Corporate sponsorship restricts freedom of choice

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Stacey
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Corporate sponsorship restricts freedom of choice

Post by Stacey » Wed Aug 01, 2007 2:09 pm

Corporate sponsorship restricts freedom of choice
Snazzipants Media Release
www.snazzipants.co.nz
Authors: Rose Carlyle and Pippa Jinks
31th July 2007


Plunket Society blocks advertising by cloth nappy companies because of Huggies sponsorship


When young parents visit their local Plunket nurse to talk about baby care, you assume that the information they receive is unbiased, and allows them to make their own choices. However, it has become apparent that Kimberly-Clark, who produce Huggies disposable nappies, have bought silence from all local Plunket Societies on the subject of cloth nappies.

An Auckland-based reusable nappy company, Snazzipants, has recently been denied advertising space in the Milford Plunket newsletter – distributed to around 300 families. Snazzipants is a family-run business, locally manufacturing reusable nappies as well as importing products from overseas. It has been running for four years as an online business, and recently opened a retail shop in the Auckland suburb of Milford.

After being contacted by the local Plunket Secretary and asked to advertise in the local Plunket newsletter, Snazzipants placed a $55 advert. However, a day later, Susan Rae, of the Milford branch of Plunket, phoned, embarrassed to admit that although she had sought the advertising, Plunket were not able to accept an advert from a cloth nappy company. Director and mother-of-two Pippa Jinks and her business partner Maria were astonished to be told that the head office of the Plunket Society had vetoed the advert as reusable nappies are in competition with Huggies. Kimberly-Clark is the largest sponsor of Plunket.

This is all the more surprising given that the cloth nappy market is very small in comparison to the disposable nappy market. Since more than 90% of all nappy changes in New Zealand are still made with disposable nappies, a newsletter distributed to 300 families would seem to be inconsequential. Plunket’s choice to align itself with the disposable giant is a serious form of censorship.

Plunket is not the only organisation to forbid cloth nappy advertising in local newsletters. Parents Centre New Zealand has forbidden centres around the country from naming any brands of reusable nappies in their antenatal classes because of a contract with Huggies. Athough volunteers are allowed to discuss reusable nappies in general terms, they may not tell people where to go to buy them. Local Parents Centres are forbidden to enter into any new relationships with cloth nappy companies who wish to advertise in their newsletters.

Susan Rae of Milford Plunket said that after three years using disposable nappies, she made the switch to cloth by ordering products from Canada – unaware that three blocks down from her house was the specialist Snazzipants cloth nappy shop!

Reusable nappies are a huge cost saving for young families, and the obvious benefits in terms of reduction of hazardous landfill material would make anyone think that organisations who claim to support young families would be happy to provide information on such a beneficial change. Is it even legal for Plunket and Huggies to deny advertising in such a way to a company providing information on an alternative option to disposables, rather than a competing disposable product?

Where to next for Snazzipants – a small company with an annual turnover of a couple of hundred thousand dollars –how can they take on a global corporation? “Times are changing in New Zealand and more and more people are realising there are other options to throwing away 7 plastic nappies a day for 3 years, creating a ton or two of biohazard waste that won’t break down!” say the directors. “Unfortunately they have to hunt us down – as we are not allowed to advertise in the most accessible parenting forums.”

We wonder whether the mums and dads who put their hands into their own pockets each year when the Plunket collector knocks on their door are aware that they are supporting an organisation which has given up all pretense of offering unbiased advice?
Last edited by Stacey on Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Stacey
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Post by Stacey » Wed Aug 01, 2007 2:13 pm

Discussion thread has been moved to off-topic chat - sorry, I forgot to lock the thread. This area is non-reply, but discussion of Media Releases is encouraged within the registered areas of the forum :)

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