Which would you rather pass on to you children, a love of the outdoors or a love of brands?
My connection with the natural world started early in life. Nowadays, for lots of babies, brands that get to them first, or at least to their parents.
Bounty is the firm whose sales reps tour maternity units with product samples for all new mothers in the UK. They know that the vulnerability, exhaustion and confusion of new parenthood is rich soil in which to sow relationships with brands. Bounty knows that we tend to carry on using the brand of nappy or detergent that we first use. In our mind, the smell of the detergent sample on our baby's clothes is strongly associated with the smell of the baby. We put these memories into what brand guru Michael Wolff describes as our "brain file" for that brand. A little bit of our parental love rubs off on the product.
Bounty has come under attack for exploiting the sense that they are on important government business (they distribute child benefit forms). They imply that you need to give them all your personal data in order to get child benefit. The company's sales reps are accused of insensitive behaviour and taking advantage of new mothers in an environment where you tend do as you are told by trusted healthcare professionals.
An article in the Guardian last week set out these concerns. Bounty, it said, had no business on maternity wards. The government should withdraw the contract allowing the company to distribute the Child Benefit tax forms. Withdraw the contract and you withdraw Bounty's legitimacy in hospitals.
A petition on Change.org, is demanding just this. Over 25,000 people have signed already. Please join them if you agree.
When, making PROJECT WILD THING, we created the OUT AND ABOUT pack - a simple leaflet that explains to new parents the benefits of time outside with even very young babies. We tried to figure out how to get these into maternity wards. We contacted Bounty, but for no clear reason, they said no. Fortunately, the NHS stepped in and now the pack is going into maternity hospitals.
But is OUT AND ABOUT any better than Bounty? We are attempting to sell nature to mothers when they are at their most receptive and vulnerable.
Unlike Bounty, I don't want their personal details. And my product is free. And it's good emotionally and physically for both mother and baby. But apart from that, it's just like soap powder.
Find out more about the BountyMutiny campaign.