I subscribe to the “I’ll know it when I see it” school of thought when it comes to kiddie porn. I learned this about myself quite recently—today, in fact—while looking at an ad campaign for Huggies diapers that has caused quite a to-do in Israel.
The campaign includes a TV spot (and I have Don Draper to thank for teaching me the vernacular needed to discuss this matter properly) that shows toddler-aged boys and girls vamping in Huggies’ latest innovation—denim-patterned diapers. It also includes billboards that feature the same tots in their version of come hither poses. The tag reads: Huggies Jeans—the most important item in the wardrobe.
As the parent of a toddler, I agree, in part: diapers are vital. Their being pseudo denim is not.
In Israel, the campaign has struck a nerve with some parents who say it’s offensive. They’ve taken their complaints to social media, calling out Huggies and the agency that created the ads, McCann-Erickson Israel, for making child pornography and have threatened to boycott the company. One irate individual on Twitter likened what he saw in the ad to the poses of prostitutes found in the windows of Amsterdam’s Red Light District.
Hoo mamash magzeem, as they’d say in Hebrew. That seems like an exaggeration.
If I squint (metaphorically, that is), I see kids assuming adult poses, handling a guitar and a skateboard, wearing bowties, throwing off sunglasses in a photo shoot while music plays with the refrain “fashion, fashion, fashion.” I see, ultimately, an utterly forgettable ad with kids playing dress up. Are the kids exploited? Maybe. Is it porn? Nope.
What do you think?