Friday, May 14, 2010

New Nestle WHO Code Violation:

After the EPIC FAIL that was the Nestle Family blogger event back in September of 2009, Nestle smartly retreated from the world of social media since they realized they were in over their heads and were doing it wrong. But Nestle won't be kept down for long! They've now transitioned their formula from being called Nestle Good Start to Gerber Good Start (Nestle bought Gerber for $5 billion in 2007). The Gerber Brand is getting a makeover and they are targeting us and our babies, the new "Gerber Generation" with a campaign called Start Healthy, Stay Healthy.

Starting out healthy in life, according to Nestle & Gerber, means infant formula, followed by packaged cereal, pureed jarred foods and packaged meals for toddlers full of sodium and preservatives.

Since they know better now than to try and use mom bloggers for their campaigns, they've turned to the internet and partnered with House If you're not familiar with how House Party works, essentially you sign up on the website and seek out brands you already like or would like to evaluate. If you're selected to host a party for the brand in your home, they send you a box of goodies for yourself and your guests and ask that you share your experience, including any photos or videos, on their site. According to House Party's sponsorship page:

"House Party puts brands in the center of specially designed parties that take place across the country in the homes of carefully selected consumer Hosts. These specially qualified Party Hosts invite their friends, family, neighbors, classmates and co-workers into their homes to experience these uniquely fun parties and the products they feature, delivering an authentic and valuable party experience to consumers and a powerful branding and sales-driving event for marketers."

Tomorrow night, moms and moms-to-be across the country will be hosting "baby showers" sponsored by Gerber and House They will be expected to share Nestle & Gerber's propaganda with their guests, including these gems from the party favors kit.

Notice they haven't said at what age you can start adding in solids, but most babies can sit up with support well before they are 6 months old, the recommended age for adding in complementary foods.

After that, you can play the "Match the Milestones!" game, where guests are asked to match a Gerber product to an age range. The answer sheet tells you that Good Start formula is for infants and the rice cereal is for supported sitters, and 2nd food purees are for sitters. Helpful!

So what else came in this party favor kit?

Party hosts across the country are eagerly awaiting their Gerber Generation Celebration Party Packs!

The FREE party pack includes:
For hosts:
  • 1 color welcome banner
  • 6 rolls of color streamers
  • 15 color balloons
  • 50 napkins, 20 plastic cups, 20 plastic plates
  • 24 spoons, 24 forks
  • GERBER products from each Start Healthy, Stay Healthy™ stage for display
  • 1 can of GERBER® GOOD START® PROTECT PLUS® formula
  • 1 GERBER® Probiotic & DHA Rice Cereal
  • 1 two-pack GERBER® SmartNourish™ Premium 2nd FOODS® Purees
  • 1 four-pack GERBER® Simply Pear Flavor Yogurt* Blends
  • 1 can of GRADUATES® LIL’ CRUNCHIES® Snacks
  • 1 four-pack GERBER® GRADUATES® Strawberry Banana Flavor Yogurt* Blends Snacks
  • 1 three-pack GRADUATES® SMART SIPS® dairy beverage
For hosts and guests:
16 GERBER insulated back packs packed with:
  • Variety of product coupons
  • GERBER bib
  • Start Healthy, Stay Healthy™ Baby’s Health Record
  • Start Healthy, Stay Healthy™ Nutrition Guide
  • Start Healthy, Stay Healthy™ Breastfeeding booklet
  • A Baby’s First Days CD
  • Breastmilk storage bags
  • A NUK® orthodontic nipple
  • 1 3-pack GRADUATES® SMART SIPS® dairy beverages

Quick, how many WHO Code violations do you spot on that list? Well, of course there's the can of formula for the host and the NUK nipple for the guests. Erin already broke down what kind of breastfeeding information you will get from a formula company, but I was curious what variety of "product coupons" guests would receive, but the ladies who signed up for the House Party confirmed my suspicions.

So Nestle has found  new and interesting ways to violate the WHO Code and use word of mouth and social media marketing to their advantage. The way these moms are fawning over the products and the fact that thousands of pregnant women will go home with a coupon for free formula after these parties really sickens me. Particularly in light of the new study that found that people will listen more to anecdotes from family and friends and put more stock in their advice, even if it runs counter to research and evidence-based best practices. 

The best thing we can do at this point is to continue to educate family and friends and boycott Nestle products whenever possible. For an updated list on the stuff you'll need to avoid, check out Amy's post at Crunchy Domestic Goddess. 

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