by Dawn Farmer
In a June 1st, 2003 article by Catherine O’Mahony, published by The Sunday Business Post Online, Joey Mason, founder and managing director of Eumom is quoted as saying,
“This is really going to make us a player. For advertisers, we want to get higher quality interaction with the women they are targeting. We want them to be able to choose when and how they speak to their target customers.” He further says, “We know we are a new kid on the block and that we need to prove ourselves.” (emphasis added)
Where will Mr. Mason’s firm be a player? In 2003 Eumom was awarded a three year contract worth at least €2.4 million to provide promotional materials to Dublin’s three maternity hospitals. Eumom replaced the 25 year veteran Bounty Euro RSCG.
Speed ahead to February 2, 2009 when Michael Brennan of The Independent reports that the largest maternity hospital in Dublin now allows marketing representative from Eumom access to the maternity ward. Coombe Women’s Hospital has entered into a financial agreement that accepts a per-child fee for every mother and child signed up by Eumom’s marketing representatives. The actual figure is in dispute, but the total fees collected by Coombe Women’s Hospital could be €245,000 during 2003-2008 based on the average 7,500 births per year at the hospital.
Is this clever marketing, creative financing or a horrible violation of trust?
Let’s look at Eumom’s own words and practices. The Independent also provided a story outlining the guidelines for conversations with new mothers. Never mind the overall layer of sleaze associated with the disingenuous comments like “oh look at all this pink – it must be a girl…” look at the last dot:
V important to reassure mom that: a) Eumom is custodian of her details; b) Eumom uses it in collaboration with partner companies; c) Eumom’s collection and usage of data complies with data protection office guidelines.
Should the Mom still say NO – one final question: Do you have private health insurance? If so, VHI/Quinn/Hibernian? If asked why we need to know — we are conducting a survey. (emphasis added)
Survey, I bet. Whose next at those hospital room visits…
So with hospital maternity stays in most of the west as short as 12 to 24 hours, why would any woman want to spend any of that time answering your marketing questions? As a curious exercise I asked some women I know to respond to this policy. Comments included the words: abhorrent, invasion of privacy, pissed off, crosses the line and gross. One woman speculated on the effect to hospital security by having non-family members present in the maternity ward. I’m guessing these aren’t the answers Eumom or Coombe Women’s Hospital would hope for in a focus group.
Having a child myself I can attest to the value of information from reliable suppliers. There is a time and a place. Give me that bag of information after the Lamaze class and I’ll welcome it.
Talk to me after labor and childbirth and I’ll remember you for all the reasons you don’t want… and I have a very long memory.