Okay, so my head is going ninety right now. I feel very let down and I feel I’ve let myself down and my readers, or should I say my followers on snapchat who seen where I was yesterday.

The other day the kids got a wonderful little invite to attend the world’s first toddler cinema premier with ToddleBox. Cool, right? ToddleBox is a website that shares parenting advice and recipes tailored for kids aged 1-3.

Anyways. In a follow-up email of our attendance, I was told there would be a ‘nutritionist’ giving a little talk, grand. But, this nutritionist worked for a big company, a company I now learnt makes two brands of formula. Hmmm… Alarm bells. Why would they have anything to do with the launch of a toddler-aimed website that shares recipes? Weird.

I questioned it, I was assured and I decided we’d go. The kids were going to have a ball. And they were showing Jungle Book. I love Jungle Book. During the talk, the nutritionist mentioned a percentage of toddlers in Ireland are not getting the required amounts of iron and Vitamin D. Okay. We live in Ireland and lack the sunshine and in all honesty what toddler eats lots of iron rich foods, I know I struggle. Fussy eaters and all that. But then I opened the kid’s goodie bags and there it was the big red flag. A formula brands name slapped across the kid’s goodies for the movie they were about to watch.

Not happy.

My kids ate them of course. I dare you to try to take treats, albeit healthy-ish ones off a three-year-old, a one-year-old and a nine-month-old. I’m certainly not brave enough.

So now I question why. Why was I, a parenting blogger, invited to this event? Obviously to be part of the launch of the ToddleBox and I believe it was to share the research that toddlers in Ireland are lacking iron and Vitamin D. I’ve never used follow-on-milk myself but I know it’s widely advertised as a source of iron and Vitamin D and aimed at toddler aged one to three. Sounds a bit suss to me.

Subliminal marketing?

Or very clever marketing?

Either way, it doesn’t sit right with me. It would have been nice to have been told beforehand so I could have made an informed decision about attending an event more or less ran by a formula company.

Also, just for clarification, I have no issues with formula feeding. I’m sure my regular readers would be fully aware of that. My issue is the sneaky marketing tactics of formula companies and their violation of the WHO code.

p.s I’m fully aware I will probably be blacklisted with PR companies across Ireland but you know what I would rather stay true to myself and call out a snake when I see one. 

Update: the organiser has got in touch and I’ve checked and yes she had in fact mentioned the company hosting the event in the original invite. But the link to formula was not made and consumers don’t know that this company is a formula brand and nor did I! I thought there’d be free yoghurt!

11 Comments on A Formula For Deceit…

  1. Jaysus! Fairly underhanded tactics from the PR company. That’s really not on. What was their goal – to “trick” bloggers into listening to the sales pitch? What’s the link between ToddleBox and the formula company? Did they get piggybacked unbeknownst to themselves? Very sharp practice all around there. A new low for formula marketeers.

  2. Gosh – that’s pretty underhand alright. I work in PR and I have to say that’s pretty shocking behaviour from the agency. I’d like to think that somebody just slipped up and failed to communicate the sponsor to you correctly, but it doesn’t sound that way! It’s a poor show from the formula company and the agency involved. Well done for speaking out. You won’t be on my black list anyway!

  3. This is how all the formula companies conduct their marketing. From day one in hospitals the midwives come streaming into your room with free samples of formula for you to give baby no matter how much you insist on breastfeeding. They are given this stuff by the companies and told to give it to the mothers at the earliest opportunity and do so.
    Even before that they have their ads and free samples in your info packs that you are given while still pregnant.
    The companies all use backdoor methods to push their products because they are not allowed to overtly advertise (and for good reason, in my opinon).
    It is quite shocking how they go about it sometimes.

  4. Hi Kellie,

    Look I really like your blog and what you stand for and I am not looking to start anything here, nor am I standing up for “the big formula companies” here, but did you even look at the site before hand? Danone are clearly mentioned in the about section

    • Hi Ellie, I knew it was Danone but I overlooked this as a yogurt company like Glenisk for example. I’m new to breastfeeding, I didn’t breastfeed my first three children. So there was no alarm bell connection on Danone being associated with the formula company goodies we received in the initial invite. Now if it had of been Nestle I would have known straight away.

      • I also emailed and asked was it to do with formula and I was told it was about getting toddlers to eat, portion sizes etc.
        It wasn’t till I saw the treats for the kids that I put two and two together. Call me naive or stupid but it should have been made clear in the beginning.

        • Go with your gut next time (gut never lies)! Was the talk a product push or was it more generic on nutrition for toddlers etc? What exactly did they give you in the goodie bag? Was is full of their products?

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