01 March 2012

My Children Are Not Advertising For You

My open letter to Seventh Generation regarding the incredible hypocrisy of advertising "The Lorax" (Movie) on my son's diapers:

Wow.  I have rarely been this disappointed in a company.  I have a standing order with Amazon to order your diapers as backup to the cloth diapers we use most often.  I was shocked and disgusted to open up the newest package and find MARKETING on the diapers.  I have been using these diapers for 3 and a half years, when my first child was born, and this is the first time I've ever had to return a shipment.  I used to use these diapers as one of the few tools available to help keep my children free from marketing.  If you want to advertise on my children, you will pay money.  If you want to brand my children, you will pay me a LOT of money.

What I consider the worst part is that the Lorax is one of my children's favorite books, and it is about avoiding rampant consumerism that destroys the environment.  Where should the Lorax be advertised?  On cloth diapers.  On sewing and repair kids.  Perhaps even laundry detergent that has zero ecological impact and helps your clothes last longer.  Or, better yet, NOWHERE.  It doesn't help that half or more of these diapers will be used on kids who are too young to be wasting their babyhood and toddlerhood in front of a television or movie screen.  They should be reading books, of which I once would have highly recommended The Lorax.  After all, this movie is rated PG- it isn't even geared toward 2 year olds, and certainly not younger children!

One of my concerns with marketing is the low quality products and values added through the marketing.  Highly marketed brands create low quality and poorly written follow-on books, trying to get kids to prefer an inferior product due to their favorite character on the bottle, cheaply made toys with no play value.  These diapers show the epitome of poor quality marketing:  the print quality is low, the 'design' seems more geared toward getting my pre-literate son to recognize the brand, and it adds no value or interest to the diaper whatsoever.  The book is filled with Seuss's enchanting artwork, and I'm sure the images from the upcoming movie are also attractive, yet this diaper has an ugly, poorly printed image of 4 or 5 loraxes on it.  That is not to say that quality work would make it okay to advertise on or to my children- it would just remove my utter disappointment that everything I encounter marketed to kids is just junk- useless stuff that will end up in the garbage sooner than later. 

The diaper also says, "Lorax Approved".  What on earth is that supposed to mean?  That a product that is made to be disposable, to occupy land fills for generations to come.  Would the spokesperson for the trees, mammals, birds, and fish of the forest really endorse this kind of product? 

We have been using disposable diapers about 30% of the time, as a backup for our cloth diapers.  However, seeing this kind of insipid marketing on the land-fill diapers I had become accustomed to using is just what I need to get back to using cloth diapers and wipes exclusively.  Should I thank you for that?

The question remains whether I should return the diapers for a refund of our hard earned money, or keep them as an example to share with family and friends of the hypocrisy involved with the 'Lorax Approved' stamp.  I would rather my child poo on a disney or sesame street character, because at least I don't expect more from those brands.

What do I want from you?  I want you to end the hypocrisy and remove the Lorax from any product for which an ecological replacement exists.  I want you to significantly reduce the price for products where you are getting paid to advertise media.  I want an apology for this amazing lack of forethought or integrity. 

Please be aware that this is an open letter to Seventh Generation.  This and all future correspondence will be published on my blog, www.willfulparenting.com.  Thank you for your time.

Response Post:  Seventh Generation Response


  1. Wendy ... Good for you for standing up for your children's integrity. You make very good points in your letter. My son is 8 now, and honestly I'd have to raise him under a rock to avoid media/marketing. It's frustrating, but eventually you'll be able to explain the manipulation that's going on. And I've found that he understands. He still wants the product with the logo, but he understands why we avoid it. Good luck! :)

  2. I was irritated when I opened the new package of SG diapers too! Boo to them selling out. I was going to do a post about it, without realizing other people were fired up about it. What did you end up doing? Keeping the diapers? I wonder when they'll stop producing the Lorax image and give us back the normal plain diapers....

  3. Hi, Tessa, we did end up using the package that I opened, but I think I will donate the other 3 packages to a local charity.

    mygradschoolblog, I will be very happy when the boys are old enough to learn the principles involved! For the time being, I will continue to seek brands and manufacturers that are worthy of my trust.

    I can recommend Nuture Babycare diapers- they are more expensive, of course, but I have used them in the past, and I think it is a better in between options for when the cloth diapers won't cut it for our family.

    1. Wendy, do you think you'll buy Seventh Gen again? Or are you going to stick to Nuture Babycare? I'll have to check those out.

    2. I don't think I will buy SG diapers again, but it is possible. For now, I'm enjoying a new found dedication to my cloth diaper stash!