Blue Sky Thinking

For those of you who think I have zero commercial awareness (and I know there are a few), this will probably strike you as my most naive suggestion yet.  But if we don’t put forward our crazy ideas in these times of trouble, then what’s the point?  Anyone with a more perfect solution, please step forward.

So you may have seen the new page on my website, entitled “get moving“, which is about things we as individuals can all actually DO to try to mitigate the effects of this dreadful year.  One of the things I have shared is the Stop Funding Hate campaign’s video about this year’s Christmas adverts from some of the big retailers.  The campaign’s argument is that, whilst these adverts play on a spirit of goodwill and togetherness, the retailers themselves have big advertising contracts with the tabloid newspapers that are spreading hatred and division in this country.

It struck me this morning that this ties in with another area of concern that I have: the advertising of formula milks and breastmilk substitutes in the journals of our midwives and health visitors.

So here is my suggestion:

Please could John Lewis and Marks & Spencer cancel their contracts with obnoxious tabloids.  With the enormous amount of money they will save, they can take out advertising with CommPrac, the Journal of Health Visiting, the British Journal of Midwifery and others.  These publications will be a lot cheaper in which to advertise, and incidentally are mainly read by the key demographics for John Lewis and Marks & Spencer: working women in their thirties, forties, fifties and sixties.

This will enable these journals to break their ties with odious companies which seek to spread misinformation about both formula milk and breastfeeding, to the benefit of the families that midwives and health visitors support.

The substantial resources of these retailers could also enable our health service journals to run advertisements for the charities and voluntary organisations who actually seek to help formula and breastfeeding families, such as First Steps Nutrition Trust, the Local Infant Feeding Information Board and the Drugs in Breastmilk Information Service, to name but a few.

How about it everyone? Crazier things have happened this year…….

Helen Calvert
November 2016


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