So I was wrong.
Just five days ago in this blog post, I doubted Huggies would hear the cries of parents who were complaining about the sexist nature of its “ultimate dad” diaper-test ad campaign, and change course. (You can read my original post from Feb. 23 here.)
But it did, according to this blog post by Advertising Age, a trade publication.
According to the blog post, a spokesman from Kimberly-Clark Corp., the company that makes Huggies, said it is changing the nature of the ads “to ensure that the true nature of the campaign comes through in the strongest sense possible.”
The nature of the campaign, Ad Age writes, is “to demonstrate the performance of our products in real-life situations because we know real life is what matters most to moms and dads. A fact of life is that dads care for their kids as much as moms do and in some cases are the only caregivers.”
Thank you for proving me wrong, Kimberly-Clark.
I can tell the company is in the process of changing the campaign. When I sat down to write this blog post at about 9 a.m. today, I was ready to point out that its Facebook profile picture still featured a dad holding a baby in a diaper with the text: “Put them to the dad test” (“them” meaning Huggies diapers.)
But less than two hours later, the wording has been changed to “Have dad put Huggies to the test.”
Using “dad” as an adjective to “test” (as is the case in the first example) implies that dad is incompetent. Using “dad” as a noun (as is the case in the revised text) merely implies that it’s his turn to change the diaper, which plenty of dads can do in 2012.
And if anyone sees the difference as being miniscule, remember what Mark Twain said: “The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.”
Still, what I found most interesting about this entire debate is the people who complained about the people who were complaining about the advertising campaign. They were all over Huggies’ Facebook page telling us to find something better to do than complain about a sexist ad campaign.
In other words, it’s OK to complain about the complainers, but not OK to complain about the ads in the first place.
Wait, is that a double negative? That sounds like math. Darn, I’m a writer, not a mathematician. Let me see if I understand this.
So, on one side of the equation is the people who did not like the ads (a mathematical negative, no?) and on the other is the people who did (a mathematical positive, right?).
Right. If I remember my math lessons correctly, a positive and a negative cancel out each other leaving you with nothing.
Can that be right? Wait, I didn’t factor in the ads themselves. Rookie mistake.
What would the ads be in a math equation? An integer? Denominator? Exponent? Trapezoid? A discriminant of a quadratic? (OK, I looked up that last one, and I still don’t know what it means.)
Ugh. Why is this so hard? Let’s start over.
You take the left side of the equation, divide it by the sum of the parts on the right side, carry the 2, cancel out the negatives with the positives, factor in the differential of the fractal anomalies, and you have … $32.57 unaccounted for in your checkbook.
Let’s just say that the people who complained about the people who were complaining about the advertising campaign are hypocritical.
One of the greatest aspects about America is the right of the people to speak up and complain, which includes those who complain about the complainers.
So, complain away, and you won’t hear me criticize you for speaking your mind.
After all, Huggies, and by extension Kimberly-Clark Corp., didn’t prevent any complaints on its Facebook page, which leads me to give the company ultimate kudos.
The company did not delete comments from people who were complaining about the ads, and it could have. The company would have been perfectly in its rights to delete every negative post from its page.
Other companies do it. I’ve seen it firsthand. But I am not aware of Kimberly-Clark taking down a single post criticizing the ad campaign.
That speaks volumes to me about the character of the company, and affords it a new level of respect in my mind.
In fact, it kind of makes me wish my kids were still in diapers so I could go out and buy a box or two of Huggies.