Megnut

My open conversation with marketers

The other day I got myself all worked up thinking about the Mom 2.0 Summit, "An Open Conversation Between Moms and Marketers" that's currently happening in New Orleans. The gist of my rage: why not organize mom bloggers to exert their influence on real change for things like decent paid maternity/paternity leave, affordable child care, flex time, equal pay for equal work, etc.? But my anger has cooled a bit, and I'm thinking that if I were having an open mom conversation with marketers, I'd start with a few points:

1. Please stop trying to sell me something I don't need. A newborn baby needs: someplace to sleep, limited amount of clothes, some diapers, and lots of love. Maybe a bottle and formula if breast feeding isn't an option. That's it. Enough will all the other crap to buy for babies. Big kids need even less.

2. Really please stop using fear and guilt as a tactic to sell me something I don't need, like eight zillion kinds of baby-proofing items and cages to corral kids and leashes so they don't run away, etc.

3. Do something about all the cross-promotional commercial crap that's being produced and invest in original content and ideas. Keep your Disney Princess off my lunch box. If you can't come up with something original, I'd take Cleopatra instead, or Queen Elizabeth I.

4. Enough with the gender-specific junk, can we have a season of bright colors for all kids? Market orange as the new pink, and red or green as the new blue.

5. Help moms do more with less, whether that's less time, less money, less space.

Ok, so that's more than a few. But that's where I'd start. You?

There are 10 responses

I'd stop after the first paragraph. Mom bloggers, get off the me-me-me track, stop encouraging marketers to give you more and more free stuff in exchange for writing about it (you are getting so little in value compared to what the companies are getting from you), and pool your voices to work on social issues that have real benefit to all moms. Thanks, Meg, for putting into words what I've been feeling about blogging in general lately. As a food blogger (not in the "mom blogger" demographic), I've been asking exactly the same question. Why aren't we doing more with the platform we've created?

You nailed it. I'm trying to think of something to add, but the push for over-consumption is my biggest complaint. All of your points are great but your initial assertion to use mom-power for social change and #5 are the most crucial in my opinion.

I love this. I am not yet a Mom, but having friends who are mothers who I find covering their girls' heads with giant pink bows and fueling their obsessions with Dora/Diego, it almost frightens me to have a kid and thinking I am in the wrong. So thank you, for making me feel like the sane one. :)

Mommybloggers (and I say this as one myself): when marketers have a product that is sugar-laden junk food masquerading as "yogurt" or other healthy food, please call them out on it. We all know the difference, and we should let the marketers know that we're no fools.

Why would you expect anyone to hop off the gravy train? As soon as they're on board, why would they hop off? They've already sold their ethics. They gain nothing by hopping off and lose their income stream.

thanks for this post, meg... you've nailed exactly what I am feeling about being a mom and parent in this modern world and then some...

why not organize the conference you refer to yourself, with some help from your friends and readers of course!... i am happy to volunteer although it will have to be from Toronto :)

on a somewhat related note, I am attending the conference event below in a few weeks time... it's the complete anti-thesis to Mom 2.0 and I can't wait to dig in and meet some moms hopped up on making a real change in the world...

Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI)Presents:
International Conference on Motherhood Activism, Advocacy, Agency
May 12-14, 2011, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org/motherhoodactivism.html

I don't think that it is the marketers fault. As a blogger, I definitely take my share of swag but I like to think I have integrity. If I can dress my kid for free, YES I am going to do it and type up a 200 word post about it - But I am not going to accept clothing I wouldn't ordinarily pay for. Time and money are both valuable and as a blogger doing reviews, you have to weigh that. If I can get a $50 item (that I want and would consider purchasing) for writing a piece that takes less than an hour... Well, I don't make $50/hour at my day job, so that's a pretty good deal.

That said, when bloggers agree to talk about potato chips and Lysol, they give us all a bad name and encourage the marketers. Same goes for link exchanges! It's supply & demand. The giveaway craze (And I do enter giveaways for quality items) fuels this fire because it gives a false sense of traffic - Blogs have thousands of visitors just by making it a requirement to follow in order to enter a giveaway.

I may have gotten way off topic but my point is, bloggers should have integrity in what they accept to review and write about, and the shady marketers will have no one left to target.

Good point about the colors though! I am so over the pink and blue.

I love this post, Meg. Especially the first paragraph. It would be helpful if mom bloggers would stop tearing each other apart and unite for common goals like you stated clearly above. It just seems like more fun or easier for a lot of people to snark about the press Heather Armstrong gets (remember that Maytag deal?) or about the donations/press that Stephanie Nielson gets.

Maybe it's time for a new Seneca Falls convention -- just don't let Nestle sponsor it.

@Janine: I equally blame marketers and "bloggers" that shill. I use quotes because taking stuff for free and writing about it, especially when it's crap, isn't what I consider blogging. (Though surely many, heck maybe most, do.)

And while marketers are just doing their job, I see their job in the broadest sense as trying to convince us to buy products that we don't need, products that are often deleterious to ourselves and our families.

These folks are on my radar though I don't yet know much about them -- I do like the message. http://www.motherpac.org/

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