Moved Dad Praises Huggies for Featuring Loving Black Father on Packaging for the First Time

Photo by Joe Flowers Jr. of a Huggies diaper box with a black dad and his daughter
Joe Flowers Jr./Facebook

Joe Flowers Jr. was cruising through the aisles of a local store when his eye caught something he'd never seen before: A package of Huggies diapers, with the image of a father holding his smiling baby girl on the front. But here's what really warmed his heart about the image: It wasn't just any dad and daughter duo on the packaging -- the photo featured a black dad bonding with his baby; an image we rarely, if ever, see in media ads in general. And Flowers just couldn't stay silent about how it made his heart swell.

  • Flowers posted a photo of the diaper package to Facebook on July 2, along with a moving caption praising the brand's diversity move.

    "Huggies done went and put a black father on the package of their diapers," wrote Flowers. "This is a first in history look how far we’ve come. I’m about to buy these for no reason whatsoever."

    He wasn't the only one who loved it.

    "It's about time!" wrote one Facebook commenter.

    "Love this!" wrote another.

    Hundreds of others tagged their partners in the post, which has been shared over 81K times and has racked up more than 3,000 comments from Facebook users praising the brand's progressive move -- even if it might be surprising that it's taken this long.

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  • In fact, the packaging is part of Huggies' new Special Delivery series, which aims to put more dads in the spotlight on its marketing materials.

    After all, studies continue to show that dads are playing an increased role at home when it comes to raising kids, yet the imagery we usually see on baby items doesn't always reflect that. Up until recently, that included products from brands like Huggies, which typically featured moms and their babies on their diaper boxes, while unintentionally downplaying the role of dads.

    “We really believe in celebrating all parents and the great job that parents are doing,” Kristine Rhode, Huggies North America brand director, told USA Today this week. “When you think about the important role that dads have in the family today and how that continues to grow, we wanted to make sure they were equally celebrated.”

  • And dads are definitely feeling celebrated.

    “I was just happy to see that fathers were represented because we are never promoted on anything. That was my initial reaction,” Flowers told USA Today. “Just so happens that the man was African American … I know we actually take care of our children just as much as the mom sometimes, so I was just proud to see a representation of that in the stores.”

  • Still, it's hard to forget the backlash Huggies faced in 2012, when it pulled an ad campaign that inadvertently shamed dads for not being involved.

    It began with what was meant to be a lighthearted ad campaign, featuring a series of video clips capturing dads left on their own to care for their babies for five days.

    "To prove that Huggies diapers and wipes can handle anything," a voiceover declared, "we put them to the toughest test imaginable -- dads."

    At the time, execs at Kimberly-Clark, the parent company of Huggies, likely assumed the campaign would get laughs and be seen as progressive, since it featured dads doing the lion's share of the parenting. But instead, it perpetuated the hapless dad trope -- one millennial fathers are desperately trying to rid themselves of.

    In the end, Huggies pulled the ad, and according to HuffPost, "Rushed representatives down to Austin ... to apologize, repeatedly, to 200-plus Dad bloggers gathered at their first ever convention, called Dad 2.0."

    Luckily, it seems that the last seven years, plus a general shifting of cultural awareness, has brought the brand up to speed.

  • The diapers also signify another first for Huggies: They're the brand's first-ever diaper made with plant-based materials like sugarcane.

    As a result, they're designed to offer superior softness and all-round comfort for little bottoms, and leave mom and dad feeling good about wrapping their baby in leak-proof protection that's more natural. 

    In other words: It sounds like Huggies really knocked it out of the park on this one.