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Laws about advertising INFANT Formula Milks - advice please before I make an ars* out of myself!

(26 Posts)
RedHead81 Mon 25-Aug-08 16:14:20

The other day I got sent a pack from HIPP ORGANIC - They know how old my baby is (3 and a half months) because I signed up to their online baby club.

In the pack, they sent me a sachet of HIPP organic follow on milk (from 6mths)

Also a booklet advertising their Infant Formula Milk. (Complete with pictures of said Infant Formula) - I have attached 2 pics to my profile for you to see.


1. Should they have sent me a sample, knowing that my baby is not yet 6mths?

2. Should they have advertised the infant milk at all???

I feel like I want to complain.


TheFallenMadonna Mon 25-Aug-08 16:17:55

You signed up to their club. They're bound to send you stuff surely?

RedHead81 Mon 25-Aug-08 16:22:03

Yes, but I'm sure there are laws regarding advertising infant milks regardless of whether I signed up to a club or not. I breastfeed and signed up to the club because it also gives advice on other non-feeding related topics.

AvenaLife Mon 25-Aug-08 16:37:20

Here you go. It would have been a marketing thing sent out to all in their club so not specificallt aimed at you. The marketing department may not have known your babies age, just the address. The rules are in regard to advertising (TV/magazine), not free samples.

RedHead81 Mon 25-Aug-08 16:46:43

Ok - so the sample I'm fine with now, BUT it states in the link you sent, AvenaLife that....
"Powdered milk for babies under six months old, known as infant formula, will only be advertised in trade-to-trade magazines and scientific journals after the new rules come into force in January.(meaning January 2008)"

What I recieved was not a trade to trade magazine, nor a scientific journal, so I should have good cause to complain???

AvenaLife Mon 25-Aug-08 16:49:22

Ohh! That's naughty! shock

You have cause to complain. I didn't see the advert before.

AvenaLife Mon 25-Aug-08 16:50:34

Here you go.

LittleMissBliss Mon 25-Aug-08 16:58:22

Hipp sent me a formula sample. I have never signed on to their club. I just chucked it in the bin as i have no intention in ever giving ds formula [I am not a formula snob i am just happy breast feeding]. It annoys me when 6mnth+ milk is sent out. Because even if a mum has chosen to bf it may make her decide to choose to switch to formula at 6mnth because that is the done thing don'tcha know!!

Pisses me off. Before i actually actively sought out bf information and became a BosomB Buddy i though this was the norm too. And that sample would have reinforced this further.

I think formula has an importnat place in infant feeding but people should seek it out, if that is the choice they have made. I don't think the companies should push it on mothers.

AvenaLife Mon 25-Aug-08 17:02:39

I agree that they should not be sending it out to those who are not in their club. It is sneeky marketing, I'll have a look later to see if it against the ASA rules.

The formula milk companies never used to do this. I think it could be a very crafty way to get around the rules of promoting formula. Very naughty.

RedHead81 Mon 25-Aug-08 17:10:20

AvenaLife - I just complained to ASA - I thought it was wrong. I eargerly await their reply!

LittleMiss I agree with you about seeking it out if thats what you want - maybe from a health visitor? i bf ds1 for 15mths and was made to feel like a freak - i will be feeding ds2 for at least 2yrs

tiktok Mon 25-Aug-08 17:29:30

Redhead, this is not against the law

You signed up to the club, and they are permitted to send you marketing material. They can send you samples even when your baby is not of an age to use them.

It is of course against the WHO code on marketing.

ASA will have no views on it one way or the other - it's legal.

RedHead81 Mon 25-Aug-08 17:40:06

tiktok, even the booklet, did you see the pics i posted?

RedHead81 Mon 25-Aug-08 17:42:09

i thought there was a blanket ban on all infant milk advertising, until they are 6mths then they can advertise follow on milks???

RedHead81 Mon 25-Aug-08 22:54:59

anyone else have any thoughts???

EyeballsintheSky Mon 25-Aug-08 23:07:53

Is it against the law even if you sign up for information? I can see why they would send it to you if you're a member of their club. For a pre 6mo baby the only product they offer is formula so maybe they assume that's what you're using. Any clubs I've joined know how old dd is as it's one of the registration questions.

I bow to Tiktok's superior knowledge though!

nancy75 Mon 25-Aug-08 23:30:54

considering all they seem to sell is formula and jars of baby food, they probably think if you have signed up for their club you are interested in their products.
i am pretty sure that most companies that run these clubs do it as a marketing exercise and would probably not consider that somebody who is anti formula would sign up to something produced by a co that sells formula milk.

tiktok Tue 26-Aug-08 00:22:34

You can check the law here

They are not allowed to advertise direct to mothers, but they can market to you if you have joined a club - this is not classed as advertising in the law, and all the formula milk manufacturers have, or have had, some sort of club.

Of course they ask you how old your baby is - that way they know when to target you with baby foods, toddler milks, and whatever else they think you might 'need'.

Under the WHO code, manufacturers are not permitted to seek direct contact with mothers, so clubs would not be allowed under the code...but the code is not law in the UK.

AvenaLife Tue 26-Aug-08 00:25:34

Read LittleMissBlisses post above. She's not part of the club yet they sent her one. This is direct marketing right?

tiktok Tue 26-Aug-08 00:30:43

They are not allowed to market to you direct without you asking - but in the past they have used different ways of getting you to sign up, by having 'free draws' at baby shows, where you leave your name, address and baby's age/stage of pg, and you have to tick a box not to be marketed to...and people don't see the box.

AvenaLife Tue 26-Aug-08 00:32:31

Ohh, that's sneaky! I expect people wouldn't even remember aswell.

tiktok Tue 26-Aug-08 09:17:57

The other way they have done it/continue to do it is to harvest names and addresses from vouchers and money-off coupons - again, you should be able to opt out of marketing, but people don't always, and as you say, Avenalife, it's easy to forget what you have signed up for.

Notsochilledanymore Tue 26-Aug-08 11:47:32

This isn't advertising, anyway - its direct marketing - so the ASA have no remit over such communication. I think it would be the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) that you would have to complain to. However, since you opted to be sent info, I don't think you would have any grounds for complaint in their eyes.

LittleMissBliss Tue 26-Aug-08 12:34:09

The only baby related thing that i have signed up for is Bounty whilst in hospital. So i expect they got my information through them.

I just don't think they should send formula sample out full stop.

tiktok Tue 26-Aug-08 13:18:15

LittleMissBliss, of course you are right...they should not be sending stuff out, inc samples.

If you filled in a coupon/voucher for the Bounty book, then you may have omitted a 'No' tick box. I don't think Bounty routinely sell names and addresses and babies' ages to formula manufacturers, but maybe yours got through.

RedHead81 Tue 26-Aug-08 17:15:25

Going back to the "signing up to a club" thing - I signed up when I was pregnant, and gave them my due date because they had a thing on their site that gave you a week by week progress of your pregnancy, and also weaning advice, sleep advice etc...

I suppose it was my fault that i signed up for it really - wish I hadn't now. It just annoys me that people presume you will formula feed, rather than presume you will breast feed.

PLUS - I'm certain I didn't tick any boxes opting in for direct marketing from them - I am VERY careful with what i sign up for - the only thing i did sign up to was from huggies in boots for the free bag! lol (we don't even use disposables!!!

Maybe i should go back to the HiPP website and tell them not to send me anymore.

Thanks all for your info.

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