I was alerted to a press release on Twitter discussing a partnership between Disney and Similac. The release states:
We are very excited to introduce a brand new Similac partner opportunity — Pediatric Kits! It’s just announced but we’ve already brought in Blairex and Olan Mills as new partners. Similac will be delivering over 2 million Ped Kits to OB/GYN offices all over the country this year. That’s a great way for the right brands to meet new moms and their little bundles of joy! It’s been an amazing few years working with Abbot Nutrition. We’ve seen the Similac program double in terms of new partners and we’ve been a part of helping monitize the initiative with over a million dollars in new revenue.
Also, this just in: we’re pleased to announce the recent signing of Disney as one of our newest Similac Co-op partners. Look for exclusive Disney offerings in our Similac Discharge kits beginning this Fall.
Reading this, I am absolutely horrified. First of all, the so called “Pediatric Kits” are nothing more than items designed to undermine breastfeeding. These kits are given out with coupons and formula and bottles so that mothers have them within ready access. If something is difficult with breastfeeding and the mom does not have the help they need to breastfeed, these “kits” come in handy. The middle of the night desperation is exactly what the formula companies are banking on.
The partnership idea is particularly gross to me because these companies add something else to the kit – something that is appealing to an even wider group. Breastfeeding mothers who would otherwise refuse the kit, may take it because of cereal, clothing, or Disney coupons or samples (things that have nothing to do with breastfeeding). Once that kit is in the house, the undermining of breastfeeding happens.
Finally, it is clear that this is all revenue driven because the release discusses the money that they are making! These kits are not about helping out new moms, they are about selling a product. The only way to sell formula is if people are not breastfeeding. A way to stop people from breastfeeding is to market formula in sneaky and underhanded ways like giving out “pediatric kits” in hospitals full of formula and coupons to Disney.
I wish companies like Disney would support breastfeeding. Breastfeeding lounges in hospitals sponsored by Disney or other companies could be an interesting thing. The company could promote their brand, while giving much needed funds to help breastfeeding mothers.
Food for thought.