Pampers quietly replaces 'Sesame Street' characters on diapers amidst gender concerns
Pampers is quietly pulling 'Sesame Street' characters such as Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Oscar out from their products amid gender concerns
Characters from the popular 'Sesame Street' show who feature on Pampers products are quietly being taken down by the baby and toddler products brand, and it is probably because a majority of them are male characters. In a massive secret movement, Pampers has removed characters such as Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Oscar from most of its diapers.
The quietly executed movement was confirmed by officials at 'Sesame Street' and Procter & Gamble, the parent company for Pampers. A mother of two, Susie Wong Benjamin, was under the impression that she had bought a fake Pampers box when a recent purchase she made had very generic looking designs and illustrations. Susie added that customer service representatives at P&G blamed the switch on gender issues when she called up and inquired.
According to the 'New York Post', Susie shared, "The Pampers rep said… parents who have daughters thought that the ‘Sesame Street’ characters are too masculine". A Pampers spokeswoman, meanwhile, slyly dodged a question on whether parents had complained that the 'Sesame Street' characters did not have enough females to which she replied "no" in an email.
P&G spokeswoman Laura Dressman wrote, "We talk to thousands of parents every year to understand how our diapers are best meeting their babies’ needs and any new trends they might be interested in. We learned that there was a growing desire from Moms and Dads for modern, fresh graphics." When the spokeswoman for Sesame Street Beatrice Chow was asked about the switch, there was no mention of gender.
Chow replied via email and said, "details about [Pampers’] current support for our gender equality work," along with a link. The link turned out to be a year old press release which was titled, "P&G and Sesame Street partner to promote gender equality" which had the character Chamki, a quirky muppet shown on the Indian version of 'Sesame Street'. "We look forward to deepening our partnership with P&G on all fronts in the future," Chow continued.
The quiet and stealthy shift from a 15-year long and successful partnership has left many feeling upset and outraged. One mother took to a parenting blog baby center and wrote, "I’m convinced I got fake Pampers swaddlers from Amazon." Other parents have expressed their concerns about the drop in quality. The P&G spokeswoman labeled the new changes as "improvements which included a softer inner liner and also a 3-way fit design" meant for an increased absorbency.
However, not all parents were convinced at the improved quality and Wong-Benjamin shared that she even demanded a refund after her two-month-old son Xavier leaked more with the new pampers. "I thought this could be something made in China — like something you’d buy at the dollar store. I mean, who puts a camera on a diaper?"