As the newest edition to the series ‘I can’t believe somebody would make that,’ British art designer Albert Pukies has created a fanny pack called the “Dadbag” that looks exactly like a middle-aged man’s beer belly. It even has hair.
What’s the point of these paunches? In terms of functionality, Pukies says they’re a great place to store “typical dad items, like beer, medicine, a sandwich, wallet, sunglasses, keys.” That’s right, a beer belly that can hold a couple cans of Budweiser, literally.
While the Dadbag is outwardly a practical product, Pukies purpose in creating it was apparently more about image. He claims he was “desperate to have a dad bod” but didn’t want to assume the associated health risks. What’s a “dad bod?” The designer says it’s a term a college student coined a few years ago in describing coeds going crazy over guys with “a nice balance between a beer gut and working out.”
Pukies admits that the Dadbag is “a pretty silly product,” which he originally had no intent to mass produce; however, given the interest the fanny pack has found, he’s decided to explore production partnerships with the idea of retailing the Dadbag for about $30.
If offered, there would be different versions of the bag, as Pukies has prototyped six separate styles featuring a range of skin tones and quantities of belly hair--qualities that caused one potential user to praise the product’s inclusivity. The designer has also demonstrated his marketing savvy by giving each style a distinct name: the Allen, the Derek, the Magnus, the Bobby, the Sherman, and even the sunburned Wolfgang.
So, what should we make of the Dadbag? Obviously, it’s an item to be taken with a grain of salt, not with complete seriousness—Some products are meant to be fun. However, at $30 a pop, it’s not like buying a whoopee cushion, dribble glass, or some other cheap gag gift. Besides the significant cash outlay, there are other factors that just make the Dadbag wrong :
1. Looks Disgusting: Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I bet most initial reactions to the Dadbag are a similar “Gross!” Such repulsiveness wouldn’t matter as much were it not for the facts that fanny packs are typically used in public and the hairy belly looks extremely real. So, wearing a Dadbag is like actual inappropriate exposure (e.g., a visible but crack) that no one should have to see.
2. Impractical: I suppose there are still some individuals who buy fanny packs, but it seems that most people prefer other means of carrying their valuables, e.g., pockets, purses, backpacks, etc. Plus, putting a couple of beer cans inside the Dadbag would make for a pretty heavy paunch. All that to say that producing Dadbags is probably not the best use of materials and time, i.e., it’s bad stewardship.
3. Denigrating Dads: As described above, the pack is objectionable for other reasons, but the fact that it’s called the Dadbag makes the offense even worse. Dads have taken exceptional abuse over recent years, including in advertising. They don’t need any more unflattering stereotypes. Yes, I’m a dad, so maybe I’m overly critical, but can you imagine a firm offering a similar product called a “Mombag”? The backlash would be brutal, and rightly so. Dads’ bodies deserve the same respect.
4. In Poor Taste: The Dadbag not only unfairly ridicules fathers, it also makes fun of something else that should be taken very seriously: fat. Many nations, like the United States, battle obesity epidemics that add billions of dollars to healthcare and cost millions of individuals their lives. What makes matters worse is that some other countries can’t get enough food, as many of their citizens live and die undernourished. In sum, belly fat is no laughing matter.
If there’s one potential virtue of the Dadbag, it’s that probably no one will try to steal anything from it. Beyond that benefit, the novelty fanny pack is interesting to talk about but unlikely to achieve significant demand. With that prediction and the pack’s associated social issues, the Dadbag is an unfortunate example of “Mindless Marketing.”