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Marketing Failure: Candy for Children That Looks Like Prescription Medicine

File this one under "bad ideas marketers come up with."
 
 
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Those familiar with the BlogHer conferences know they offer attendees ample opportunity for free swag. But at this year's San Jose conference, blogger Morgan Shanahan was  astounded when she sifted through her freebies and discovered one toy company's idea for prescription candy.

Bright Starts, a producer of toddler toys, packaged candy "pills" inside realistic-looking prescription bottles, right down to the cap. On the side the bottles warn "May Cause Serious Laughter" and should be taken by "Laughter Lover." 

Understandably, it didn't go over too well. What Bright Starts  thought would be a fun addition to its "Fun Comes First" campaign is more like a huge misstep for child safety. More than 60,000 children are taken to the emergency room each year for taking medicines while their guardians aren't looking. 

When Shanahan blogged about the experience, Bright Starts responded, apologizing for the obviously bad gimmick and telling AdWeek they immediately stopped passing the candy bottles out when they realized people weren't laughing. They also agreed to alert conference goers by email of their mistake. "We certainly understand and regret any misunderstanding this has caused, and welcome the opportunity to visit further should that be helpful."

Clarissa A. Leon is AlterNet's food editor. She formerly served as an investigative research assistant at The Daily Beast and The Nation Institute. 

 
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