I never thought I’d be writing a blog entry about a “onesie.” Onesies aren’t normally the subject of ethical debate or controversy. But then, it’s not often that the logo on a piece of clothing for infants raises the ire of breastfeeding advocates and raises the spectre of corporate collusion.
See: Mommy bloggers tear strip off Old Navy’s ‘Formula Powered’ outfit, by Tralee Pearce (Globe & Mail)
Mommy bloggers are up in arms over a baby outfit’s cheeky logo that has led retailer Old Navy to apologize to offended customers.
At issue? An air-force-style insignia on a dark green boy’s onesie reading “Formula Powered.” The outfit has enraged breastfeeding advocates across North America.
A number of mom bloggers have linked to the $5 (U.S.) item on Old Navy’s website while calling for a boycott of the chain, casting the item as a propaganda tool of the formula industry….
Note that there are two different complaints, here.
One is that Old Navy is, through this product, promoting use of formula, despite the evidence that in most cases breastfeeding is the superior alternative.
The other accusation — not attributed to anyone in particular — is interesting. And that’s the accusation that promotion of formula is not just the effect of the Old Navy onesie, but the intent. The claim that the onesie is a “propaganda tool of the formula industry” implies that this was an intentional move, perhaps one paid for by the makers of infant formula. As far as the G&M story indicates, that accusation is unsubstantiated. If this really is a marketing move on the part of the formula industry, that certainly would be interesting (and perhaps alarming). Does anyone know of any evidence one way or the other?