Monday, March 12, 2012
Hey #Dads, @Huggies Is Listening
I am proud to announce that Huggies heard us loud and clear. They know they messed up. They used their own wipes to get the egg off of their faces, and they admitted that they needed to improve their current campaign and figure out how to speak to dads in a more constructive way going forward. I was privileged enough to be included in their conversation, and I would like to share the results with you.
On Saturday morning, I had a chance to talk with several people involved with the Huggies "Dads: The Ultimate Test" campaign. They called me from Austin, TX where they were attending the Dads 2.0 Summit. The representatives were sent to specifically talk to dads about the campaign and inform them of the changes being made as a result of the kerfuffle.
confirmed by Chris Routly at DaddyDoctrines, the ad spot "Big Game" with the fathers watching football has been pulled. It is being replaced by a different spot featuring dads with their napping babies to reflect a more real-life situation where the Huggies product, not the dads, are being tested. The copy will, hopefully, be different than the current napping baby ad that says dads are the "ultimate test" for Huggies products.
2. The Facebook campaign copy has been changed to wording that places the "test" on the product and not on the dads. There is also a new incentive offer for those who nominate a dad.
HUGGIES WANTS YOU TO KNOW
1. They love dads! Many of the people that worked on this campaign are fathers or mothers (which still makes me wonder why they didn't catch this before it went out) and they are human. Their idea was to showcase dads with their children in real-life situations. They never intended to portray dads as a lesser parent. The words that were chosen for the campaign did not convey the intended message. As the gentleman I spoke with very candidly put it, "Why would we want to piss off a third of our customers?" Well said, sir.
2. The fathers in these commercials are not actors. They are real dads with real jobs, and they are being filmed with their actual children. This is a good thing to know. I would prefer that a company be honest when they are using actors versus non-actors to portray real-life situations.
3. They are listening. One thing Huggies got right throughout this entire process, is that they did not censor one negative comment on their Facebook wall. They used it as a tool to gauge what their customers were thinking (which is exactly how it should be used!). In fact, they read all of the comments, and that is one of the reasons I was contacted as I had been very vocal. Keep this up, Huggies, otherwise Facebook is just another selling tool. I am glad that they see the value of that channel and are using it properly.
1. The Huggies people said that, going forward, there will be a new spot on TV featuring the napping babies (a real-life situation) where the Huggies product is being put to the test, not the fathers. This will take some time to distribute, so we will still see a few of the old commercials in the meantime. But I was assured that they will be gone as soon as possible. It should be available on Facebook first, and then you will see it in rotation on TV. Also, there will be a new spot called "Spaghetti Night" where Huggies wipes (again, the product, not the dads) will be put to the test.
2. There will also be an ongoing round table discussion between parents and Huggies. I have been invited to participate in this discussion as well, and I look forward to the opportunity to continue the dialogue.
3. I also suggested other improvements that the brand could make to involve dads to a greater extent. For example, their website has no pictures of dads (other than the "test" campaign). Also, their parenting advice section for each age group has nothing that speaks directly to fathers. I suggested starting with a link for the "First Time Dad" under the "Pregnancy" tab. How great would it be for their brand if they were creating a relationship with mom and dad before the baby has even arrived? Talk about building brand loyalty. I wish some other sites would take notice. I also suggested that they broaden their voice in their social media campaigns. Nearly every Facebook post and Twitter message begins with, "Hey Moms!" Unfortunately, this only reaches two-thirds of the people involved in the direct care of children in diapers. It would be better for them if they spoke to all of us. Finally, I did ask them if they would sponsor the National At-Home Dad Convention this year as a measure of good faith toward the at-home dad community. We are very forgiving when there is free product involved, right guys?
So, what can other brands learn from this brouhaha?
1. Don't tick off your target market.
2. Make sure you are listening to your customers so that you know when they are ticked off.
3. If you tick off your target market, apologize first, then fix it.
4. Whatever you do, keep the lines of communication open. Don't try to censor or cover it up. People (and technology) are too advanced for that sort of strategy. Social media is a conversation tool, not a loudspeaker for your brand.
5. They reason you ticked off your target market may mean that you need to update your corporate culture. Do not be afraid to examine this possibility. If you're strategies are built on old stereotypes, it may be time to update.