Wednesday, November 22, 2006

They found us ...

Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is not to malign anyone who chooses formula. As a writer, editor and someone who has worked in public relations, I am always analyzing marketing material. I am particularly interested in marketing material that seems to play into people's fears.

In this week's mail, I received a lovely little booklet from Enfamil, a baby formula company, titled "Getting ready for a very special delivery." I expected a booklet full of information about formula and the benefits of using their brand in particular. What I got was information about labor and delivery and breast feeding. Very nice, but why is a formula company supplying information about breast feeding?

Then, in the very center of the booklet was an advertisement for their formula. The ad talked about "supplementing with formula," specifically their formula because it was found to be the closest to breast milk. What they don't tell you is that if you supplement breast milk with formula, your breast milk supply will begin to diminish. Supplementing with formula is the first step in weaning your baby and turning you into a baby formula customer -- which is what they want.

Incidentally, this is the same formula company that supplies what they call a "Smart Bag" free to women in hospitals all over the country. Here's how they describe it: Customized design for breastfeeding moms; lots of storage room; a sample of Enfamil LIPIL Infant Formula, should you decide to supplement with formula. I fail to see how any bag would be specially designed for breastfeeding moms. All you need to breastfeed is a boob. There are no special supplies to buy, much to the chagrin of the baby marketing machine.

Isn't this kind of like Philip Morris publishing booklet about the dangers of smoking and including an advertisement for Marlboros? Or a food company supplying health information, but telling customers that if they must eat unhealthy, use our product because it's better for you than other junk food?

So, now the baby marketing machine has our address and they seem to know that our "big day is almost here." That phrase was printed on the first page of the booklet. How did they know? Scary. I'm curious to see what else turns up in my mailbox.

1 comment:

Suck alot Sophie said...
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