Hey @GeekMom, Oops! I tinkled in my diaper #TweetPee

So how does a brand make diapers more exciting than diaper changes, in the age of social media? Global stalwart agency Ogilvy Brazil, with some of the world’s greatest advertising accolades in their bag, had this mammoth task of innovating for Huggies diapers. Come July 2013, TweetPee will be a reality to social media savvy parents in Brazil. A thumbs up or thumbs down? So far the media traction has not been pleasing.

So how does TweetPee work? A device that senses humidity levels is attached to a baby’s (Huggies) diaper in the crotch area. This device is synced with the parent’s iPhone through an app. When the baby pees, the device senses a rise in humidity and sends a tweet to the parent’s handle. This only works when the baby does a number 1, no device for number 2 yet. Maybe hold out for Google Nose?

The iPhone app monitors and tallies diaper changes, sending out warnings to the parent when they are about to run out of diapers.

The #TweetPee device affixed to the baby’s crotch

There is an option to then purchase Huggies diapers online if running low. The parents can also look into the ‘patterns’ of diaper use and plan out how many diapers are needed for the coming month based on the ‘usage data.’ There’s the emergence of big data we’ve all been waiting for in everyday parenting(!)

This device, which probably uses a battery to power up, must have a radio that enables it to send the updates. For parents, the idea of a gadget that transmits radio frequency around your baby’s genitalia is a cause for concern. There has been some probing into whether radio frequency from cellular technology contributes to cancer. Given that babies are more vulnerable than adults, this probe, whether proven or not can be enough to discredit TweetPee. In fact, the probe could illicit a serious backlash against the brand. One wonders if Ogilvy Brazil and Huggies thought of this.

In all fairness, this innovation is not the easiest to launch, considering the segment targeted. Parents, especially new parents, are a group plagued by judgement and an affinity for parenting perfection. They judge each other harshly and the world judges them harshly too. They may shy away from TweetPee for fear of being dubbed an incompetent parent. Before launch, the product is already being associated with lazy parenting, distracted moms and utter madness. One colleague says “Huggies is just taking the piss with this one,” while another says the product is for moms who would rather be on Twitter than tend to their children. These are not the kind of comments Huggies would want to be associated with TweetPee, and this is just in my work universe.

Netizens have decimated the invention, one netizen calling it one of the most idiotic technological invention since the Budweiser Buddy Cup. Ouch! Mo Hamman calls it the app for microwaving infant genitals, while Janice Jackson asks why parents would be ignoring their child for a device. Another user sarcastically says, “Finally, I felt like I had way too much contact with my baby already.  Now I can add this to my robot rocker and modified automatic pet feeder and my infant should be completely self-sustained.” Not good for Huggies at all.

On another note though, one must applaud the genius of connecting this invention to an online shopping portal for Huggies diapers. That will certainly facilitate the measurement of the impact of the invention through online sales.

Could this be a case of buying into hype, for Huggies? Especially after the baby waves that Evian caused with their Live Young campaign littered with babies? We all know that the newest measurement of success, albeit incorrect, is ‘viral’ and brands will seize every opportunity to go viral, however idiotic the means. Agencies will tell you they have encountered briefs where the goal is to be viral. However wrong that is, as marketers and creatives, that is the reality of our world. For now, let’s see how the TweetPee pans out.

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