Imagine. Dads looking after their kids on their own. Hilarious
The lazy notion that fathers are inept is being challenged by daddy bloggers
Father and son: the challenge is to reach the Homer dads out there and remind them their children won’t be young forever
Fathers are idiots, right? When we’re not passing out drunkenly on the couch like Homer Simpson, oblivious to our kids juggling burning scissors, we’re flipping molten pancakes directly into our faces like Peppa Pig’s dad.
This notion that men are not very good at looking after their children is not new, but it is constantly being reinforced by big brands and advertisers. Kellogg’s still prints boxes in Ireland suggesting that the complex task of feeding children breakfast cereal is a mother’s job (although it does say it in a gentler, more family-friendly fashion).
Huggies wasn’t so gentle a couple of years back when it ran a television ad in the US with the following voice-over: “To prove Huggies diapers and wipes can handle anything, we put them to the toughest test imaginable: dads, alone with their babies, in one house, for five days.”
Imagine. Dads looking after their children. On their own. Hilarious.
Furious online campaign
A lot of men didn’t think the Huggies promo was particularly funny, and, following a furious online campaign, the brand saw sense and pulled the ad, replacing it with one with a soporific voice-over that in order to “prove Huggies diapers can handle anything, we asked real dads to put them to the test – with their own babies, at nap time, after a very full feeding”.
The social media storm that broke over Huggies was a game-changer, as dads started to harness the web in a way mothers had been doing for a decade. In Ireland, forums such as eumom.ie, roller coaster.ie and magicmum.ie have drawn in tens of thousands of users over the past decade. These sites offer invaluable support to pregnant women and new mothers, and they are creaking at the seams with information on every act of parenting, starting before conception.
There is very little out there for men. Boards.ie has a small forum for fathers, while roller coaster.ie has given over a small section to the lads, while dad.ie is there too, but hardly buzzing with life.
It is different on the other side of the Atlantic. Dads are still buffoons, but in the online sphere things have evolved a little bit. The Dad 2.0 conference takes place in New Orleans later this week, and will bring together hundreds of daddy bloggers, along with marketers and big-name brands from across the US and Canada and blogging “to discuss the changing voice and perception of modern fatherhood”.
The conference is being run by XY Media, a company that helps big brands to appeal to fathers. It is a forum that would have given Don Draper and the slick Madison Avenue ad men of the 1960s – those who first dressed men up as useless parents – heart failure (if their hearts had not long since failed due to all the smoking and boozing).