PR Week quotes Kaplow social media guru–and mom–Stephanie Schwab

PR WEEK, March 25, 2010
By Rose Gordon

SAN DIEGO: Infantino is working with Current Lifestyle Marketing to manage the recall of more than 1 million baby slings in the US after the products were linked to three infant deaths last year.

The company recalled the products March 24, following a warning by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that some slings can pose a suffocation risk to infants, particularly those less than four months of age.

There are currently no safety standards for baby sling carriers. Earlier this month, the CPSC said it was meeting with industry groups such as ASTM International and companies like Infantino to develop a voluntary standard for slings.

Amy Colton, EVP at Current, said Infantino has been working with the CPSC and is emphasizing that the recall is voluntary. She added that the company is taking a leadership position on the issue of safety and slings.

Current, which is the only PR firm handling the crisis for Infantino, helped push the recall notice out through wire services such as The Associated Press and Bloomberg, as well as local media. It is also reaching out to mommy bloggers and using social media channels like Twitter to let consumers know about the recall.

Infantino opened Twitter and Facebook accounts specific to the recall.

CPSC announced the need for a new baby sling standard earlier this month at a safety summit hosted by Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA).

“We’re trying to make sure the information is correct and to alleviate any confusion,” said Linda Villa Woody, communications manager for JPMA. Her PR team of four has been responding to media requests but also pushing safety tips out to consumers through e-mail lists and Facebook and Twitter.

Stephanie Schwab, SVP of digital strategies at Kaplow and an active mommy blogger, noted that reactions so far on social networks are mostly concentrated on spreading notice of the recall. Conversations on CafeMom and TwitterMoms seem to confirm this sentiment.

“I think they’re being open and upfront and honest,” Schwab said of Infantino. “Anytime you’re doing communications around children you’re going to have fear. Finding ways to assuage that fear without diminishing it is really important.”

Schwab also praised the company for offering an alternative product to moms, because offering a “solution” to the crisis could prevent some consumers from leaving the brand entirely.

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