When his 11-year-old daughter brought home a note that she would be taking a one- to two-hour "Always Changing" class covering personal hygiene and menstruation, an anchor-reporter for a Boston public
radio station discovered a program that Procter & Gamble developed in 1984. Funded by Old Spice deodorant and Always feminine products, it reaches 85% of America's fifth-graders, Sean Cole reports.
Susan Linn, who heads up the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood in Boston, says the whole purpose of a video that comes with the curriculum is marketing, as is made evident by the
ubiquitous Always package in a vignette between a mom and her daughter's friend who is over for a sleepover. Teachers tell Linn: "These materials come in, they're free, they're colorful, they're
engaging. You know, what am I supposed to do?"
Lela Coffey, who is an associate marketing director for Always, defends the product placement. "Honestly, in this company, as cheesy as it
can sound sometimes, we go beyond the products that we sell to really understanding how to help the consumer behind the products," she says. If P&G were just looking to make a sale, the branding would
be more blatant, she says.
The Old Spice goes to the boys, by the way, but there's no hint of the accompanying curriculum.
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