing with for generations. My husband is a great dad, and I am a SAHM, and we both thought the commercial was funny and cute. He also finds it funny when people make snarky comments when he is out alone with the kids. A little confidence does wonders for one’s sense of humor.

  • De C

    Men act like women nowadays.

  • Jackson

    The dumbing down of men in general (especially white men) in advertising is rampant. The woman or the child always has the answer and the man is left looking stupid. Just an observation…

    • Wentra

      Unfortunately, that is usually the case in my household, as my husband really views his role in the family as the one who needs care, attention and catering, so therefore does not take charge of anything or use his brain half the time. Many of my friends also have the same complaint about their husbands.

  • Sarah

    The ad was no more or less offensive than those that show women being nagging bitches. I had a friend that used to hate shows like Everyone Love Raymond and Malcolm in the Middle because she said they make the moms always look like annoying, nagging bitches and the dads like bumbling idiots. It’s just a oversimplification of a stereotype, but I don’t think the ad, or the shows, were looking to offend. I think this may just be the first time for most men to have to experience it. Sadly for most women we experience it our whole lives and become desensitized to it.

    • Missy


  • Chris

    This is the best article I have read in a while. The last paragraph, especially, is genius because it is something I and millions of people have been thinking for some time: commercials are filled with nothing but sheer hatred and bigotry. The morons behind these commercials need to be take out and shot. Good riddance to these loser scumbags who are out of touch with today’s world. They need to go back to their caves.

    This is the BEST: This is a topic I could write about for days, as it seems to me that commercials and ads are always portraying outdated gender roles and stereotypes. Carl’s Jr. uses sex to sell hamburgers. Men are either sexist or clueless (or a combination of both) and women are either shrews or sex objects. Worse is when an ad has a mix of all those things, which frankly seems to be the norm these days. Ad companies seem to be holding onto the belief that what’s worked in the past will work forever. Consumers are wising up to their tactics, and this latest faux-pas is just an example of how far companies will go to market their product.

  • http://Yahoo John Balek

    I just wish people would be less “thin skinned”. We worry more about making our children “mamby pamby”. Forget political correctness, for there will NEVER be correctness in politics. Quit your whining and get back to things that are real. When kids play sports and there are “no winners or losers”, what message are the kids getting, besides the lack of drive to win? When students are allowed to bring calculators into the school, how can children figure out life’s problems when they can’t figure out math problems? This country it way too worried about hurting others feelings. Get real. Feelings will ALWAYS be hurt, so let’s make men out of boys and ladies out of the girls. Bring back the draft, no college deferrments, and you’ll see a generation (reborn) who KNOWS the price of freedom. When teachers are more worried over contract negotiations than the love of their job, then there is something wrong with that too. I could go on and on, but “Generation X” (and beyond) are raising sissy kids instead of intense, behaved children. OK….I’m done. A country of pansies…….Kruschev was correct when he addressed the United Nations and stated this to the United States: “We will conquor you”. With generations of “Pansies”, I’m afraid, after the recent elections in Russia, he may be closer to correct than we realize.

    • Not-too-old

      Wow, you nailed it! I was out shopping with my niece last Christmas time. Gave her a budget. I added things up and told her how much she had left and she asked me how I knew! HELLO! I told her your brain does everything a calculator does, only the calculator is faster. That’s what it was designed for, speed, not a crutch. We’re dumbing down our kids. I work with 3 girls who are going to college to get their masters degrees. I asked in what subject. The reply was the same, “It doesn’t matter, I just need the paper.” In 20 years these idiots will be raising more idiots.

  • Is there still Common Sense?

    I have a idea, men can stop portraying women as only sex objects or in the roll of a mother in a commercial. And women in return will stop portraying you as stupid, lazy, sloppy and inept. That seems like a fair trade. You don’t need a woman in a bikini to sell you beer or a hamburger and I don’t need a inept dad to sell me a diaper. When your willing to give that up I will be willing to give up a little comedy in my diaper commercials!

    • david morris

      no thanks (‘is there common sense’ poster) my stereotype is just fine because I know im not “that guy” but ill take the hot women any day in ads , whats wrong with beauty even if there are no brains (I’m not going to marry them). if seeing women bothers you in ads,……well, you probably arent much to look at it. care about something that is important. not commercials for gods sake.

  • Tamma

    Yeah alright…The Men Are Finally Speaking Up!

  • david morris

    as an adult male in my early 40’s (with children)I can say the “men” who are upset by this do not represent the vast majority. get a life fellas, you only show your thin skin when you even react to a…..comercial? go cook me dinner.
    I will add that this “article” is probbaly propaganda, the aleged ‘petition’ probably has 150 names on it. if there is more, i am giving up my man card. you are not an adult if somehting like this bothers you. good luck1!

  • Not-too-old

    What a hoot! The worst thing these complaining dads have going for them is no sense of humor! My brother diapered all his kids from the day they came home. My husband couldn’t figure it out no how no way, his hands were too big. He was always afraid he’s “break the baby.” Men have different skill sets just like women. But just spending time with Dad, doing Dad things is all a baby sees. So what if they’re watching sports. It’s better than being ignored. :)

  • trainedtobeyoung

    The problem is that not all males are “Men” it is tough to be a “Man” and its easy to be a “Guy.” Guys are taught early on that it is acceptable by social standards and media that it is okay to be child-like, a lot of us were never taught what being a man was about. Many are raised to only believe in sports, video games, and some are even blatant “mommas boys.” But when a guy decides that he wants to become a man and he sees that his attempts aren’t even respected, In fact made fun-of, I think that it is alright to be offended! Males are raised to be young and then made fun of as adults to for being child like. If there is anything a Man wants and desires it is to be appreciated and respected. So to all those attempting to go against the “social norm” and become a Man and an even better father, Props to you! If you have a son, teach them what it means to be a man and defeat the stereotype

  • Glen Williams

    These responses blow my mind.
    Just because you can sight examples of men that fit the bill gives companies the right to stereotype all males in this fashion?
    I can give you plenty of real life examples of stupid blonde bimbo women that can barely tie their own shoe laces but does that give me the right to portray them as the norm in a commercial in order to sell a product…women would be marching in the streets and rightly so.
    You don’t lead young men or women into responsible roles in life by serving up the worst as the accepted norm in the media for our comedic indulgence.
    This is no different than the past and present problems with stereotypes of blacks,womens,gays etc. etc. by the media.
    The only reason the media has blatantly got away with this for so long is that they know that men are not organized like women or minorities groups. In addition, they also realize that claims of “we’re being picked on” would be quickly be attacked by both men and women. Men who are so insecure with their manhood that even some other man’s claims of being harmed is an afront on their own fragile manhood and by those women who seem to have lost all understanding of what the women’s rights movement really fought for this past century.
    To say guys can’t enjoy guy stuff and also be an involved Dad is just a crock, all the Dad’s I know are as competent as their female counterparts. There’s bad Dads and there’s bad Moms and someone saying that because they feel 15% or 20% or whatever percent more men are bad then good parents gives us the right to celebrate that depiction in the media is simply wrong.
    Using that same logic we would have a flood of commercials portraying women as complete morons in a host of areas that they on average are not as skilled as men.
    Just doesn’t happen because women’s groups would shut it down in a heart beat.