If you’ve had a baby in hospital here in the UK over the last few years you’re likely to have encoutered a lady (and I think I’m right in saying that they’re nearly all ladies) from Bounty visiting you in your hospital bed to give you your “Bounty pack” and offer you their service of taking some photos of your new baby. You’re also likely to have been given another bounty pack by your midwife at your first booking appointment. These packs come full of (helpful) leaflets, plus lots of advertising, vouchers and free samples from companies that you may not have heard of pre-children, but that are likley to become staples on your shopping list afterwards.
Bounty (a company founded back in 1959) pay the NHS for being able to get to all these new mums directly through them. I’m sure it’s an income that the NHS isn’t keen to lose in these days of public sector cuts.
So, where’s the problem?
Well, as can be the case in any business where individuals are providing the service, it seems that some of the Bounty ladies are a bit pushy in their sales techniques when it comes to getting women who have just gven birth to sign up for having photos taken of their newborn children and handing over their personal information. Some women don’t appreciate having to deal with this intrusion into special time with their new baby when they’re feeling exhausted and vulnerable. Other women welcome them with open arms.
It seems that Mumsnet, an organisation that hasn’t always had a reputation of being full of sweet kind people, especially on their discussion forums, have put their name behind a campaign to end Bounty reps acess to women on postnatal wards. The Bounty Mutiny as it’s been called (see what they did there – very clever) has gathered a fair amount of traction and coverage in national press and online. It doesn’t all end there though.
Not everyone is happy with the Bounty Mutiny though. Some mums are more than happy with their encounters with Bounty reps and others feel that the whole campaign has just been set up by Mumsnet to try to belittle Bounty, a company which as well as the packs also run a website and forums offering advice to mums and mums to be – much like Mumsnet itself. Another petition has been set up calling for the Government to ignore the Bounty Mutiny, but sadly it appears to confuses the two issues of Mumsnet vs Bounty and the NHS needing to improve.
It still doesn’t end there though.
There are even other people asking you to say no to the say no to the Bounty Mutiny campaign. Are you keeping up?
I’m quite happy for there to be debate on the internet and fully understand that the two sides in a debate may well disagree. What I have a problem with is that some people online seem to have used the Bounty Mutiny as an excuse to just be nasty to each other and bully people who don’t share their views. It’s almost as if the whole Bounty Mutiny has become an excuse for old battles to be reignited in the public forum of social media.
Surely doing so just distracts from the debate itself and which side of it you support? And in my mind being nasty to people for disagreeing with you is just rude and inexcusable. Being nasty to people on social media is just bullying and that is never right. Bullying other people online and then using the same social media accounts to try to win over brands that you want to work with and that you want to respresent online appears foolish and extremely unprofessional.
The original debate seems to have been lost now, and speaking to other people it seems that everyone is now completely confused as to who is on which side of the argument and why, as everyone is instead distracted by the twitter feudes that are going on as a side-show. It’s also not left “mummy bloggers” in a good light to any outside audience.
So, whichever side of the Bounty arguement you’re on please just make your points and then enter into debate about it whilst respecting that there will be others who disagree with you. If you’re a blogger who works with brands then please remember that what you’re saying may well be read by the brands you work, or want to work, with.
As for my views on the mutiny… Personally I’ve never liked Bounty bars. It’s all that coconut. Really gets my teeth on edge. Never mind the tropical scenes suggested by the wrapper it’s never been my chocolate bar of choice – and that’s coming from a chocoholic. Put the coconut in a shampoo or a moisturiser though and I love it, especially the smell. Strange eh?
And if anyone is wondering – the links I’ve included in this post are ones that I found to represent points. By their inclusion I am not suggesting that the people, or organisations, behind these links are, or are not, doing anything right or wrong.
Mummy Barrow says
I have no experience of Bounty (other than the coconut ones, of which I have lots of experience) as two of mine were born overseas and the other one, I was out of hospital so fast they didnt have a chance to catch me.
So I can’t comment on personal experience of whether I like them or not.
What I can say is that I wish people would respect others when debating, what is, an important issue. And I can see why some would get upset about this debate if their experience falls into either of the camps. But what I can’t get my head around is personal attacks, calls of bullying, suggested threats etc.
It dilutes, what is, a good debate.
Mrs C says
Exactly! Debate is good – and perfect for social media. Its a shame that this is no longer a debate.
As I did on Twitter, I would like to apologise for the one tweet I sent which was offensive. If people it was not intended for saw it, I would like to whole heartedly apologise.
I have had days and days of abuse, both via Twitter and anonymously at my blog, and I am ashamed to say I reacted. It was wrong of me to do so, but I was tired of having to explain again and again the motives behind my campaign against the Mutiny, how I’d termed it Mumsnet’s mutiny as they were most vocal on the subject, but to be honest it had descended into an excuse to be downright abusive against me, my intelligence level and my blog. The abuse was nothing to do with my thoughts on the Mutiny. It was a continuation of years of abuse by these individuals. Which is sad as we all used to get along but for whatever reason they now have taken violently against me and seem to wish to be as nasty as they can. I have blocked them so they then ask their friend’s to join in. Its a disgusting way to behave.
I agree that this does nothing to help either campaign, hence why I took the time to apologise to people. I know if I am in the wrong that that is what an adult does. Not to try and downplay it I had just simply reached my limit and was close to deleting my accounts on Twitter and my blogs to escape them.
Thanks for the link to my post about this. No one asked me to join in with this debate, I feel strongly about the matter, and it’s all in the open. I’ve not had anyone actually counter any of the points in my post yet, which I am a tad disappointed about.
It is a shame that what could have been a valid discussion about marketing, access, and private funding of the NHS has fallen apart; the squabbling and belittling makes us easier to ignore as “just women being catty”. It’s like when the girls’ team looses on the Apprentice and you watch the general perception of women in business take three solid steps backwards as they all cat scrap in the board room.
Personally I think there are perhaps bigger fish to fry so for the moment I’m sticking to to coconut version, which I love – especially the ice cream bar variety!
You have openly accused me of stalking you with no evidence.
This really isn’t on. I haven’t accused you of anything without substantiating evidence. Stalking and harassment are strong terms and I really suggest you rethink the use of them. I have only posted on a thread that is about the petition that you started. It is not stalking or harassment. I have no idea who you are.
It’s not right when people start calling each other names.
I had mentioned one specific instance of this is in my blog post as I thought it was relevant to the point I was making.
I’m not really sure how I feel about your mention of further bullying and nastiness. I’d like to think you are trying to encourage sensible debate by asking for any bullying to stop, but bullying is a big word and it concerns me to see mention of it with nothing to substantiate it. How can these bullies correct their behaviour if they are not confronted about it? Or is this happening?
I imagine I am quite sensitive to the idea of unsubstantiated claims at the moment as Claire from Lazy Girl Blog has accused me of harassment, presumably because I have challenged her views and because she is the person responsible for the name calling I mentioned in my blog post.
From the people actively fighting the “Bounty Mutiny,” I would love to hear a compelling counter to the argument at the heart of the issue, which is that the NHS should not be accepting money from self serving, marketing firms that have no interest in the health outcomes of post natal women.
I’m probably going to stop asking for this now (even though it strikes me as a perfectly reasonable thing to do) as I’m not willing to get false accusations made against me. Partly because of how I feel reading this post (the mention of bullying without the what and the who, makes me reluctant to be involved anymore) and partly because of Claire’s accusations. I think that’s a bit sad but I’m thankful that progress is being made with the campaign, I’d be a bit delusional anyway to think my voice is all that important.
I am left however wondering how to tackle the accusations of harassment made against me, I can’t leave them unchecked, but people complain when the debate gets out of hand or the original debate is lost. Well if me pulling someone up on their bad behaviour (ie. insulting tweets) or challenging them when they make false accusations against me is distracting from the debate, I’m very sorry and all that, but such accusations are a big deal to me. If ignoring them would make me the better person, then I guess I lose.
A great post, explaining something which has bewildered me over the last few days/week on social media.
You’d hope those involved might see themselves as we see them. But sadly it seems they are stuck in an “it wasn’t me” attitude, each convinced they’re the victim.
Being unable to “let it drop” is where you leave yourself open to accusations of harassment, childish behaviour, immature bickering, etc. You don’t have to get abusive to make a complete fool of yourself.
None of us are perfect, and we’re all entitled to make our opinion known.
But when are people going to realise you can say your piece and then shut up and refuse to take part in mud-slinging? Then it’s the other parties who show themselves up for what they really are – and you don’t get tarred with the same brush.
Don’t know any of those involved personally. But after witnessing their recent behaviour, I don’t want to.
As for Bounty, there are sensible arguments for an against. Sure the company could get their packs to new mums in another way, without any fear of a hard sell upsetting women at a vulnerable time.
I found that I had to unfollow people on twitter because I couldn’t stand the bitchiness. Just because someone doesn’t agree with you is no excuse – and now I no longer view their argument as a valid one.
“You’d hope those involved might see themselves as we see them”
Maybe they would if you named names and… you know explained what it is you think they have done wrong?
I’m all for pulling people up on bad behaviour that has affected me, but making accusations of bullying, saying that people have left themselves open to harassment claims…it’s not nice things to say. I think it’s cowardly to not be specific about what you are actually talking about.
What’s the point in continuing the discussion otherwise? (a discussion which ironically you seem to say should stop)
Mrs C says
Thank you for taking the time to comment.
Mrs C says
Youre spot on with the comparison with the Apprentice – that really winds me up as it does not good at all for real women in business. And I think Ill leave you to your ice cream Bounty bars!
Mrs C says
Many thanks for your comment.
Suzie Schmooze says
OMG woman normal people would take the hint and shut up after saying their bit, like the Mummy said.
You’re proving her exact point by not letting it drop. And how exactly is naming names going to help? The people she’s talking about know who they are (most of Twitter know who they are)and calling each other directly is obviously working so well for them, isn’t it?!
Ms Central has made an intelligent, reasoned argument. You, my dear, are digging a deeper hole for yourself like all the dimwits in this drama (just a guess, but I take it you’re one of the parties involved, or a very close friend of one of them?)
Mrs C says
Mrs C says
Thanks for your comment Suzie.
Mrs C says
Thanks Mummy Central – Ive never been a fan of mud slinging!
Again, someone who wants to stop the discussion but then is willing to hurl insults.
It’s incredibly cowardly and childish to not name names.
Well that’s the point isn’t it, by your own admission your taking a guess?
What facts do you know about the situation you feel it necessary to comment about?
Yeah, thanks for hurling the very insults you claim need to stop. Thanks Suzie.
If as you say, Mrs C, “being nasty to people for disagreeing with you is just rude and inexcusable” why are you thanking Susie for her comment. I haven’t called anyone a dimwit here.
Sonya Cisco says
I can’t believe you don’t like bountys! Now, I will say that the dark chocolate coated ones are a bit meh, but the blue ones are lovely!
As for actual bounty, after 3 kids I have never seen the bounty woman so have no comment at all. Quite agree with you about the arguing though. The skill of a great debate is to be able to discuss your differences, and if you can’t convince your opponent of your argument in a civil fashion, shake hands and agree to disagree. It is a shame that an issue that is obviously important enough to evoke such emotion, has now become a no-go area for discussion because people are out off by the negativity.
I wish people who get so het up / blog so much about the IF campaign http://enoughfoodif.org/ and use all this energy and all these platforms of social media to do some real good. Our passion is important lets use it for good and send it in the right direction…TOGETHER
I think it is interesting how many people haven’t seen the bounty lady tbh, esp as how pushy they are being portrayed
I saw a Bounty lady once and honestly, I liked the little samples – the only negative comment I had about it was the waste of paper in adding so many leaflets inside, most of which I and I suspect many others threw out.
Personally I think that if anyone is going to have a pop at the Bounty folks then that pop needs to be extended to all advertising aimed at new mothers – and there’s shed loads of it!
I have started to call this whole episode the Bounty Battle.
Why nick Bounty Mutiny which was taken hundreds of years ago.
Anyway, a battle it now is, and one I hope to see the back of very soon.
Very sad at the way people have conducted themselves and I have read ALL of the tweets. Yes it is time consuming, but it means you don’t need to ask people to gossip about what they may be referring to.
Luci - mother.wife.me says
Great post and it echos a lot of what I’ve been thinking about what’s been going on over Twitter the last few days. I posted on the subject mid last week, before it all kicked off, I’ve kept pretty quiet since then, as it very quickly stopped being a debate over an issue that is certainly worth debating and descended into a cat fight. I do think that, as per having a heated discussion over email, having these kind of debates over Twitter (and by blog) is a lot more tricksy than having them in person. There is so much that can get misconstrued, so much that can get said that wouldn’t get said if it was a bunch of people together in a room. It’s also very easy to slip from being assertive into being aggressive in the heat of the moment. This isn’t the best reflection of what can go on in the parenting blogger community – quite ironic that it’s been sparked by a network whose blogger community I am part of, but whose forums I avoid like the plague because of the cattiness that lurks within. Right, stopping now, before I write a whole post in your comments section.
I honestly don’t understand what the issue with Bounty is.
Apart from the packs being crap compared to 7 years ago, the bounty lady who came to see me was lovely. She asked if it was a suitable time, asked if I wanted pics taken and didn’t force me to buy any.
If any bounty lady is being pushy,you have a voice, tell her to get lost.
Many of us do take issue with the way that things are advertised and sold to new parents and children (I think “mothers” is too specific – dads are just as vulnerable to this, but in different ways).
Bounty are a massive part of this though, and a very clear target. Diluting it to be a wider target would make achieving goals harder.
I think many people have conflated “getting freebies” with Bounty – you can still get those freebies without direct sales representatives on wards.
I also feel it is extremely naive to say you can “just say no”. Bounty is a company that sells things. They use direct sales tactics. They know you are in a “once in a lifetime” situation and take advantage of it.
This argument is called “appeal to worse problems”:
Many feel that direct sales on wards is important. Yes, there might be bigger, unrelated issues. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore smaller issues.
Or why not just not have them there in the first place and collect the pack from Boots?
As I said in another reply, I think it’s naive to think people can “just say no”. Bounty use direct sales tactics in a situation where people are tired and stressed. It’s not just a lady being nice to you – she is being nice to you to meet targets. “You’ll never have your first baby again, are you sure you don’t want pictures?”. Companies around the world use these tactics to sell things people don’t need all of the time.
The problem is that I can’t rely on someone to go back through hundreds of tweets to see that I haven’t stalked or harassed Claire. She has made a very direct accusation using words that have specific legal meaning:
Incidentally, before accusations are made, I ended up here because the blog links to mine and it shows in the referrers.
> The people she’s talking about know who they are (most of Twitter know who they are)
> just a guess, but I take it you’re one of the parties involved
So most of twitter know who they are, but you don’t know who they are. That would be the reason to name names. But it really does feel that people are too cowardly to do so, maybe fearing unfounded calls of “bully”?
Mrs C says
I get the impression that there is quite a lot of variety in just how good or bad Bounty reps are.
Michelle Twin Mum says
Hear, hear Becky!
Mummy Barrow says
Just fucking stop.
Donna @ The Lilypad says
How can you not like Dark Chocolate Bounty’s
Mrs C says
And there speaks a social media prize winner! 🙂
Mrs C says
To be honest, until this last year the only place I would eat dark chocolate was jaffa cakes…
I suspect that was aimed at you too.