Pregnancy is a very special moment in a woman’s life. While we’re familiar with the physiological and psychological consequences, there’s a shortage of studies in the field of marketing. Yet the period of pregnancy alters women’s consumption habits significantly: here’s an analysis of the very specific consumer profile that is the pregnant woman.
The first profound change during pregnancy concerns products that are deemed dangerous for babies, where we see consumption levels drop. Alcohol is a particularly representative example, as a report from the Ecole de Santé Publique (French School of Public Health) showed. According to a study led by the Health Council of the Netherlands in 2005, 80% of women of reproductive age drink alcohol regularly but two-thirds of them stop drinking alcohol altogether from the 3rd month of pregnancy onwards. This behaviour isn’t observed everywhere to the same degree (in the United States, for example, half of pregnant women admit to having drunk alcohol at least once during the last month of pregnancy), but an unequivocal conclusion emerges nevertheless: women make an effort to reduce their consumption of harmful products during their pregnancy.
Nestlé brings together two of its most successful marketing campaigns and addresses mums: after baby formula milk and coffee capsules, a bottle-feeding kit has now been launched in the Swiss and Liechtenstein markets. While mum and dad make a cup of coffee (or even tea, with the Special-T machine), their baby can also be drawn in by the sounds of the food giant through its BabyNes bottle.
According to Nestlé’s marketing team, it appears that there’s no set age for becoming addicted to a marketing concept: “When she hears the sound of the machine, she knows that the bottle’s ready. She associates the sound of the machine with the bottle.” (testimony from Aïcha, head of the Finance department at Nestlé and mother to an 8-month-old girl). Nestlé therefore wins over all the family.
Unheard of a couple of decades ago, low-calorie and low-fat products have invaded our supermarket aisles to such a point that all foods now have a lighter version – from yoghurts and butter to fizzy drinks. A dieter’s best friend, they are now essential buys for women…
It was only in the 1960s that fully skimmed milk was authorised to be sold. Since then, brands have followed suit and “lighter”, “low fat” and “low calorie” products now make up 20% of products in our food aisles. There are even areas where the lighter option has become the norm: chewing gums that contain real sugar have almost disappeared, and sales of Diet Coke or Coca Coca Zero have overtaken sales of the original version!
Women are without question the biggest consumers of these lighter options. As a result of social pressure which stresses that slenderness is the ultimate sign of beauty, women are constantly dieting or “watching what they eat and drink”: it’s not surprising then that lighter foods are seen as a real philosophy of life and they invade women’s cupboards! Women therefore get the impression that they can eat without consuming calories.
Nestlé cares for mothers. In 2006, the brand created a website providing expert nutritional advice for kids. The website now registers 460,000 subscribers and receives an average of 159,000 unique visitors and 6,300 new subscriptions per month.
On the menu: a nutrition navigator. This interactive programme gives information on the nutritional needs of a baby for each age category. It also provides a downloadable guide with menu suggestions for two weeks. Some other sections are available such as everyday life with baby, mums’ tricks, advice from experts, games… and downloadable Nestlé coupons.
The programme also indicates what the growing-up milestones of the child are according to their age (like picking up and holding objects, for example).
The famous manufacturer of food processors has created a cook book written by a young cook and dad (David Rathgeber) to help mums prepare diversified foods for their children.
The book provides information on the nutritional benefits of fruits and veggies as well as tips on how to choose the best ones and how to cook them. Compotes, soups, purées, jams as well as more elaborate desserts like crumbles are featured. The recipe book encourages toddlers’ awareness of new tastes and textures.
A smart way for Beaba to add value to its products while developing the culinary imagination of its customers.
In April 2009, Nestlé, along with theOgilvy One agency, launched its iPhone app Devenir Maman (Becoming A Mum) which gives advice to women who are expecting a baby during all 9 months of pregnancy. On the menu: nutritional advice, useful information on pregnancy and baby’s development, but also personalised tools like a baby name guide or a personal photo album.
The application is definitely moving with the times and has successfully followed other apps like Name that baby! or The iPhone Mom. Its design is adapted to modern mums’ tastes with drawings made by the famous French illustrator Pénélope Jolicoeur.
According to its users it is an original and practical application: « I have two daughters and I wish I could have used it while they were kids. It would have allowed me to stop lugging three books around at a time. »
The application received a famous marketing award in 2009.