I just came across an article on The Drum, a UK marketing and media web site, called “Eisberg launches digital campaign aimed at the pregnancy market” (Sept 27, 2011).

Eisberg is a UK company that produces a number of non-alcoholic wines. They have recently launched a campaign on their web site targeting  pregnant women. The new section of their web site includes a downloadable ‘Baby Shower’ kit, personal blogs written by a woman in the middle of pregnancy, tips and advice and the chance to win an Eisberg branded luxury baby shower basket through a data capture mechanic.

Fran Draper, Eisberg brand manager, says: “By offering a mix of serious advice, peer group recommendations and fun activities aimed at Baby Showers, Eisberg hopes to build up loyalty amongst this key target group.”

The web site reads: ” You will find that you are given conflicting and confusing advice from everyone from your neighbour to your hairdresser, on what, and what not to eat and drink. Ultimately, you know that this is a time to take care of yourself and your precious bump. We all know that a balanced, nutritional diet is best for you and bump, but what about those occasions when you really fancy a glass of wine? Whether you have had a hard week at work, or are trying to keep the early stage of your pregnancy quiet, not drinking in a social situation can be the obvious giveaway – so what is the solution? If you are fed up with being offered a steady flow of sugary, fizzy drinks and lukewarm fruit juice, then why not raise a glass of Eisberg alcohol free wine?”

While it just seems plain mean to prey on pregnant women’s anxieties (not to mention normalizing the supposed craving we all have for a drink at the end of a tough day), what is more worrisome is that Eisberg is sponsoring a new pregnancy guide produced in association with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

The involvement of industry in alcohol and pregnancy matters in the UK was highlighted earlier this year when Diageo (producer of brands such as Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness) sponsored the training of 10,000 midwives on alcohol consumption in pregnancy. (See an earlier post Diageo funds training of 10,000 UK midwives to help pregnant women reduce their alcohol use, June 13, 2011). As Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern said in an article in the Independent back in June: “It is deeply worrying that alcohol education is being paid for by the drinks industry, as it is then unaccountable and not necessarily based on evidence or public health guidance.”