Part 1 ran yesterday at:
The corporate headquarters of BornFree received piles of letters from various competitors asking it to stop its efforts promoting the dangers of BPA. The complaints had no effect; the company had no intention of stopping its PR educational efforts. Yet this amazing response from the ACC and competitors is a testament to the power PR has to shake up an industry. The company enjoyed the attention the product was getting and it ramped up its education efforts by talking more about BPA and the logic of not taking any chances with it, especially in terms of newborns and infants.
It’s no secret that several baby bottle manufacturers had to change their products completely, not to mention spend millions on crisis communications campaigns to ensure a feeling of confidence and safety among their customers. This was and still is a headache for many companies, and some couldn’t act fast enough. (One firm, Sigg, lied about its bottles not containing BPA when, in fact, they did, and the company suffered a decline in sales and customer trust.)
In April 2008, BPA made headlines after the Canadian government called it a “toxic” chemical and banned its use in plastics for baby bottles and beverage and food containers. That same week the National Toxicology Program, an office of the National Institutes of Health, said there was a potential link between BPA and breast cancer, prostate cancer, and early puberty in females.
Second, along with the exponential increase in the use of BPA in products during the last 30 years has come a dramatic increase in the incidence of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in North American children. In 2010, British scientists called for a ban on the chemical, and Denmark became the first European Union country to ban the chemical in food and drink containers for children under three years old.
BornFree received a lot of free, continuous recognition from these news stories. Vigdor and the doctor experts the brand hired stepped up to the plate as experts on BPA and BPA-free products and, as a result, were often quoted in newspapers and other media, including “mommy” blogs and health-oriented websites.
When concern grew and chains like Walmart and Target started pulling bottles containing BPA from shelves, BornFree was able to very quickly fill in the vacuum with its bottles—it was one of the few companies producing a safe alternative.
The BPA debate today no longer really exists; it is universally accepted that baby products should not have BPA. BornFree, by being first to raise the issue of BPA toxins for babies, and putting its expertise on the subject out front, has won the fight.
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