Jane Just Wants a Crunch Bar

03.21.10

We went to drive some Subarus and Jane asked for money for a Crunch Bar.

“No honey,” I said, ” we don’t eat Nestle products.”

“But I want a Crunch bar, I love them.”

“Jane, Nestle tells moms that they should use baby formula, and in some of those countries the water is unsafe so the babies die.”

She looked at me puzzled, so I continued, “and Nestle also cuts down the rainforest to make KitKat bars, and the apes have nowhere to live.”

“Oh my gawd Mom,” she replied, “Please don’t let them take away M&M’s.”

The Price of Good Hair

03.10.10

This morning Jane was in tears. She couldn’t get her hair into a high ponytail. My eleven year old daughter was crying because she is having a bad hair day.

I get it.

Finally! Something about parenting that I can understand and that I can fix. Jane has hair like mine. If you see me taping Momversation you’ll see that my hair does not grow longer, it somehow manages to grow wider. I realize that you are going to try and interject logic and reason to this discussion, however you are not a Jewish woman. Trust me, we’ve got hair. We’ve got big, fluffy, thick, coarse, ethnic hair. Girls like me who grew up in lily white suburbs spent our childhoods looking longingly as the blondes who complained that their hair was too straight.

My daughter’s hair is much straighter than mine, but it’s thick. It’s too thick for a single pony holder from Goody, so she uses two at a time.

Survey.com asked 2,000 women on behalf of Pantene if they would give up 10 IQ points for a lifetime of great hair, 57% said yes. Holy crap. I asked Jane if she would give up one IQ point for great hair, she and I both smiled, because we’re smart enough to feel conflicted about our answers either way. I couldn’t bring myself to ask if she’d be willing to give up 10, that’s not an answer I want to hear.

I’m mostly happy with my hair, but I’m 39 and I know my way around a blow dryer. I also know that great products give you great hair. I’m also giving up my hair color and shampoos as both are L’oreal. Since L’oreal is owned by Nestle, I can’t buy their products any longer. My friend Lisa calls it my “Joan of Arc moment”.

Everyone should have a friend like Lisa. Someone who understands that giving up your hair color is much more difficult than giving up Pellegrino or Perrier (which will also hurt).

I feel bad about some of my parenting, we all do. I’m not sure I’m sending my daughter the right message, but I’m going to take her for a Keratin treatment. I’ve had it done twice, it’s not affordable and I don’t care. I know that I can buy Jane some good mornings, and that’s what I’m setting out to do.

As for me? I’m back to my Ole Henriksen products, and I’m experimenting with hair colors. Let’s hope no one notices.

Would you take your eleven year old daughter for a chemical process on her hair?

A Very Real Question For Publicists And For Nestle

02.7.10

It’s not a secret, I have an uneasy relationship with publicists. Oh, except one. Stephanie. I have a terrible relationship with food manufacturers, I really wish y’all would too. Food growers, particularly organic ones, they’re kinda hawt, and we have a good relationship… rumor has it we might kiss one day.

On the 5th I briefly noted that Nestle is in search of a public relations firm who can help them with the most recent backlash regarding their ill fated Mommy Hawking event.  Stephanie addressed my disdain with a really thoughtful comment.

Hiring a PR firm is exactly what they should do–assuming their intent is not to dissemble and spin but to get some counsel on how to repair their reputation through honest bridge-building with their consumers, critics and any other stakeholders important to them.

Oh really? I never really thought of it that way. My take was, and we will see if it still is, that Nestle needs a business plan and not a public relations plan. To be fair, I’m a Mommy Blogger so my exposure to the world of Public Relations comes in the form of emails that start with, “Dear Mommy Blogger.” and ends with “I’d like to send you a sample to review.” Oh, I’m also invited out a lot. You don’t’ see a lot of reviews here, and you don’t see a lot of sponsored events. I’m not as PR friendly as some, so perhaps that’s why I’m left not understand why anyone would go to Nestle Headquarters.

Here’s the event. I know it looked like fun, candy is fun, but hard questions were certainly not asked.

More check-ins at Nestle Headquarters
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Nestle isn’t good in my community. It’s substandard food, made with cheap ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated gloop. Were it not for their foray into social media I’d never mention them, they’d be off my radar as just one more junk food brand that doesn’t belong in my house. I don’t consider myself part of their formal boycott, because even if Nestle complied with the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes they still don’t have a product that appeals to me. If predictions are based on history, it’s unlikely that Nestle will comply any time soon.

With all that being said Nestle jumped into the virtual community of Mommy Hawking, and, well, here we are.

I have a few questions I’d like answered. I’d love to hear from publicists about this. I’m trying to understand how all of this matters. I know as a Mom I chose my brands with great care. I try to not bring things into my home that will harm my children. I don’t understand Public Relations, and I think this is a great moment for us all to learn something. Most of us bloggers only know Public Relations through press releases, spin and parties. What else is there?

If you’re a publicist would you mind answering any or all of these questions for us?

1. Do publicists help businesses shape a businesses marketing practices or simply react to what is out there?
2. When there is a thirty year boycott how does a PR firm address it?
3. Should a thirty year boycott even be addressed? Obviously Nestle makes plenty of money.
4. Is there ever a client you simply do not want?

I’m going to offer something unusual here. If you are a publicist, you may answer these questions in the comments and remain anonymous. Make up an email address, make up a name, or just write “publicist trying to keep my job” I don’t care. I moderate the first few comments anyone leaves here, and I’ll send through anonymous comments on just this one post.

I really do want to hear from you.

PR Cannot Be A Substitite for PRoduct

02.5.10

Nestle is hiring a PR firm to “restore its reputation amid sustained criticism on the internet.”

Really? This is a suckers bet. A agency can’t help Nestle. The only people who can help Nestle are it’s very own executives.

If Nestle  didn’t discourage breastfeeding and made some changes to their product line, all their bad buzz would go away. Instead they’re aiming to hire someone to sit behind the Green Curtain and try to trick people into thinking that some sort of systemic change has happened at Nestle.

I think we all know this won’t be the case.

When Nestle “reached out” to mommy bloggers and paid for a first class trip, expensive dinners and gawd knows what else, they didn’t reach out to anyone like me. Why? Because they know that moms like me don’t feed their children high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated anything and that (even though many of us used formula) breast is best.

I think it’ll be a lot of fun watching Nestle flounder, but it’s really sad that the big takeaway is to hire a publicist instead of to improve their product.

You can see the beginning of the Nestle bumbles here.