And now, a not-so-special message from Elecare

Two words: Marketing fail! I recently received the following (clearly heartfelt) email from a representative of Elecare.

Dear Amber,

I’ve been following your blog and have enjoyed keeping up with your notes about Stella.  I’m glad to see that EleCare®* has been helpful, and I’d love to hear more of your story.

What was your journey with Stella? Share your experiences and success story at or email me. Your story could help other families enjoy more and worry less. You can read some of their stories on the EleCare site at

I’d also like to offer you a 1-time discount code for 20% off an EleCare purchase.** Just enter Q23LXDFPT when checking out at to save. And if you have a friend who received a doctor recommendation for EleCare, they can use discount code15NEW to get 15% off their 1st order:

Finally, I wanted to let you know that we’ve recently added delicious recipes and ways for your child to enjoy EleCare to the site  I’d love to hear which is Stella’s favorite.


Anna @EleCare

*EleCare should be used under medical supervision.  **Discount only redeemable at, not redeemable for cash or equivalent, good only in U.S.A., cannot be combined with other offers/ promotions, no adjustments to prior purchases, not applicable to employees of Abbott Laboratories.”

So let me get this straight, “Anna @Elecare.” You say you’ve been following my blog, but judging by your vacuous email and its questions, you clearly have not read any of it, except maybe the part where your keyword search highlighted the word “Elecare.” You want me to share our painful and eventually triumphant feeding journey–all that hard-earned wisdom–with you so as to provide free content, another “success story,” for your website. And in exchange for my time and energy and sharing, you’ll give me a “1-time discount code for 20% off an EleCare purchase” for my almost-three-year-old who, as my blog states in several entries, was weaned off of Elecare about two years ago.

This email is insulting because it lies in order to feign connection with me, and because it seriously devalues my time and experiences.

You’d love to hear more of my story? Our feeding saga is laid out here in its entirety. If you followed this blog, as you say you do, you’d know that. You’d also know that my hobbies include ripping apart stupid copy. So, please don’t be shocked at my delight in telling you how much your message and approach sucked.

Of course, Elecare was an important part of my daughter’s recovery. Its hypoallergenic calories allowed her gut to heal, after major damage caused by my breast milk (I’ll take this opportunity to say RIP to my 500 ounces of pumped, frozen milk that became landfill). By taking away Stella’s pain, Elecare helped end her feeding aversion. While I support breastfeeding and wished to have done it for much longer, I have nothing against formula. To be honest, my journey made me realize that what is truly unhealthy are the over-the-top delusions and divisive piousness about breastfeeding, because if I had listened to certain voices and adhered to the “breastfeed at all costs” message that is so prevalent in circles like mine, Stella would’ve been in much, much, much bigger trouble. So, dude! I was in your corner! I could’ve been a good ally to you, Anna/Elecare. But instead, you just pissed me off with your manufactured email marketing bullshit, and the lame attempt to pass it off as a genuine, individualized communication. The moms you call customers deserve more respect.

How’s this “note” working for you? Honestly, who calls blog posts “notes?” No one with a pulse. Do robots (or Vice Presidents of Marketing who think they are creative) write your boring-ass copy?

From a former online marketing manager turned advertising copywriter/mother of a baby who had a feeding issue requiring your product, in a breathless, indignant, old-timey voice: For shame!

Another copy qualm (little girls as decor)

That anxiety-inducing daily deal site I recently mentioned has done it again.

Being a copywriter myself, you’d think I’d avoid tearing apart some other copywriter’s work. But apparently that is not the case. I’ve written for many fabulous clients but I’ve also written passionate, emotive copy about cat-themed chip clips and Cinnabon. So I’m not above this. Besides, my copy has been crapped on, too. In fact, it’s probably happening right now. Some Godforsaken banner ad on the outer edge of the internet is offending someone due to its excessive enthusiasm about small business phone systems and it’s all my fault! Plus, the writer of the copy I’m about to share is just following the messaging points dictated in a creative brief, and using the tone mandated in a company’s style guide. All of that is out of the writer’s control. So this is really a critique of the company, and advertising in general, as opposed to an attack on a lone copywriter. I’ve been where this person is but have still managed to enjoy this line of work, overall. And I honestly hope that this person can say the same. Despite having to write about magical dresses that attract butterflies, ice cream cones (perhaps) and cupcake-excreting unicorns (definitely).

So. The copy below, promoting yet another must-have summer dress that has supposedly been “marked down” to the jaw-dropping low price of $19.99, induced an eye roll so huge and swift, I strained my corneas and ruptured an eye brow.

“She is the embodiment of summer and all the joys warm weather brings when she dons this cheerful dress. With its tiers of ruffles she’s sure to be the centerpiece of every family picnic this summer. The soft material with a bit of stretch lets her move about freely as she reaches for another slice of watermelon. Dress features a keyhole button closure in the back.”

Okay. It starts off with a bit of overly dramatic flair pushing the “summer” message. Fair enough. I’m sure some parents really do expect their daughters to carry an entire season on their backs and, with it, the responsibility to deliver its fleeting joys. Fine. But here’s the kicker–joy and summer are only evoked “when she dons” this pile of ruffles. Otherwise, she’s not summer-y at all. Wearing, say, un-frilly shorts and a tank top, she evokes a cold, joyless and androgynous wasteland, therefore letting everyone down. EVERYONE!

“The centerpiece of every family picnic this summer?” What? I’m picturing a blond pony-tailed four-year-old stationed in the middle of a picnic blanket, family fun and chaos unfolding around her while she remains motionless with palms up. A human napkin holder. It’s this little girl’s job to look good, and give visual cues to help set the tone of the gathering. “What are we celebrating? Oh wait–Susie’s wearing puffy pastels. Happy Easter!” It’s all about what the kid wears. “Susie! Tone down the personality, put on this dress and be a star!”

And the crown jewel in this toddler tiara: “The soft material with a bit of stretch lets her move about freely as she reaches for another slice of watermelon.” Really? Really? We have to point out that this sleeveless summer dress, as opposed to the restrictive petticoats, corsets and straight jackets normally worn by little girls in 2011, allows her to move about freely? And they’re not talking about the extra movement required for soccer or even tag, they’re talking about grabbing a piece of fruit. Because that’s as active as little girls get. Judging from this copy, I’m guessing that normally, little Ella would be wearing fabric with no stretch whatsoever, like upholstery or a fine blend of steel wool and platinum. She typically asks her mobile, cotton-clad brother to fetch the watermelon and place it directly into her mouth. But what a treat! In this frock, she can go get it herself. A sweet little taste of freedom! Assuming she has energy left over, you know, after centerpiece duty.