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.
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This is a topic I could write about for days, as it seems to me that commercials and ads are always portraying outdated gender roles and stereotypes.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.