Clorox underestimated the power of dads and lost the battle in the span of less than 24 hours. They initially dealt a blow to new dads, saying that they lack “the judgment and fine motor skills to execute well.”
The line came from an article – now pulled from the Clorox site – called “6 Mistakes New Dads Make” (Cached by Google).
While many brands are jumping on the dadvertising wagon and releasing pro-father material aimed to encourage and involve new fathers, Clorox is caught in the age-old game of marketing household products to new moms by bashing their husbands.
And this isn’t the first time Clorox has either missed the mark with dads or flat-out insulted them. Luckily, the dad blogging community quickly mobilized and showed Clorox exactly how fine their motor skills are.
Remember when Clorox said that new moms were “largely vacant” and “too interested in makeup to worry about laundry”? Of course not – they’d never say that. Yet they intro’d their “6 Mistakes New Dads Make” article like this:
Saying ‘No-no’ is not just for baby. Like dogs or other house pets, new Dads are filled with good intentions but lacking the judgment and fine motor skills to execute well. Here are a few dangerous no-nos new Dads might make, and some training tips.
Wow. Tell us how you really feel about dads, Clorox.
Clorox found a way to equate new dads to both babies AND “dogs or other house pets.” According to Clorox, moms can’t just love and trust their husbands – they’ve got to resent them.
Here’s the rest of that Clorox article in its entirety, since they’ve now deleted it from their site:
1. Forgetting weather gear: About 10 minutes into a cold, brisk, rain-soaked stroller walk he might ask himself ‘why is this baby crying so much?’ Then, he might notice the short-sleeved summer onesie Li’l Peach is dressed in and it might dawn on him to bundle that baby.
2. Backwards clothes: Ok, so the clothes might be clean. But is it baby’s jumper fitting oddly? he might notice but he’ll probably think it’s just the style the kids are all wearing. Better educate him that for safety purposes, hip-hop fashions should wait a couple of years.
3. Inappropriate screen time: Does an infant really need to watch reality shows? For that matter, does anyone? Prudence won’t stop Daddy from relaxing with a brew and blaring inappropriate shows while baby stares in horror/awe/wonder at the colorful moving yell-box. Tell Dad to embrace parental sacrifice and crack a book.
4. Forgetting to wipe (face): Baby can’t be blamed for eating like a spastic Harlem Shake dancer. But Dad can be blamed for not noticing the caked-on layer of dried yellowish crust (applesauce? sweet potato? Play-Doh?) surrounding Baby’s mouth and spattered baby food onto her bib.
5. Letting baby eat off floor: If a toy or bit of dried food falls onto the floor, it should really be washed off before baby puts it in his mouth. If Dad is the type to eat food off the floor himself, you have your work cut out for you. At least get him to enforce a 5-second rule.
6. Casino: Some new dads have been inspired by raunchy comedies to bring babies to inappropriate places like casinos, pool halls, and poetry readings. None of these places are healthy for baby. If Dad needs persuading, just tell him that babies are terrible tippers and can never make bank shots.
Hopefully, your new Dad will learn to exercise good judgment in time for baby 2.
First of all, I’ve got a degree in Literature (and Poetry!), so telling me, even as a joke, that having my child around an art form that I spent time learning is damaging. And second, I seem to remember getting a considerable amount of hell from mothers when I suggested in jest that parents are dirtbags for taking their children to Las Vegas. But that’s just me getting personally hurt.
There are great counters to all of Clorox’s ridiculous points on their list. No need to address them individually.
Dads quickly took to the article’s comments section and flamed the company for their anti-father sentiment:
Other dad bloggers like Chris Routly and The Rock Father posted articles questioning Clorox’s sanity and marketing plan. With that and a couple of tweets, Clorox folded like a pile of bleached undergarments and pulled the piece. What a dumb marketing move. Sure, dads are all talking about you now – but we’re not saying anything nice.
But – this wasn’t the first time Clorox has made dads the butt of a joke!
2011: Clorox dropped a gem in where a clueless dad (hey, isn’t that the idiot-dad from the Oscar Mayer commercials?!) makes a giant mess with his daughter and mom has to sigh and clean up after them. The positive thing was that dad was doing schoolwork (hey, science project) with his daughter, but the negative was that dad acted like a dumb teen.
2012: I talked about how the seemingly positive commercial about dads at the park was potentially offensive. The positive image was dads with their kids at the park. The negative was that the dads discussed cars while ignoring their kids.
2013: Not content with just blasting dads, Clorox put out a series of commercials in conjunction with The Onion Labs (you know, the funny guys), where men are sloppy, stupid guys who can’t caulk a window, frost a cupcake, wash a dish or urinate in the toilet. There’s…uhhh…no positive.
There was also an older commercial where a dad is changing a baby (yay!) on a kitchen cutting board (boo!) and mom walks in, sighs and cleans up. I can’t find the commercial anywhere. If anyone ‘s got a link for me, let me know.
2007: (for bonus points) Clorox told moms that their place in the house was doing laundry. And they got roasted for it.
That’s what we always hear when there’s a commercial out that slams dads for being dumb. While many dads see an article like the one Clorox put up and get mad, others yell “and so? relax! It was supposed to be a joke!”
The problem is that these toxic images and jokes at the expense of dads do a couple of things: they continue the ignorant thinking that only mothers can care for babies. These images attempt to widen the divide between moms and dads – where dad is forced to be one of the kids and mom is burdened with all of the housework. These images discourage fathers from being the best that they can be – hey, if Clorox thinks dads shouldn’t touch the baby, maybe we should skip the grueling newborn phase, dump the baby on mom and go hang out with our buddies?
Where does that leave us?
Well, for me, it leaves me voting with my wallet. No Clorox for me. I’ll even sift through their list of brands (like Glad bags and Pine Sol) and see what alternatives I can buy instead. Sure, they’ll only lose my measly couple of dollars, but hey, at least I won’t be feeding a machine that’s insulting my family and I.
I urge you to do the same.
Clorox has started their pathetic trail of tears where they’re responding to anyone tweeting negatively with the old “gone too far” line.
Brands are allowed to misstep. Brands are allowed time to catch up to culture. But Clorox has been habitually behind the times. Maybe it’s time we just bleach them away. Zing!