Digital & Social Media

And Daddy Makes Three

And Daddy Makes Three
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Pass the Pickles and Ice Cream

Now Mom, baby and Dad can all go through pregnancy together. Kimberly-Clark’s diaper brand Huggies has created a tech-enabled waistband that enables expectant fathers to feel their babies’ moves and kicks.

Via Ogilvy Argentina in Buenos Aires, the waistband replicates the movements in real time so that both parents can feel their unborn child simultaneously. The tech transfers the kicks from the mother’s belly to the waistband to the dad’s belly, simulating the movement.

The waistbands took four months to design, according to the short film above, which also shows misty-eyed expectant dads overcome with emotion at the experience of feeling their children move for the first time.

Contagious, Childs Weigh In

Contagious: The combination of an emotional experience targeted during pregnancy at an overlooked demographic made this a winner for the Contagious team. In April, we reported on Durex launching Fundawear, tech-enabled underwear that allows long-distance lovers experience each other’s touch. Here, Huggies has followed suit: bringing an experience to expectant parents that they wouldn’t otherwise have.

The particularly smart element to all of this is that Huggies is targeting expectant parents before they actually need to buy nappies—a key time for building early brand loyalty but a tough state for a brand to identify until the parents actually start shopping for baby-care products. Of course, after the baby has been born, there’s a glut of baby-care brands, vying for the attention of new parents with sampling, direct mail and apps.

The Huggies campaign ensures the brand not only gets an early start over the competition, but also manages to engage fathers—frequently overlooked by baby-care brands—with an emotional experience. The importance of emotion in advertising is widely understood. A recent report from the IPA and Thinkbox that analyzes the business effects of more than 1,000 effectiveness case studies over 30 years has now proven that emotional campaigns “produce considerably more powerful long-term business effects than rational persuasion campaigns.” The Huggies waistband is designed to deliver that effect in spades.

There’s also a nice human truth at the center of the tech. Expectant mothers frequently rush to grab their partner’s hand to let them feel the baby’s kick, but can’t quite get it there fast enough to catch it. No such risk with a product that lets both parents feel movement at exactly the same time.

So when a new dad is dispatched to buy nappies for the first time, which brand is he more likely to choose? The one he associates with the unique experience of feeling his unborn child come to life? Or the one he associates with all that junk mail coming through his front door?

Nick Childs: As a father of two who never embraced the exultant catchphrase “guess what, we’re pregnant!” I have to say that this simple, cool idea might have converted me and made me feel part of the whole happening.

What I’d been missing in the nine months leading up to the arrival of each child was the ability to truly experience what my wife was going through. Like most dads-to-be, during morning sickness I still could eat a big breakfast and my back didn’t ache six months into the pregnancy; I was removed from all of the physical hallmarks of those wonderful, yet difficult times. So while men avoid swollen feet, they also miss being connected to their kids from the very first kick.

Enter Huggies, with an aim to better connect men to their expectant wives and yet-to-be-born babies. Like other recently launched “touch-tech” campaigns (see Durex’s “Fundawear”), the brand’s white-belt device not only cleverly offered fathers a way to experience those extra months moms got with the kids, but also emotionally linked them to a memory they’d otherwise never have.

And that’s it, really. We can talk about ultimately reminding dads of the brand when making a purchase decision in the store aisle, but this one’s a little more personal. It’s about taking the delicate pulse-beat against a palm that a father usually is confined to, and turning it into a kick right in his gut.

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About the author

This article was syndicated from Contagious Feed, an indispensable resource to the marketing communications industry focusing on competitive intelligence, best practices, new technology and consumer behavior. In addition to the flagship quarterly publication, app and Feed, Contagious has developed a consultancy and a series of world-class conferences, including its annual Most Contagious event.

Nick Childs is the executive creative director for FleishmanHillard, working out of the New York office. He has been with the company since 2011 after a career in advertising that included Grey and other high-profile agencies.