Copy Talk

A Meditation on the Diaper Ads Being Served During Broad City

While watching an episode of Broad City, a comedy show “centered around the lives of low income, struggling women and their friendships” according to Wikipedia, I noticed a strange trend in the ads.

(First, it should be noted I was watching the show on my computer. Secondly, this should not be a thing that needs to be noted.)

In every ad, there was a parent and a kid. Swiffer—dad and son. Nyquil—dad and son. Dayquil—mom and daughter. And then: babies. A Pampers ad followed by a Luvs ad. Next break, a Luvs ad followed by a Pampers ad.

Broad City’s main characters, Abbi and Ilana, are “broke and flawed” per the show’s official description and “hapless 20-somethings with no ambition, talent or self-respect” per the New York Times. They’re unpolished. They smoke. They steal office supplies and lotion from the gym. Why in the world are diaper brands buying these ad slots?

I want to find the logic in this decision. I am determined to find it.

After much rumination, I’ve concluded that these diaper brands could only be thinking one of a few possible things:

1. Irresponsible 20-somethings > unprotected sex > babies > massive demand for diapers. And every diaper brand knows, you gotta get ’em young.

2. Moms don’t buy diapers anymore! C’mon! Their mostly clueless nannies do. And what do nannies watch? Stoner comedies. It relaxes them.

3. New parents pine for the drama and drugs of days long past. (But they also want to laugh). (And they’re into inventive, fast-paced video editing). (And appreciate racially diverse supporting casts).

4. The idea of stay-at-home moms who sing lullabies and read picture books in sweet, melodic tones is a pipe dream from the 1950s. What the modern mom loves is recreational drugs and casual sex and video chatting her BFF from the bathroom floor. Every diaper brand with a research team worth its salt knows that.

5. The ads aren’t meant to target parents at all. These diaper brands are branching out into the not-very-tall-adults-who-have-trouble-holding-it-but-still-want-to-look-cool market. Apparently, it’s growing.

I never thought of diaper brands as forward-thinkers in the media buying space, but clearly they’re leading the way in strategies that says no to logic and yes to female-driven stoner comedies. Go, diaper brands, go.

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