January 25, 2010
Medela, makers of a line breastfeeding and bottle-feeding supplies, has chosen to ignore the World Health Organization Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (WHO Code) by launching a new marketing program entitled "Medela Mom Mavens". The program works by asking current and previous breastfeeders to search out and discuss with other breastfeeding moms the benefits of Medela products, including Medela's line of bottles. This request violates WHO Code, articles 5.1 and 5.5, which state respectively "There should be no advertising or other form of promotion to the general public of products within the scope of this Code,", including bottles, and "Marketing personnel, in their business capacity, should not seek direct or indirect contact of any kind with pregnant women or with mothers of infants and young children." 1
Medela Mom Mavens who join the team are asked to speak to mothers online in forums and through social media outlets, as well as face to face in general conversation and at mom gatherings. Medela then asks the "Mavens" to report their conversations back to the company to benefit their marketing initiative.
More information on the campaign can be found at "“Medela Mom Mavens”: The Social Media Spam Offensive" on the blog Hayden About Town.
1 World Health Organization Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/code_english.pdf