Sunday, March 06, 2011

Survey Says...

Jayson got a survey in the mail, addressed to him, from The Research Institute of Mother and Child Care in Pleasant Prairie, WI.

He is part of a "small group of parents randomly selected from around the country" to participate in the survey. Um, maybe a little too randomly? It says the purpose of the survey is to help them "understand current trends and suggest improvements to the products, services, and programs available for all infants".

It goes on to say that "the questions apply to the youngest infant in your home, regardless of whether you breastfeed or use infant formula". Since our youngest infant just turned 20 years old, I think Jayson is qualified to fill out a parenting questionnaire and should tell them all about his breastfeeding experiences.

The research director closes with, "Thank you and best wishes to you and your baby". How sweet. They even included a postage paid return envelope. Wait. A postage paid return envelope? Sent to a couple of empty nesters? Okay our nest isn't empty yet but that chick could take flight any day now. Anyway I thought that was an awfully costly mistake for a non-profit research institute to make.

Naturally, we had a little fun with the survey and it wasn't until I looked at it with my serious brain (yes, I do have one) that I started to get a little concerned. In addition to their obvious mailing error, I noticed there was just one tiny little question about breastfeeding and lots of very specific questions about the different brands of infant formulas and how Jayson chose his brand of formula, if that's what he uses. Something wasn't right.

So, I did what I do whenever I'm curious about something. I Googled it. If Google doesn't know it, it can't be known.

Sure enough I learned that the Research Institute of Mother and Child Care does not exist. It's a smokescreen used by Abbott Labs, the makers of Similac, to gather market research for their products. They've been doing this, quite successfully and unapologetically, for a number of years. Like 50 of them.

I'm all for market research and I don't care whether you breastfeed (why does Blogger want me to capitalize that?) or bottle feed as long as you feed your baby. If I was a new mom and Abbott Labs asked me to participate in market research, I would do it. Especially if they gave me some coupons in exchange. But I dont like being deceived. It's a little sleazy for them to present themselves as some kind goody good research institute that's all about the health of your infant when all they really want to know is how they can get an edge over their competitors so that you will choose their formula over the others.

Boo Abbott Labs, preying on exhausted new moms who don't have time to brush their teeth, much less be on the lookout for corporate vultures who are trying to take advantage of them. Shame on you.

You can read more about Abbott Lab's deceptive market research practices here:

This is the first time I've blogged from my phone. Can you tell? Is it all tiny? It wouldn't be so bad if I had a keyboard.

1 comment:

Shamayn said...

You can't tell this is from your phone. Looks normal...well, as normal as it can look.