Some serious sh*t went flying onto Huggies’ wall yesterday. The fallout was in response to their latest “Dad Test” campaign, which was a series of 30 second commercials which transformed randomly photogenic dads into lab rats – or was I watching a preview for an Inception sequel?

Oh well, who needs to pay for focus groups when you have a free corporate Facebook page? When all else fails, use minigun.

This is an actual still frame (altered for the lols) directly from the Huggies “Dad Test” video:

How creepy is that? I’m shocked there wasn’t a scientist wearing a lab coat, writing on a chart with a pencil or scribbling on a chalkboard somewhere. Maybe behind a one-way mirror…

I Am Still Just A Rat In A Cage

Billy said it best, and others followed suit by voicing their opinions on Huggies’ official Facebook page. Despite the new campaign, Huggies’ page continues to get a ‘Like’ every other minute.

Feedback in advertising is valuable for companies and it dials in their ‘base’ where management can feel comfortable spending the money in confidence within a major market. Freedom of speech is the way of the United States, and thankfully whoever is managing their social media is doing a service by not deleting the negative comments that get posted.

So are Facebook users being used to test their advertising campaign strategies?

I’ll admit, the “Dad Test” is a smart campaign; it even features a Mexican father AND an African-American. So PC. It also gets both parents asking questions at the same time (I’m not even going to go into why they didn’t choose a gay couple):

Dads: are you man enough to prove to your wife that you can be a parent and stay inside to take care of a baby for an extended period of time?

Moms: is your husband able to prove us wrong in our research that dads suck at changing diapers?

Summer M. Aerni did answer that question out of spite in a comment on Huggies’ page:

Tell Me I’m The Only One

It’s almost as if Huggies is playing mind games with our teenage subconscious in this “Dad Test”; forcing wives to prove their man can change diapers just as good as women while dads feel compelled to contribute to an unknown Huggies database by saying “I’LL TAKE THE TEST, BITCH! HERE’S MY NAME! WHAT PRIVACY POLICY?”.

Huggies did release some PR “background” as to why they just love Dads:

If by celebrated you mean exploited and setting us back 50 years, then yes, you’ve succeeded.

Seriously though, I believe Huggies isn’t doing anything nasty or harmful to dad culture with their latest campaign. However, I do think they’re performing a controlled controversy to get people talking about their brand. Social media is a great way to get an existing product out there for practically nothing. In a weird way, they appear to like data more than dads – not Data from Star Trek – but, you know, information.

More and more major companies are hiring Social Media Managers, which means more companies are beginning to fine tune their accuracy to manipulate and target you based on social trends, data, user submitted information, what you like, and algorithms supplied by 3rd party suppliers – even through results via their Facebook app, Nominating A Dad.

While I went a little deeper past the face value of the issue, these “random” photogenic dads (where we have no information on how they were chosen) that are featured in the commercials are being utilized as lab rats in an experiment – the viewer’s subtext is basically like, “You know what would be REALLY interesting? Let’s put 6 mice in a room with 6 snakes and record it to see ‘what happens’.”

It’s basic control and constants in an experiment, except the dads aren’t the test… everyone is.

Other people on Facebook were driven to voice their opinion and engage in conversation. While all of the responses were entertaining, here were some gems that ‘got it’ and some that ‘didn’t’:

Those That Get It

Those That Don’t

We have a long way to go before we evolve as a society in this brave new world of advertising campaigns. It was only 15 years ago where we were coveting the free 500-hour AOL CDs that came in the mail and chatting in a seedy room called “TEEN CHAT 105”.

Sometimes the best answer isn’t an answer at all. A/S/L?