Bounty – a misplaced mutiny

I’ve been reading blogs and tweets about the Mumsnet #Bounty mutiny. Their campaign to stop the bounty reps coming round the maternity wards and giving out their pack.

The crux of the rebellion is a survey by Mumsnet which suggests women feel harassed by these reps and that this commercial practise has no place in a hospital ward. According to the survey eight out of ten women don’t think it’s acceptable and 56% felt a Bounty rep invaded their space. I have read some of the supporting feedback Mumsnet received and it’s totally unacceptable and these reps were completely in the wrong

Of course if you create a campaign such as this you will hear the bad and the ugly, people who’ve had good or indifferent experiences won’t come forward that’s how it works – it’s marketing in a mask.

And I just don’t think it’s a true of all women and our experiences. I have spoken to friends, family and even people at various groups over the past couple of weeks and no one had a bad experience. Many felt indifferent towards the sales reps, hardly registering their presence and several thought it was a lovely part of the process. One of those things you expect and a bit of a rite of passage.

When I had Arthur it ended up as an emergency C-section, a little dramatic at the time but everything was fine. The next day Joan came and sat on my bed, the Bounty rep. We had a bit of a chat and she said:” Here’s you pack, there might be some stuff in there you find interesting and don’t miss out on all your freebies”. She did ask me once about photos, which I refused and then she went about her business. Cooing at babies, smiling and offering out the well-known packs. Versions of which most of us had clutched close to us since those first nervous days of pregnancy. All your notes spilling out over the free nappy and free online sign-ups and who hasn’t got the Cow and Gate cuddly toy. Even today I still get my monthly emails though telling me about Arthur and his development – makes me smile.

Yes it’s a commercial transaction and Bounty pay the hospitals but that’s not a dirty word for me. Commercial gain in an environment where budgets are being squeezed while a baby boom happily continues to grow, is understandable. I don’t find that shocking and I think it’s naïve to do so. Mismanaged, pushy reps are not acceptable but this is not, for me, reason enough to campaign for the banning of Bounty.

I absolutely agree sales reps should not hassle women at any time, particularly at such an emotional time. It’s just that this is not my experience or that of anyone I know. I whole-heartedly support Mumsnet campaigning on behalf of mothers and families but I would feel so much better about a campaign that encouraged mothers into midwifery – currently there’s a shortfall of around 5,000 in the UK. One that drew support for much needed funding for Surestart centres, supported and paid for breastfeeding counsellors to visit mothers in hospital.

#Bountymutiny, for me is a diluted campaign, one which doesn’t deal with an issue – just a sales technique.


12 thoughts on “Bounty – a misplaced mutiny

  1. Excellent post!

    Think an opt out tick box on your maternity notes could possibly be the answer. I know lots of women who wanted to sit and have a chat and show off their new arrival. Is it really that much of an issue to just politely decline and say you don’t want any pictures or the pack? These women could also potentially be out of a job if it was to be banned from hospital wards x

  2. I agree and disagree. There are definitely more important things to campaign for, like those you suggest , but that doesn’t make it right. I didn’t take part in the survey (not a big fan of mumsnet!) but do think it’s inappropriate. Even if the sales reps are nice, the very fact that they target people when they’re exhausted, emotional and in a strange environment means they’re hard selling. There’s no way we’d accept companies lobbying anyone else recovering in hospitals, so why is it ok with new mums?

  3. Here here.

    We’re going to have to get used to increased commercialism in the NHS its here to stay. I do think clearly there are issues however a petition and letter to the prime minister is not the way forward.

    The real issue with midwives isn’t so much the lack of midwives, there are many students graduating who can’t get placements. The issue is funding. There is not enough money being put into maternity care, this is putting babies and mothers lives in jeapordy. Where are the 20 000 voices screaming about that?

    Great post

  4. As I understand it, there isn’t a problem with encouraging people to become midwives. The problem lies In finding jobs for these students once they’ve qualified.

    I didn’t mind Bounty coming to see me. But I do mind them sharing my information. And to be honest the Bounty Pack really is just a load of crap and advertising leaflets. I think there should be an opt out for those who want it.

    • I think the shortfall is also a product of the fact many don’t last long in the role. I genuinely didn’t think my pack was a load of old crap. The advertising is expected and some of the signups have been good. Maybe an opt-out would work – it’s a good idea but I suppose difficult to manage as you’d have to get this up front.

  5. I am up on our local post natal ward every week giving breastfeeding support and see the Bounty lady, she is always polite and lots of the women enjoy having someone to talk to and coo over their babies, our head of midwifery constantly keeps an eye on the reps who come in and if there is the slightest hint that they are pushy or intrusive, she politely asks that they remove themselves and we request they do not return, however I have yet to witness it and they do provide the maternity services with much needed funds.

  6. Could not agree more. I liked having the Bounty people around and not one person I was in hospital with had a problem. It was expected some declined some did not. People can say no. Do not see the issue xx

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