Friday, September 5, 2008

Messy branding, messy diapers

Yesterday was my 16 month-old son's first day at preschool. I am grateful to have him enrolled in a great program where he'll be learning new skills and interacting with a fun group of kids and talented staff. They really know what they're doing, I kept telling myself after tears were shed at the morning dropoff and I started feeling guilty about leaving him. He's in good hands, I thought.

So imagine my surprise when I dropped his pants that afternoon and discovered that the good hands of his preschool teacher had arranged a backward-facing wedgie. My daughter and I nearly fell out of our chairs. While it was certainly reminiscent of SNL's "Huggies Thong" sketch, I still have to ask, how hard is it to change a diaper? Apparently, not so easy. Wiki How lists a full page of step-by-step diapering tips, as do most parenting advice websites. Now, when I was using cloth diapers with my firstborn, such tips were incredibly useful. But disposables? C'mon. Cartoon characters go in the front and the velcro tabs are in the back-- just hook 'em around to the front and you're done. How can someone with a college degree not be able to figure this out? Except that since yesterday's incident (and there have been others, including extended family members who I have previously labeled as being completely clueless due to their lack of diapering skills) I now think it's a branding problem. Take a close look at these photos of my son's lower half. Notice anything (other than his gorgeous little body?) Cartoon characters are everywhere on the front and back (or back and front.) Overzealous licensing deals are creating product usibility problems. In other words, too much cartoon crap on the outside of the diaper leads to.... uncontained crap. We don't need to see Elmo and friends on the front and back of every diaper. It's too confusing. Millions of us have already been trained that cartoon characters go on the front. Period. Now, I hail the brands like Seventh Generation that are cartoon- and chemical-free, I just wish they were less expensive and survived through the night. Pampers, Huggies, Luvs: hear me out on this. Please limit the characters to the front only. Either that or come up with some clever hello/goodbye or number 1/number 2 metaphors to use instead. That would give us parents more of a chuckle than a backwards-facing overflowing diaper.

No comments: