Yesterday a young friend of mine from South America, currently living in Boston, showed me a mysterious package she had received in the mail. She didn’t know what it was and didn’t know what to do with it, since she hadn’t ordered it. Apparently in her country valuable merchandise isn’t sent through the mail unsolicited (if at all)!
The package consisted of two large cans of baby formula powder: one Isomil and one Similac, both Abbott products. They were covered in shrink wrap –no plain brown envelope or anything like that– and there was a little blurb on the side reminding the recipient to ask for her free gift bag in the hospital.
When I told her what it was and said, “Someone thinks you’re pregnant,” she was more than a little embarrassed.
Then it occurred to me that this mailing must be part of an attempt to get around hospital and state bans on giving out baby formula in the hospital, which I’ve written about before. It’s a clever marketing ploy that I wouldn’t have thought of.
I went to the Abbott Nutrition website and sent an inquiry to the company explaining what happened and asking how my friend got on the list. I received a reply within a few hours stating that the mailing was part of the “Strong Moms” program and asking me to send my friend’s name so they could determine the source of the signup. (I’ve just replied so we’ll see what they come up with.)
One thing that surprised me was that when I sent the email inquiry I was required to divulge a lot of information including full name, address, phone number and email. I don’t understand why all of that is required. It seems like email address alone should be sufficient and the rest optional.
Meanwhile I’m planning to donate the products to a food pantry. I hope it won’t cause anyone to stop breastfeeding.