Bit of a rant on marketing to parents

milton mini steriliser

JJ doesn’t really watch very much TV – he’s an active boy and has never had the attention span for much other than a bit of Mr Tumble and some Postman Pat every now and again. However this morning he requested Peppa Pig on Channel 5 after breakfast and before us leaving the house for the day. I was in the room finishing off my tea when the adverts came on – obviously all geared towards children and parents. Most of it washed over me but one ad made me sit up and take notice. It was for a Milton Soother Steriliser. It has probably been on the market for about a year but this was the first I’d heard of it. My first reaction was “what a brilliant idea! I wish this had been available four years ago”. Then I started thinking about it.

Firstly JJ used a dummy very soon after birth. He was a colicky baby and a dummy was pretty much the only thing that soothed him a lot of the time. When they’re very little the sterilisation issue isn’t really relevant because they are only going to be dropping it out of their mouths into cots/prams etc. However once he reached the sitting up in a pushchair/ chucking things around stage those dummies were flying all over the place, dropping out onto pavements, the floor of the supermarket, the grass at the park, etc. At that point I’m sure I began worrying about cleanliness and may have still been sterilising bottles and popped a dummy or two in with them on occasion, but on the whole, a quick swipe with a baby wipe has always sufficed.

Needless to say JJ at four and EJ at one are in the best of health, they haven’t succumbed to “bacteria, viruses, funguses and spores” (the things which Milton claim to eradicate with their little device). Maybe they’ve just got lucky? But I think not. I believe that this is just another attempt to squeeze money out of us vulnerable mums with emotive language and seemingly genuine concern for our children’s health and safety. This product sets you back £6.99 and then you have to factor in repeat purchases of the sterilisation tablets. Its really rather devious and clever when you think about it.

Only the other day I was commenting on Cleopatra’s blog post talking of all the ways in which we become neurotic when we give birth. The subject of her current neuroses is car seats and the debate over whether or not to fork out a small fortune for a rear-facing car seat. Yes the statistics show that they are the safest for your child but no, that doesn’t mean good quality forward facing seats are death traps either – a fact that most people seem to conveniently forget when criticising you for your penny pinching.

My children have done without: baby monitors; any kind of cot motion sensor; stairgates; and child safety locks on cupboards to name a few items generally considered to be parenting “must-haves” and neither has suffered. It may mean that we have needed to be more vigilant but what’s wrong with that? Engaging more with your children and teaching them to be careful and safe isn’t such a bad thing!

Anyway, if this post can dissuade just one person to let go of their anxieties, resist the brainwash and back away from the dummy steriliser then my work here is done!!

5 thoughts on “Bit of a rant on marketing to parents

    • That’s what I’m thining Denise. I see so much cotton wool parenting going on and the marketers love it! I remember an episode of the Apprentice one year where the teams were given the option of trying to sell a helmet thing that you were supposed to just strap on your child during their day to day lives (just in case they fell over, etc) – thank god they listened to the market research from some sensible people who just said – how ridiculous!

  1. I couldn’t have said this better myself. Beautifully put. Reading back on my post, I can’t believe I had a slip in judgement and lost my usually steeled nerve. But that’s how the b*****d marketers get to you! Thank you for confirming what I already knew and should never have doubted! x

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