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'One Pack = One Vaccine' = one global motherhood? A feminist analysis of ethical consumption

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This article is inspired by a recent television commercial for Pampers (a brand of disposable diapers) which announces that by buying this brand of diapers 'you can help the world's babies in need, because one pack of Pampers equals one life saving vaccine'. This commercial promotes the 'One Pack = One Vaccine' initiative between Pampers and UNICEF, a cause-related marketing (CRM) campaign that supplies a tetanus vaccine to a woman in the South with each purchase of Pampers in North America. This article critically examines the way that CRM (and the One Pack initiative in particular) links individual consumption choices to development while simultaneously delinking consumption from environmental degradation, health risks and global inequalities. Taking this argument further, it uses a feminist perspective to examine the ways in which the narratives of 'first world women' and 'third world women' are depicted and used in the One Pack initiative, to make certain North-South power dynamics invisible while highlighting others. This is accomplished through a discourse of an imagined community of global motherhood. Drawing on insights gained from key informant interviews and discourse analysis, it is argued that the One Pack initiative discourses constrain North-South connections to those based on capitalist and colonial power relations. This limits the potential of CRM to promote more engaged, responsible and just terms of connection between the North and South.

Keywords: North-South; cause-related marketing; development; ethical consumption; third world women

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Geography, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

Publication date: 2011-04-01

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