Playskool found itself in hot water after the brand Tweeted a question that many dad bloggers found offensive.
As you can imagine, this sent dads into an uproar.
“Not sure where the question is coming from, but as a work-at-home Dad I’d say every day — unless the kids are actually ‘in charge,'” James Zahn, aka The Rock Father replied right away. John Wiley, whose blog is actually called Daddy’s In Charge, simply wrote, “Check out my Twitter Handle.”
The response indicates a move of dad become more vocal in social media and especially as bloggers.
Major media has reported extensively on the “daddy track,” meaning the rise of stay-at-home-dads, dads who are primary care-givers at home or whose work is purposely flexible in response to a sagging economy and high unemployment rates. Last May, The Wall Street Journal stated: “Even a casual observer of American family life knows that dads now drive kids to more doctors’ appointments, preside over more homework assignments and chaperone more playdates.”
And less than a week before Playskool’s misstep, The New York Times reported on this year’s Dad 2.0 conference, an event with the sole purpose of connecting influential fathers with marketers. The newspaper’s headline, which appeared on the front page of its business section, could not have been more clear: “Don’t Call Him Mom, or an Imbecile.”
Yet, the dad bloggers are the ones taking brands to task each day, making sure that a question like Playskool’s doesn’t go unnoticed. Before the first Dad 2.0 conference, they famously called out Huggies for launching an ad campaign based on stereotypical “bumbling dad” stereotypes, which resulted in commercials being pulled. And representatives from Kimberly Clarke, who owns Huggies, flew to Austin, Texas where the conference was held to apologize.
Meanwhile, some parents said they plan to stop buying Playskool products because of this comment.
Since the unfortunate Tweet on Friday, Playskool has been personally apologizing to bloggers and Twitterers the point of making their Twitter feed one big mess of sorry.
This certainly raises the question of clarity of humor in social media. While it is important for brands to have a sense of humor about themselves, their products and the situations their customers often find themselves in, one must also consider the context of social content and how it could be interpreted.