Coming up with promotional freebies that will stand out in the sea of swag at BlogHer is always a challenge. But one brand may have taken its creativity a bit too far this year.
Bright Starts, a major producer of toys and toddler gear, was apparently on hand at the massive mom-blogger conference this weekend—and giving out realistic-looking pill bottles promoting its Baby Laugh Index microsite. Inside were Red Hots, packaged as some sort of giggle pills that "may cause serious laughter."
These were promotional items created for adults attending the conference, and not something you can expect to see on store shelves. Still, as blogger Morgan Shanahan points out, it's a bad idea to put candy in medicine containers, especially when you know they're likely to end up back in homes with children.
"Pills are not funny. They’re not toys. They’re not even swag," Shanahan writes. "They’re deadly when placed in the wrong hands. So what were you thinking, Bright Starts?"
UPDATE: An AdFreak reader points out that Sam's tried something similar in 2009 and quickly apologized for the promotion.
We reached out to representatives of Bright Starts parent company Kids II and will update if we hear back.
UPDATE 2: Miles Bohannan, vp of marketing communications for Kids II, sent the following statement to AdFreak:
Our “prescription for laughter” in a pill bottle was part of a booth experience designed to support Bright Starts' “Fun Comes First” campaign, which also featured a “Baby Laugh Index” quiz and a “dress as a baby” photo booth—all very tongue-in-cheek reminders of the importance of baby laughter.
Once we realized that the giveaways were concerning to some, we immediately stopped passing them out. We certainly understand and regret any misunderstanding this has caused, and welcome the opportunity to visit further should that be helpful.
Hat tip to Heather Spohr on Facebook.