When Huggies unveiled its infamous Dad Test campaign in 2012, the negative reaction was swift enough for Huggies to make an immediate change in its marketing approach. The ripple effect was wide, as plenty of ad agencies learned an abrupt lesson: dads are not buffoons.
But just because dads were being used less and less as the butt of advertising jokes doesn’t mean they had instantly achieved equal footing with moms. Nearly five years after the Huggies debacle, dads have yet to be treated like true parents in the world of marketing.
Take a look at the website of Luvs diapers, which unveiled material putting the emphasis on mom as the lead parent. In today’s modern, dual-parenting, two-parent-working-world, it’s hard to imagine Luvs would actually relegate dads to the backseat quite like this.
Luvs’s website speaks only to moms on exactly three of its front page sliders by excluding dads as equivalent, equal, identical parents in more ways than one – even to the startling point of exclaiming its diaper as the “Official Diaper of Experienced Moms.”
None of this comes as much of a stretch when you realize that its parent company – P&G – also brought us the highly exclusionary Thank You Mom Olympic campaign, which no doubt made dads cringe while being disregarded as equal child-raising parents during the world’s largest athletic competition. More likely, it sent shockwaves down the spines of dads, who like moms, spent many late afternoons, evenings and weekends shipping their children to incessant practices and games.
The exclusion continues on its Facebook page, where it gracelessly invites only mothers to join in on the Luvs conversation, leaving dads everywhere in the dust. Moreover, it offers Momojis as part of its “Official Keyboard of Experienced Parents.” Here Luvs makes the unpleasant mistake of insisting that mom is an exact literal synonym for parent, when we all know that parents include both moms and dads.
In other words, all parents aren’t only moms.
With competitors Huggies and Pampers also offering mom-only sections on their respective websites with no comparable dad counterpart, they too insist that only moms change diapers, leaving dads to wonder what it takes to get respect in the parenting world.
It’s a surprising slow-to-change world when it comes to marketing to parents, but here’s hoping Luvs will make some quick and easy edits by spreading equal amounts of its name to both genders before its curious approach reaches Huggies proportions.