Friday, May 17, 2013

Judging, Guilt, and the formula company...what is the StrongMoms Campaign really all about?

What is it about Moms, judgment, and guilt that can push a formula maker to support a campaign just about that very topic? In case you haven’t heard about Similac and the StrongMoms Campaign, you’re not missing out on much, except free formula to those Moms that sign up. The marketing tactic of this company at first seems innocent enough except they are benefiting with having another way to access your information. Attempting to help women stop fighting against each other meanwhile gaining access to your email address to bombard your inbox with coupons “too good to resist” seems sneaky and unethical by my book. Don’t get me wrong. I agree that judgment and guilt are terrible when it comes to the choices we make for our children. It starts with how we feed them, then toilet training them, how often we bathe them, and so on. However this campaign bothers me. Making formula is a business. A business just like any other that follows a business model to maintain or sustain levels of revenue made by a product. This product is in the form of milk that has been formulated to emulate breast milk. It exists for a reason but instead of being the exception, it has become the standard and just like any other business the formula makers in the 1930s and 40s saw an opportunity to make money then which still is true today. Their business benefited at a time when women were joining the workforce and pumps weren’t as efficient as they are today. For many years and several generations that’s what most Moms did, formula fed so the formula companies benefited. Now that this is changing, we are having a push from this business model to find a way in to market to Moms. In comes the StrongMoms campaign.

Now let’s explore this concept for a moment. What if there was a campaign using the same premise of not judging sponsored by McDonalds. Word for word this is what it would look like:

Take the Strong[Women] Empowerment Pledge

It’s not easy being a [Woman] in today’s world.

Women face tremendous pressure to make the “perfect”

[womanly] decisions, only to be judged or criticized by other [women].

I pledge to create a more supportive and less judgmental environment

by empowering [women] to feel good about the decisions they make.

…I took the pledge to support [women]. Strong[Women] EMPOWER

brought to you by McDonalds

What would you think was going on? Would you think…”oh look how nice, McDonalds is trying to be more supportive of women not judging each other?” Or would you question their motives especially when to “take the pledge” it requires you to give them your name and email address. None of it adds up. My apologies to McDonalds for having to use them as an example, and like it is said of formula, it exists for a reason and it has its place. Formula makers need to realize that breast milk is free and to compete with it, would mean convincing Moms that it is the same, when we know it isn’t. But because something isn’t the same doesn’t make it poison. Formula should just clean up their act and stop getting caught in controversial topics like Moms judging each other because in order to win that argument, they might have to go back to the beginning of time, when formula didn’t exists and yet I bet women still judged each other.

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