Huggies can still come up hugeDoug French
Thankfully, I am long estranged from diapers. But when that was our thing, and we lived so much of our new-parent life in fear of poopsplosions, I was good at it. I had it down. And not just the quotidian, wipe-wrap-and-dump of Disposableville. We used a lot of cloth diapers, too. Because my thenwife said so. I spent umpteen hours not only dumping macabre fecal stew in the toilet, but also rinsing the last poop vestiges out of those sodden, acrid rags with my bare hands.
I hated this. But I didn’t mind it. Because let’s face it: Diapering should be the quintessential Dad Thing. We don’t have to endure hemorrhoids, episiotomies, engorged boobs, or mastitis, so cleaning up an alimentary outburst seems like the absolute least we can do.
Lots and lots and lots and lots of men do this. It’s a shame it took several weeks of blowback for Huggies to figure it out.
Yes, Huggies has made a mess, and I don’t mind that dads are rubbing their noses in it a bit. Because some brands have embraced this idea that the best way to engage with moms is to insult their manpartners, so the women can all nod in unison and give each other an “AMIRITE, people?” But here’s the big difference: Huggies could have hidden in the basement until the tornado blew over. But they saw how well that worked out for Ragu and chose not only to confront the problem, but also to do it face to face with us at the Dad 2.0 Summit last week.
That was a big deal.
Some people have dismissed the gesture as merely a desperate attempt at damage control. And they’re not wrong, especially now that the ads have become national news. But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t rag on Ragu for hiding, and then attack Huggies for showing up. Miscommunication ends with dialogue, so when I got a call asking if it would be OK for the Huggies team to arrange one-on-one meetings with dad bloggers at Dad 2.0, I said, “Absolutely. Hell yes.”
Turns out [shocker] that brand managers are actually people, who also have pooping babies. And who attend to that poop, like the rest of us. The whole idea behind the Summit is to further a conversation between dads and marketers; if there’s a better example than a sitdown with a product’s brand manager, I don’t know what is.
Thanks, Huggies, for taking your ads down, and traveling into the beer-belly of the beast to talk with us about how to make them better. We know you’re still mostly concerned about appealing to moms, but I hope you can keep from doing it at our expense.