Written Analysis of the Original Ad
The advertisement I chose to analyze is an ad for Huggies diapers. The ad features a father holding his baby, wearing only a diaper, with one arm, and holding a diaper bag with the other arm. Above the father’s head reads the line “Put them to the Dad test”. This line is encouraging consumers to have fathers test out the diapers as proof of how durable and sturdy Huggies diapers are.
By encouraging the public to use the “Dad test” as a way of testing Huggies diapers, Huggies is sending the message that fathers are incompetent and uninvolved in their children’s lives and therefore are a “worst case scenario” when it comes to the situations/difficulties a diaper will see. Also, by excluding the mention of mothers in the ad, the company is giving off the idea that mothers are too competent to test out the diapers, and therein their high skill level means they are experts when it comes to diapers. This plays into the stereotype that mothers are the primary caregivers.
It is important to acknowledge that for many years, mothers were most often the primary caregivers of their children, and fathers were less involved in their children’s lives, as their focus was on providing an income for their family. However, these gender roles are changing. A growing number of fathers are becoming the primary caregivers and a growing number of mothers are leaving the home to have careers while still raising their children. The ad by Huggies ignores the changing gender roles in society and perpetuates ideals that the mother is the competent parent and the father is potentially the worst case a child can experience. Huggies’ ad should not assume which parent is the primary caregiver and which parent may be less involved because every family is different. By suggesting that it must be one way or the other, Huggies is excluding from their ad, fathers who are the primary caregivers. It is this misrepresentation of parents that I have chosen to address.
My Jammed Version
Written Explanation of my Jamming Philosophy
In order to improve the ad, I chose to change one word. I replaced the word “Dad” with the word “diaper” so that the ad read instead “put them to the diaper test”. I chose to change simply this one word in order to remove the ad’s focus on a specific parent. The original ad perpetuated the myth that fathers are incompetent and unreliable because of their lack of involvement. By changing the word “Dad” to “diaper” I am focusing on the product itself, and choosing not to focus on anyone’s potential flaws. With this change, I am also moving away from the original ad’s implication that one parent is more competent than another. Using the word “diaper” also removes gender from the ad and makes the ad more inclusive to different types of families, and different parents’ abilities. I had also wanted to include a female in the ad, however, because of the ad’s layout, this was not possible without rendering the ad less aesthetically pleasing. I hoped adding a female to the ad would represent another gender, further debunking any thoughts that a father is represented in the ad because fathers are the less competent. I also believe adding a female would debunk the idea that mothers and fathers cannot be equally competent.
By changing the ad to read “diaper test” I aimed to illustrate that the product should be held separately from parents. Of course, parents actively using the diaper is a great way to test the quality of the product, however, by referring to the test as a “diaper test”, I wanted to create a sense that the diaper’s quality should be based on the product and how the Huggies product holds up to similar products created by other companies, rather than implying that the product’s quality directly relates to a parent’s parenting behaviours. In the end, with my jamming of the original ad, I aimed to end the ad’s perpetuation of gender roles among parenting. I also aimed to use more inclusive language and focus on the product itself rather than parents’ abilities.
(Huggies Diaper Advertisement Image was retrieved from: http://bobbleheaddad.com/parenting/huggies-gets-dads-underwear-in-a-knot)