Fail: Huggies makes a mess
Diaper giant Huggies' success comes from helping the world dispose of its mess. And following an advertising campaign that portrayed dads as bumbling, incompetent parents, Huggies was forced to put its clean-up skills to the test, as an angry parental backlash led Huggies to toss its soiled ads. Yet, given the web's viral nature, the controversial videos were not entirely disposable.
As a part of Huggies' "Dad Test" campaign, the company posted several videos on its Facebook page "to demonstrate the performance of [its] diapers and baby wipes in real life situations." According to the videos, "real life situations" involve clumsy fathers awkwardly tending their babies or neglecting them in favor of TV. The commercial's female voice-over perpetuates the hapless father stereotype by stating, "To prove that Huggies diapers and wipes can handle anything, we put them to the toughest test imaginable -- dads."
Resenting the notion that their alleged lack of parental skills creates Huggies' "toughest test," fathers quickly swarmed the social sphere with criticism. For example, on the company's Facebook page, one user wrote, "Hey jerks, thanks for contributing to the perception that fathers are incompetent parents who let babies lay around in their own waste until they can be rescued." In addition, an online petition with the mission to "end the insulting Huggies' campaign" quickly gained more than 1,300 signatures. Consequently, within a week, the VP of the Huggies brand, Erik Seidel, issued the following statement: "I recognize that we need to do a better job of communicating the campaign's message. We're learning and listening, and, because of your response, are making changes to ensure that the true spirit of the campaign comes through in the strongest way possible." Accordingly, Huggies posted a revamped video with nurturing dads peacefully rocking happy babies.