“Bad dad” TV ad gets pulled amid protests
Men take offence to being represented as dithering idiots in the parenting game.
Global diaper giant Huggies was forced to pull a series of TV commercials recently which depicted dads as inept while taking care of their babies. This comment about the ad from one observer: “The commercials depict dads watching their children in different scenarios. One ad featured a group of fathers trying to rock their babies to sleep while another showed them watching sports while seemingly “ignoring” their children. Fathers around the country have said the commercials hint that they are incapable of taking care of their own children.  The ads narrator even pushes consumers to put the diapers to “the toughest test imaginable: dads.” The campaign even made its way onto the brand’s Facebook page with a graphic telling mom to give her husband a diaper and wipes and to watch the fun. The ads have sparked up a little controversy as some dads have found the ads insulting.”

The positive side of the story

Personally, I’m glad this kind of publicity gives our roles as dads more exposure. You would have to be an imbecile of epic proportions not to get the basics of diaper changing right. And presumably your partner would show you how before she allowed you anywhere near the baby. So I’m not going to make a hoo-hah about that aspect of the ad, it’s just common sense.

Poorly-portrayed parents

The thing that gets my goat is that the vast majority of advertising executives who manage parenting-related brands and products are either single or have no clue about the real dynamics of parenting.

I would bet my bottom dollar that if the ad executive responsible for this campaign had been a single dad, or an involved dad, that ad campaign would have been considerably different. However, having said that, I think Huggies have inadvertently brought the issue of dads taking care of their babies to the forefront of parenting discussions all over the English speaking globe. A quick Google search shows countless blog-discussions on the subject, and of course Facebook and Twitter are awash with comments. So thanks Huggies.

There are plenty of super-dads out there

I’d also like to applaud all those men who made their feelings known about the ads, which lead to its withdrawal. How times have changed hey? Ten years ago we Neanderthals would have sat back, opened up a beer and laughed at ourselves in agreement with the ad.

Locally we currently have a reality TV show running depicting single dad’s doing their thing with their kids. We’ve also had the first ever parenting lifestyle show to be hosted by a man, my show Who’s Your Daddy launched last year (repeats on DSTV 319 running currently and season 2 in an extended hour-long format) to be announced soon. These developments and the reaction to the ad is growing proof that men can no longer be ignored as viable partners in the parenting game. Advertisers appear to be lagging behind in the trend and continue enhancing the maternal role of parenting. Roles are changing, times have changed. If you want to depict how responsible fathers really cope with their babies, get a responsible father as your ad campaign manager.

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

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