When Good Tweets Go Bad – How Huggies Handled Father’s Day

Huggies had an interesting series of tweets for Father’s Day. Let’s explore them one at a time.

This tweet appeared on Thursday, June 16 and it centered upon everyone else’s Father’s Day pun: the dad joke. Most companies use the dad joke as its standard trope for Father’s Day, and it’s feeling threadbare. Sure, dads can be silly but so can moms. It’s important to find humor in each gender but dad jokes, dad bods – sometimes it gets a little old. Here Huggies isn’t just laughing with dads, it’s laughing at them.

But you’ll never find companies poke fun at moms. Never. Why must dads be the constant butt of jokes? There’s a lot more to men than playing the fool, which leads us to Huggies’ next few posts.

The next few tweets – one day before Father’s Day – followed a similar pattern. Any dad can relate to these, but you know what else they can relate to? Love. Sacrifice. Nurturing. Thoughtfulness. Involvement. Compassion. Empathy. Hope. Hard work. Success.

Consider the emotions and feelings which comprise fatherhood – it’s virtually endless. Following the same pattern year after year and only tapping into humor didn’t help Huggies connect with dads on a very deep level.

Huggies’ first tweet on Father’s Day seemed thoughtful and well-intentioned at first. However, it congratulated dads for performing a task one presumes is outside their scope. It implied that dads don’t braid hair. It assumed – because dads traditionally don’t have long hair – that dads have difficulty executing a braid.

In today’s modern world we constantly tell women and girls they can do anything, that there’s no glass ceiling. We cheer on women to become CEOs, physicists, presidents, astronauts and action heroes – but we suggest braiding hair is hard for men? Alas, sexism isn’t a one-way street.

Now imagine Huggies posting something like this on Mother’s Day: “To the moms learning how to play baseball with your boy, or build a deck, or work on the car, etc., for the first time: you’re doing great.”

That post wouldn’t happen because it would demean women. It would stereotype they can’t or don’t do something. So, why do this to dads?

Next, in a similar vein, Huggies gave props to the stay-at-home dads. This was nice, of course, but again could you envision Huggies posting a comparable message on Mother’s Day?

“To all the working moms: you rock. Keep doing you, mom.”

Of course not.

There is a way to honor stay-at-home dads for their contribution to the family and home, but this wasn’t it.

Huggies then completed its Father’s Day messaging with the granddaddy of them all. A tweet that managed to redefine the meaning of this focused, intentional June holiday.

It’s easy to infer what Huggies was trying to convey – that there are a lot of moms who do double duty either as single moms, or who carry the load when dad is away. These noble, hard-working women deserve their day in the sun. Come to think of it, they had one on May 8.

Which is why Father’s Day is for fathers, and Mother’s Day is for mothers. Period.

And once again, apply the same premise to a Mother’s Day post and you’d create absolute shock, stir a whirlwind of viral activity, followed by a full-blown mutiny.

If you re-read Huggies’ tweets you’ll notice, not once, did it simply state, “Happy Father’s Day.”

Their social media team has some work to do, but perhaps next year it could start there.

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