Monday, June 13, 2011

"Moms Against Cooties" - PR Fail

I noticed that one of the searches someone had used to find my blog was "Moms Against Cooties", so I thought I'd post a quick run-down.

The "Moms Against Cooties" site/campaign is a group that is run by a marketing firm hired by one of the Chlorine Industry's trade groups, hiding behind the name "Water Quality and Health Council".

They are soliciting posts from mom bloggers and other parenting blogs and sites to promote their campaign, which centers around posters that parents are advised to hand out to "daycare" centers advising them to sanitize with bleach (see the chlorine connection now?). The campaign also links to a similar group of sites advising parents to disinfect with chlorine bleach at home.

The problem is that all child care centers in the U.S already disinfect with bleach, because it is part of their health and safety standards, so there is no actual point to the posters. One blogger with a degree in Early Childhood education sent them an email pointing this out, and also mentioning that the posters therefore served no purpose, other than to make mothers feel more worried or guilty about having to use outside child care, and possibly harming the relationship between mother and caregiver by making the mom look uninformed and seeming to insinuate that the care worker may be ignorant or needs to be told how to do their job properly.

On top of those concerns, I also have major issues with these "moms groups" and campaigns that almost always turn out to be be the product of some corporate interest and/or marketing company. It's so obvious that they just see us as some target group to direct and influence so they can sell us more of whatever the product du jour is. This particular campaign gets extra points by referencing "cooties" instead of germs, like our brains reverted to playground-speak when we had children.

For parents more interested in cutting down on germs and keeping their children healthy than in just selling more bleach, healthychild.org has a great post listing Alternatives to Antibacterials and Disinfectants. Of course, the very best thing to prevent to spread of germs in child care programs, at home, and at school, is to teach and remind our children to wash their hands frequently using soap and warm water, and to try not to touch their faces.


Sources:
"Moms Against Cooties" aka the Chlorine Industry - PhD in Parenting
Marketing Fail - Baleful Regards

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