For years, stereotypes of men and women have been played-out in marketing campaigns. From the happy mom receiving a new Hoover for Mother’s Day to a dad shuffling off to the office leaving mom on the doorstep with a kiss. But we all know these won’t fly today, they seem down-right archaic and ideas screaming for backlash from every direction. So one has to ask, why would Clorox take a giant leap back into a dad stereotype?
Clorox’s stereotyping Facebook flub was recently called out by CNN, “Just when you think derogatory stereotypes about dads are on the decline as fathers take a more hands-on role in child-rearing, along comes an online posting by a major brand that shows not everyone got the memo.”
The post more-or-less slammed new dads as being “filled with good intentions but lacking the judgment and fine motor skills to execute well.” Clorox claims it was just a humorous post from a real new dad, but with daddy bloggers on the rise and more men staying at home with kids today than ever, the consumer voice was heard, and heard loudly. And it was not just the men.
So where did they go wrong? As I have learned working on some mom focused brands, one can never assume there is just one mom-type or just one dad-type anymore. And all of these types have a voice. In addition, if you are trying to be lighthearted and funny, you have to be very clear and over the top. And finally, if you are going to toss out some facts about dads have something to back it up. Years ago we surveyed men and women about who manages chores at home, finding the 86% of women take on the laundry (most by choice). A stereotype yes, but a result of a survey. And we used that fact to motivate the both parties; not just point out the mistakes.
Some people say that the backlash is too much and people need to lighten up, others are furious. But either way the polarizing post has cast negativity on Clorox. Clorox has taken the article down and apologized, but like a tough stain I think the damage is done.