Fear sells. No one knows this better than advertisers, whose aggressive marketing content is unconsciously absorbed by millions of consumers who don’t – or can’t – think critically about what advertisers tell them.
That’s why it’s such a shame when advertisers and marketing firms invent false crises in order to exploit these unprepared consumers. BPA-free baby products, for example, are all the rage right now. These products fly off the shelves, bought largely by parents who are afraid their children may be harmed by the chemical.
In fact, BPA is not dangerous. A California regulatory board (made up of physicians) ruled last week that “California will not place Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in the manufacture of plastic baby bottles and toys, on the state’s list of chemicals that are believed to cause reproductive harm.”
This comes on the heels of a new Statistical Assessment Service study out of George Mason University, which found the risks were “misleading and caused unnecessary public anxiety.”
So why have so many parents been scared into buying only the more expensive BPA-free products?
Rob Port recently noted that this all traces back to Fenton Communications, the same PR firm that was behind the ‘General Betray Us’ ads:
“Putting aside the fact that the claims were entirely bogus, the fear campaign against BPA was a brilliant business move for Fenton-and a win/win/win for liberals. David Fenton… represents many radical environmental groups like the San Francisco-based Tides Foundation, who could benefit from creating a bogey man. And he also represents trial lawyers, who could make millions by bringing about class action lawsuits against the manufacturers of plastics. Lastly, trial lawyers are major donors to Democratic politicians, so getting them on board was easy. And plastics competitors who didn’t use BPA could now charge absurd prices for their products at upscale stores like Whole Foods, based on the fact that their product (though more expensive) was ostensibly “safer.”
And Townhall.com’s Dwayne Horner noted,
Of course, leftist environmental groups like Environmental Working Group (EWG), Center for Health, the Tides Foundation, Environment & Justice (CHEJ), and others have been funding research to advance this agenda. Sadly, the phony science was aided by journalists and politicians, despite the fact that numerous independently funded studies have found BPA to be entirely safe.
Ultimately, parents – not children – have suffered from this. Aside from worrying unnecessarily that they might have exposed their child to dangerous chemicals, parents have spent outrageous amounts of money on non-BPA products.
Ron Vigdor, the founder and CEO of BornFree, sells trust. More precisely, he sells baby bottles for about $5.50 that are guaranteed to contain no bisphenol A, a chemical that is widely used in $1 baby bottles.
…Vigdor began selling his bottles in Whole Foods grocery stores in 2006, and his production capacity has grown to 1 million a year. The established companies – which sell about 60 million baby bottles annually – are now marketing their own BPA-free bottles and cutting production of older models.
… To boost press coverage, Vigdor hired Fenton Communications, which specializes in political advocacy and was already engaged with other anti-BPA outfits, such as the Environmental Working Group. Vigdor’s market gets a boost every time the media publicize a report on BPA’s possible hazards…
Parents may not need to worry about the BPA content of baby bottles and car seats anymore, but they do need to worry about dishonest marketing tactics. Parents should certainly protect their children from dangerous chemicals, but they should also learn how to inoculate them against deceptive sales tactics. ‘