It's been a couple of weeks since I got home from BlogHer, and all of the swag has been unpacked and consumed, stored, used, donated, or gifted. I know I already did this once, but there were a few more products that I wanted to mention. Again, no one paid me to do this, I didn’t buy any of these products, and none of them cost more than a token amount of money. But I know that you want to know what I think.
I'm a little conflicted about this stuff. On the one hand, it's just fruit - organic smashed fruit a/k/a applesauce - on the other hand, it's packaged to a fair-thee-well. Yes, it's convenient to toss in the kid's lunchbox, or my handbag if we're heading off on an outing. And she loved the two I brought home from BlogHer. But, I send her off to school with a lunch-box, which she brings home at the end of the day, and it's a lot cheaper and more ecologically correct to send a whole apple, or to portion out some applesauce from a big jar into a small plastic container that we'll use over and over. Basically, it's a totally unnecessary product.Prima Princessa Presents Swan Lake
I confess that I was completely skeptical about this DVD. I've been going to the ballet since I was a kid, I've studied ballet, and I work in the field. My kid saw the New York City Ballet Nutcracker when she was three, has been to other dance performances, has watched ballet class, watches dancing on YouTube, and has a mess of age appropriate books about ballet. The DVD sounded irritating and altogether too cute. But, in an effort to give it a fair hearing, I put it on. The kid watched it twice in a row, mesmerized, and has asked for it repeatedly since then. To be sure, it's got a whole lot of corny going on - including an animated fairy as narrator. But overall, it's pretty charming. There's footage of the Paris Opera Ballet's Swan Lake, with a voice over telling you who's who and what's what. There are medium-sized kids in ballet class at the School of American Ballet, intercut with a flock of four year old girls in tutus on a lawn. It's gently didactic, showing and naming a few ballet steps. For a small child, it's a nice introduction to the world of ballet.Pictureka
One of the parties I went to was a low-key, no-swag-bag cocktail party thrown by Johnson & Johnson and Hasbro and Mom Central. There weren't any bandaids, or OB tampons, but Hasbro had card games around, if you wanted one. I brought Pictureka home because the packaging said it was appropriate for age six and up. And the 5 and 3/4 year old likes it! The game is pretty simple without being dumb - it's got loose rules with a lot of room for interpretation - and I think we'll play it often.
One last thought about this swag business. I thoroughly understand why BlogHer needs sponsors, and I thoroughly understand why sponsors want to get product samples into the hands of the attendees. But indiscriminate stuffing of product into bags isn't the way to go, unless it's genuinely something that everyone needs (not everyone needs baby food, which was in the Walmart bag). Further, there's the schleppage factor - the sponsor has to get the stuff to the conference, the attendees have to get the stuff home. One win-win solution is coupons. I came home with a bunch of coupons for free product. I'll redeem the ones I want to try (thanks Method, Tide, Gap) and I'll probably pass along the coupon for a free jar of Ragu to someone who needs it more than we do (remember, I live with an Italian grandmother). My husband already ate the free McDonald's hamburger. Another solution would be for the sponsor to collect names and addresses, and ship the product to the interested blogger. That's what Hasbro did. Yeah, they handed out some games at their cocktail party, but they also handed out cards on which you could choose up to five games (out of maybe 15 choices). They haven't come yet, but I think we'll be getting a bunch of games to play.
About BlogHer 2009? That's all she wrote. Until next year.