Huggies Jeans Poster

Sexed-Up Diaper Ads Are Full of Shit

Toddler models in objectified poses have set off an outpouring of rage no diaper could contain

There’s a new model causing controversy in the world of Israeli advertising. She’s highly visible, posing on billboards around Israel, shaking her butt at the camera and glancing coquettishly over her shoulder, hands on hips. Her weight isn’t the issue—she has a BMI well above the legally required 18.5 (Israel has banned gaunt, underweight models), and her fresh skin needs no photoshopping. What’s causing controversy is her age. This model is 2 years old.

Uploaded By: Mccann Erickson Israel

It’s an advertising scandal that has gained momentum on Facebook and Twitter in Israel over recent days. The diaper campaign for Huggies includes TV ads and billboard images of toddlers posing in what some see as provocative positions. The wave of angry posts has largely come from parents, some of whom have called the campaign “pornographic” and are now vowing to boycott the company.

The Israeli branch of advertising giant McCann-Erickson prepared the campaign, which shows the young girls and boys wearing denim-patterned diapers, posing as adults in a grown-up fashion shoot. Titled “The Most Important Item in the Wardrobe,” the campaign implies that babies who have yet to be toilet-trained still have a sense of fashion. Huggies are offering free diapers to parents who send pictures of their young ones posing in denim diapers.

"Look how the diaper model is standing in the same position, with the same tempting look." —Facebook commenter 

The parents, however, are not amused. A father in Beer-Sheba biked along the main street last week and spotted the new Huggies billboard ad directly across the street from another ad featuring the model Bar Rafaeli. Both the toddler model and the seasoned, sexy pro were striking almost identical poses. “Look how the diaper model is standing in the same position, with the same tempting look,” says the concerned dad. Rafaeli’s ads are at the center of a parallel controversy over her skimpy, provocative poses.

That dad’s post, and dozens of others comments posted on the Huggies Facebook page, hint at a large group of Israeli parents who strongly disapprove of the campaign. “Your campaign shows babies in sexual, adult and provocative poses. …It’s disgusting and pedophile,” writes Maya Naveh. “Huggies has been with you since day-care,” adds another user sarcastically. “They teach you the art of temptation.”

Some parents are calling for a boycott of the company. “A new campaign by Huggies: a toddler with a red light district pose,” writes Tomer Brand.

05/22/14 08:50 UTC@tomerbrand

קמפיין חדש של האגיס: פעוטה בפוזה מהחלונות האדומים באמסטרדם. הנה הוכחה שאפשר להשתמש בילדים לפורנוגרפיה באצטלה של שיווק http://t.co/Gd3rRiyaaN

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The Huggies brand was quick to answer the posts, saying that the ads were “nothing but a celebration of color and fun.” This is not the first time the company’s celebrations of color and fun (together with McCann-Erickson) have been lambasted for with using babies in questionable ways. Two years ago, a campaign for special “boys and girls” diapers included a baby re-enactment of the movie Grease, complete with air-kisses and side-looks.

Israel is leading the western world in fertility. Israeli mothers have, on average, three children—almost double the OECD average, which might explain why companies also see this as a fertile market and spend millions on advertising campaigns in the competitive diaper space. Israel’s social protests of 2011, which focused on the high cost of living, have left consumers highly attuned to diaper prices, and many supermarkets offer discounts on the most basic kinds.

Not all parents are furious at the “sexy baby” campaign, and for some, the allure of free diapers is hard to resist. On the company’s Facebook page, many have been posting pictures of their babies with the jeans-colored diapers, taken in special kiosks set up in shopping malls as part of the campaign. Too young to work, but not to twerk.

Deep web reporting was contributed by Gilad Shiloach.

Respond Now
  • Blond little girl way too old for diapers.

  • I guess no one remembers the coppertone baby on those huge billboards back in the 60s, before and after… that baby showed off tan lines under the panty, and none of the prudish public of the time thought it was anything but cute.

    2 Replies - Reply Now
    • Did you know that Coppertone baby was Jodie Foster?

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      • What a silly notion dear, the Coppertone baby was invented long before Jodie Foster was born.

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      • Actually, dear, it’s the truth.

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      • +
      • Jody Foster was in a Coppertone commercial in 1965 when she was three but that iconic drawing was introduced in 1959 when she was -3. 

      • It’s not quite the truth; the original coppertone baby used in the advertising was the artists’ daughter – Jodi Foster was the first “Coppertone baby” in a TV ad.

      • In the television commercial, Foster was. It was her first acting job. The original poster didn’t say Foster was the “first ever Coppertone baby model”.

        1 Reply - Reply Now
      • The original reference was to the Coppertone baby with her swimshorts being pulled down by a dog, exposing her butt in the big billboards of the 50′s. Not a TV commercial. And that has nothing to do with Jodie Foster. Get your references straight.

    • And it wasn’t OK then.   And who says nobody was pissed off?   Where were you going to read or hear about it?   The media generated news?  The corporate run newspapers?

  • What about this is sexual? I don’t see anything sexual in it whatsoever. I see it as babies being posed in fashionable model-style poses. I fear for the people who see it as sexual. A pure person does not see sex in children.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
  • I’m not sexually attracted to babies so maybe I’m missing how these ads are sexual or provocative. I’m more disturbed at the people who can look at them and actually feel they are.

  • Kids mimicing what adults do is cute, it’s not sexualising them. I’d be more concerned about the people who think a baby is remotely capable of any sort sexy come hither type look

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Hi Samantha,Do you think those models were naturally mimicking adults, or doing what the photographer told them to do? The Facebook page of the company is flooded with pictures of ordinary babies with jeans-diapers, evidently too young to know how to strike a pose. 

  • This is a disturbing ad campaign.  Yet again, advertisers will do ANYTHING to sell something.  This puts the “MAD” in MADMEN.  Good article,

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    • Hi Irwin, Like in many other provocative ad campaigns, I’m not sure the advertisers didn’t want this parent protest to happen.

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  • Whoever thinks that’s a “tempting look” needs a psychiatric evaluation… it’s a baby for f*cks sake! I don’t see anything wrong with the ads. Is the brains of some of those people I’m worried about.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • The issue is that the ad producers have the young kids in poses normally demonstrated by fashion models (whose job it is to look tempting). It may not be a tempting look to you but to some it is and that’s what’s causing the uproar. Make no mistake, the ad producers knew what they were doing when they had the children pose like that. It wasn’t an oversight.

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      • That’s right, it wasn’t an oversight to pose them as models, but that is not the same as sexually provocative posing. If, for example, the legs were open, or pictures were only of the crotch, then that would be sexual. These images are merely babies posing as fashion models. Why must everybody make kids to be sex objects when it is only a model picture? Does this mean pictures of our babies in the bathtub are sexual too?

        1 Reply - Reply Now
      • I am not sure “babies posing like fashion models” is not already sexually provocative. The problem with treating babies as adults in the advertising world, is that adults (mostly women) are already treated in such a sexualized way.

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