On the same day that THE CLOROX COMPANY's CEO Don Knauss was taking to the airwaves to talk about Oakland Athletics Baseball, over on the website of the company's flagship brand, a storm was brewing. Under the heading "6 Mistakes New Dads Make," (note: the post has since been deleted, update below) the online team behind the curtain for Clorox bleach took it upon themselves to declare: "Like dogs or other house pets, new Dads are filled with good intentions but lacking the judgment and fine motor skills to execute well." Yes. This is real. A new Dad is like a dog, according to Clorox.
Brands vs. Parents is not a new thing, and in 2013 Brands vs. Dads has really been heating up. I, too, became unintentionally involved in one such scuffle earlier this year, landing front-and-center on The Huffington Post and The Good Men Project because of it. While fighting "How Dads are Portrayed in the Media" is a cause for some, I've made a conscious effort to steer clear of such debates (many of which are fueled by overreaction) since my earlier brush with that realm. It's not a part of my daily life or mission, so I leave it to those who choose to carry that torch. But this Clorox situation? It's just so over-the-top that a comment had to be made. After all, this is a company that actively courts Parent Bloggers - Dad Bloggers (myself included) to help bring awareness to their pollutants.
Back in late March, I posted a status update on Facebook about how I'd turned down a "multi-month, multi-post" brand sponsorship from Clorox, and why I chose to do so. My #1 rule to any sponsored content (I do a lot of it) is that I have to believe in, and regularly use the products in question. We don't use Clorox products, though we have used some products manufatured by other brands under THE CLOROX COMPANY umbrella: Burt's Bees, Glad, Hidden Valley Ranch, Brita Water Filters, etc. But Clorox itself? This is a company that makes crap, and was previously under fire for "greenwashing" due to their Green Works line, and the fact that it was really just deflecting attention away from the fact that Clorox is a chemical company. I got suckered by Green Works, and have since switched to brands like Earth Friendly Products where I can.
Clorox works with a lot of bloggers, including some Dad Bloggers that I like and respect. That makes it all the more puzzling that they would use Dads as the brunt of a "joke" (although the post isn't presented as one) that comes in the supposed "Month of Dads," and just more than a week past Father's Day. If Clorox were to assign the same "6 Mistakes" to any other sex, race, or group - there would be major hell to pay. And maybe there will be with Dads, too. As of this writing, there are 64 angry comments posted on the Clorox article via their Facebook comments plugin. Unlike past brand scuffles, I don't see anyone coming to Clorox's defense, nor do I see anyone calling out Dads for being "oversensitive" (something I've even tossed out at times), and I think it's a testament to just how stupid this is. If there is a line, this may have actually crossed it.
Then again, who am I to comment? I mean, right there on #3, Clorox states: "Tell Dad to embrace parental sacrifice and crack a book."
I guess it's time to shut the computer off and get back to the Casino where I belong (#6).
Does Clorox actually hate parents or Dads? Probably not, but I find their marketing team to be "lacking in judgement..." How long until they pop up to delete the comments... or the article... and issue a half-assed "apology?"
UPDATE - 12:33am, June 25, 2013
As expected, Clorox pulled the article... without saying a word. It's a shame, too, as the comments section on there was getting good, clearing the 100-mark a couple of hours ago, with no signs of slowing down. Like most companies, Clorox knows better when it comes to their marketing. Still won't change the toxic nature of their products, though.
Other Dads Weigh In:
Check out more on the idiocy of Clorox via these other fine sites...
- Daddy Doctrines - Clorox: Because Dad is as Dumb as a Dog...? What?
- 8BitDad - Clorox Says New Dads Are "Lacking" in Judgement & Motor Skills, Dads Fight Back
- DadNCharge - Clorox Doesn't Know Dads at All
- GeekDad - Clorox's Bad Dadvertising
- Dads Who Change Diapers - Clorox... Oh, Clorox
- Mr. Dad - 7 Mistakes Clorox Made in Taking a Swipe at New Dads
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About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER™.
Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality and Commentator.
He serves as a PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent), has made guest appearances as a member of the Sprout Kindness Crew, was featured in the Father's Day issue of Lake County Magazine, and is a former contributor to Chicago Parent.
Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for the likes of FEAR FACTORY, DIRGE WITHIN, PRODUCT OF HATE, ARCANIUM and others, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, and in 2013 he's been quoted on CNN, Babble, The Huffington Post, and The Good Men Project, in addition to making appearances on ABC News and WGN.
Learn more here.