My free suggestion for Old Navy’s PR staff.

Old Navy is embroiled in some controversy over an item of clothing:

Mommy bloggers are up in arms over a baby outfit’s cheeky logo that has led retailer Old Navy to apologize to offended customers.

At issue? An air-force-style insignia on a dark green boy’s onesie reading “Formula Powered.” The outfit has enraged breastfeeding advocates across North America.

A number of mom bloggers have linked to the $5 (U.S.) item on Old Navy’s website while calling for a boycott of the chain, casting the item as a propaganda tool of the formula industry.

Cate Nelson of the green parenting blog ecochildsplay.com wrote about the outfit on Sept. 13: “As if the formula industry didn’t have enough power … now your baby can empower it with this adorable onesie. Yuck, right?”

While I think that the choice of formula versus breastfeeding is a personal one – my wife did breastfeed for some time with our kids – I don’t think it is something to get outraged over. And I also assume that the people at Old Navy just thought it was a cute slogan, rather than propaganda. But I have a suggestion that can help Old Navy create a PR win here.

So here’s free my suggestion:

Old Navy should create a second item with a different SKU with a pro-breastfeeding slogan, maybe "Breastmilk Powered", or something like that. Put them on the shelf beside the "Formula Powered" items. Advertise this. Then use their inventory tracking system as an informal vote or poll on the popularity or either side, and publicize the results of the poll.

The result? Old Navy satisfies both sides, gets great press and more of it as a result of elegantly addressing the controversy. Oh, and they sell more clothing.

Clearly a win-win-win for everyone. A nice thank you in print would be appreciated as well. :)

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