Being the type of person who’s always up for a freebie, I’ve always thought I’d like nothing better than a sponsorship deal. Imagine my surprise when one finally comes along and I find out that actually, these things aren’t remotely as good as they’re cracked up to be.
Along with all other mums, for the last few months I have been “sponsored” by the company Procter and Gamble. I don’t remember signing an official contract ; perhaps we have a named “spokesmum” who’s done it on behalf of the rest of us. Anyhow, turns out someone didn’t read the small print. It’s actually a rubbish deal. I for one haven’t seen so much as a branded T-shirt.
Recently P&G have been upping the mum-sponsorship ante with their “raising an Olympian” campaign. To be honest, I find it embarrassing, and that’s not just because my parenting style incorporates too many bags of crisps in front of CBeebies to ever produce the next Steve Redgrave. I find it embarrassing because I imagine it really pisses off dads and those who aren’t parents. Ooh, look at the mums, thinking they’re all special. I want to stand up and yell “not in my name! P&G never even asked for my input into this sodding campaign!”
It reminds me of those Calpol adverts with the smug voiceover proclaiming “if you have kids, you’ll understand”. Well, yes, I do have kids, but I’m not so arrogant and self-absorbed as to assume that non-parents couldn’t possibly work out that giving pain relief to a child who’s in pain might be effective. Just leave it out, Calpol. Enough of the fake flattery. I’m buying Sainsbury’s own-brand pink medicine, always have, always will, and you’re not gonna persuade me otherwise.
And so it is with P&G. But what’s even worse are the brands they choose to illustrate how “pro-mum” they are: Pampers, Fairy, Gillette, Ariel, Lenor, Max Factor and Duracell. Great. So mums spend their lives wiping arses, washing up, shaving, putting on another load of clothes, applying makeup and, um, changing batteries. Take out the changing batteries (which could be linked to something fun) and we can reduce this to doing domestic work and looking attractive. Since I am rubbish at both of these things, I wonder whether I should be calling myself a mum to all. Perhaps my slovenliness is bringing down the whole campaign (could that be why I haven’t got the t-shirt?).
Anyhow, I want out. I heartily disapprove of mum-ness being appropriated for yet another advertising campaign. It’s not just that a huge corporation is seeking to increase profits while adding nothing to the lives of the mothers whose identities it co-opts (beyond pestering them to purchase more products). It’s that the whole campaign gets everyone else’s backs up and makes them annoyed with mums. It’s just not right. And I can’t live with things not being right so long as there’s nothing in it for me.
P&G, I’m giving you till tomorrow night. If by that time you’re able to deliver a year’s supply of Pringles plus some 2000 Calorie mascara (black/brown), the deal’s still on. If not, then I’m sorry. You’ll have to find someone else to “sponsor”.