Last month at Pampers Cincinnati, OH headquarters, NFI president Roland C. Warren presented the big baby care brand with a Fatherhood Award™ for its “A Parent is Born,” “Welcome to Parenthood,” and “Love Comes Early” video series.
If you haven’t seen these online mini-documentaries, check them out as a Father’s Day treat. They really do an incredible job of showing how important it is for fathers to be involved in the “peri-natal period” (the time right before and after the birth of a child).
Pampers is a rare breed in the baby care world in that they are one of a few brands that understands the role dads can and should play in this area. Sure, moms still buy more diapers than dads do, but according to all the research we’ve done and seen, moms are more likely to support brands that support fathers. Moms don’t want brands letting dads off the hook.
To celebrate and commemorate the Fatherhood Award™ recognition, Pampers is unveiling new rewards in its “Pampers Gifts to Grow” catalog that are very dad-centric - BBQ tool sets, professional-caliber golf balls, stainless steel water bottle gift sets, and headphones, to name a few.
This quote from Fama Francisco, Pampers General Manager perfectly sums up Pampers enlightened understanding of this issue: "Pampers recognizes that today’s fathers want to be involved in the very important role of nurturing their babies and acknowledges that it is just as important for dad – as it is for mom - to bond with baby too. With all the attention on expectant and new moms, the role of an expectant or new father can sometimes be overshadowed. That's why this Fatherhood Award™ honor is a special thrill. Whether it's been via our web-based real parenting video series or our past partnerships with the likes of great dads, Pampers is committed to honoring and celebrating dads for the unique role they play in their babies lives!”
We love this! Especially the part about the “unique role” that dads play. Again, research shows that the different approaches that moms and dads take to child care have a significant, positive impact on child well being.
We thank Pampers for their dedication to fatherhood, and commend them for doing work that will last far beyond this Father’s Day.
As regular readers of The Father Factor know, NFI recently played a key part in a firestorm of social media commentary that led Huggies to respond to the complaints of dads and modify an ad campaign to portray dads more positively. (If you missed it, check out our blog post rebuking Huggies for their original campaign and the second blog post applauding them for listening to the feedback of dads.)
The conversation about how brands and organizations can effectively reach out to dads - and why it's important for them to do so - continues. Vince DiCaro, NFI's Vice President of Development and Communication, was NFI's voice in the Huggies "debacle." The National Diaper Bank Network invited Vince to share NFI's thoughts on the important role that dads play. As we've frequently noted, calling on men specifically as fathers, and not just parents (which is often interpreted as a code word for "mothers") is key to welcoming them into the conversation. Vince elaborates on that and other ways and reasons to engage dads.
Read what he shared with The National Diaper Bank Network in his guest blog post "Today's Dads Can Help Close The 'Diaper Gap'"
In The Godfather: Part II
, Michael Corleone says, "I hope they will have the decency to clear my name with the same publicity with which they now have besmirched it."
In the spirit of those wise words, I am blogging today to follow up on a recent post I did about a Huggies ad campaign.
On March 1, I blogged about a dad-unfriendly ad campaign from the diaper giant
. In that post, I accused Huggies of playing into stereotypes about fathers being less competent parents than moms, especially when it comes to changing diapers and caring for babies. We asked you, our readers, to let Huggies know what you thought about their ad, and you did, voicing your concerns on Huggies' Facebook page.
At the time, I had no idea my blog post was part of a "movement" of daddy bloggers all over the country saying similar things, and inspiring many others to speak out, too.
There was so much noise being made about this that Headline News contacted me on Saturday to do a live interview
on their network about my blog post and about the response from the community of dads. You can watch the HLN interview here.
To add to the providential timing of all of this, I happened to be in Austin, TX over the weekend for a brand new conference called the Dad 2.0 Summit
, where the very community that called Huggies out had gathered to talk about strengthening the online community of dads and strategizing on how dads and brands can work together for mutual benefit.
This was a "perfect storm" that may indeed be a watershed moment in the "fatherhood movement" (for lack of a better term). For years, various other communities have coalesced to the point that if a brand "messes with them," they will make a big stink and force that brand to change its tune. Moms, for example, have done a great job of this, and are rightly recognized as a market force to be reckoned with. But this Huggies incident could mark the first time that the community of dads forced a major brand to change its course.
Huggies, to their great credit, did a couple of positive things. First, they pulled one ad in the series off the air immediately. Second, they are working to change the voice overs in the other ads to make them less condescending. Third, they changed the copy on their Facebook page from "put our diapers to the ultimate test... dad" to "Have dad put Huggies to the test." Fourth, Huggies sent several staff, including executives, to the above mentioned Dad 2.0 Summit to sit down with dads one-on-one (myself included) to hear our concerns and explain what they are doing to make amends.This Huffington Post article summarizes how this whole thing played out
So, what's next?
Huggies has a great opportunity to really separate itself from the pack by capitalizing on the mistake it made and the subsequent steps they have taken to fix it. Huggies is smack in the middle of the radar screen of the dad community right now, so if they do things right, they can really establish themselves as a brand that cares about and responds to fathers.
We at National Fatherhood Initiative stand ready to afford brands the opportunity to do this in a big, national way.
For you, take a moment to head over to Huggies' Facebook page
and thank them for responding to dads' concerns and changing course. Continue to hold them accountable. But don't tell them Michael Corleone told you to do this...
Let's not forget what happened here. We dads were able to accomplish something that every significant social movement has been able to accomplish. Let's keep it up!