Let me start this “open letter” (if Sinead O’Connor can do it, why can’t I?) by telling you that I generally love your supermarkets. You provide affordable food, you have brilliantly weird mist-spraying things to make your vegetables moist and you’ve always got at least one of my favourite wines on offer. In short – I like you.
So I was very disappointed when a friend of mine alerted me to the “tip” on the side of your own-brand nappy packs – supposedly a handy guide for dads to help them figure out which nappies to buy.
In case you’re not familiar with the comment in question (you can’t be expected to know what’t on EVERY item in your supermarket, I suppose) I took a photo for you:
If you can’t read it (my photo skills aren’t exactly David Bailey levels) here’s what it says:
“Be Daddy cool…
Keep coming home with the wrong nappies? Take a picture of the panel on the front of this pack with your phone before you go to Morrisons to bag some serious brownie point.”
Are you serious? Is this supposed to be a joke?
Don’t get me wrong – the ‘tip’ in question is a fairly good one. I’ve often seen parents (of both sex) scratching their heads at the nappy shelf, trying to remember whether little Jimmy is a 4+ or a 5 now – and who came blame them, there’s a lot to remember on very little sleep.
But why do you have to make this so damn sexist and patronising? The idea that it is only dads who make this mistake is pretty ignorant. Worse still is the idea that by doing this easy task, we’ll buy ourselves some “brownie points” with “her indoors” – what is this, the 1970s?!
If you’re going to add handy tips to all your own-brand products, I’m all for it – I could probably think of quite a few of my own if you need them (“These carrots also make handy noses for snowmen”, “These rectangular lasagne sheets never fit in round-cornered dishes – but don’t try to shape them yourself, or they’ll shatter like so many broken dreams” etc) but do you have to patronise dads while you’re at it?
I can almost imagine the conversation in your marketing team when you came up with this:
Marketing Exec 1 – “Lots of dads are helping out with parenting these days – we should try to appeal to them as well”
Marketing Exec 2 – “But most of our shoppers are mums – we can’t alienate them!”
Marketing Exec 1 – “Okay, how about we just add some little funny asides to the dads – they’ll love it!”
Marketing Exec 2 – “Fine – but aren’t all dads morons? Most of them struggle to find the right nappy size”
Marketing Exec 3 – “Sorry – what were you guys saying? I was playing with my iPhone, I missed it…”
Since you’ve gone half of the way, I’ve taken the liberty of re-writing this nappy-based text for you – let’s be honest, this is what you’re basically trying to say:
“Do something right for a change…
Does your beer-addled brain often forget the simplest things, like the size of your children’s nappy? Does our complicated numbering system (1, 2, 3, 4, 4+, 5) baffle you? Why not try to make up for all the other things you’ve done wrong by taking a photo of this nappy pack with you when you go to the shop next time. That way, when you’re wondering round the shop looking at your phone, you might find this photo and remember to buy some nappies – that’ll keep her indoors quiet! That old battle-axe… WOMEN EH?!”
Alternatively, you could just make the tip a bit more gender-neutral. That might be easier I guess… yeah, do that instead. Please?