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‘It was designed to piss us off’: Goop’s fake luxury diaper aimed to turn rage into tax awareness

Created by ad agency Mother LA, the stunt was orchestrated to gain attention to advocacy organization Baby2Baby and the diaper tax issue.

‘It was designed to piss us off’: Goop’s fake luxury diaper aimed to turn rage into tax awareness
[Photo: courtesy of Goop]

It was juuuust believable enough. After all, this was a luxury disposable diaper from Goop, the same company that’s sold a jade egg for vaginal health, and a $75 vag-scented candle. Last week, the brand dropped an Instagram post hyping The Diapér, selling at $120 for a 12-pack.

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It was about as Goop-y as you could imagine, replete with virgin alpaca wool, amber gemstones, and a scent of jasmine and bergamot. There are not enough barf emojis on the planet to sum this up.

Ah, but sparking that particular gut reaction of overconsumption rage was the point all along. On Wednesday, Goop founder Gyneth Paltrow posted a video revealing The Diapér as a stunt, all designed to call attention to the fact that in 33 states, diapers are taxed as a luxury, and raise awareness for Los Angeles-based nonprofit Baby2Baby, which has distributed over 100 million diapers in the past decade, and helped lobby to successfully remove the diaper tax in California, Florida, and Maryland.

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“It was designed to piss us off,” says Paltrow. “Because if treating diapers like a luxury makes you mad, so should taxing them like a luxury. The Diapér is a fake product meant to shine a light on a real problem.”

Born at ad agency Mother LA, which regularly gives its creative teams a break from commercial brand work to focus on advocacy, the idea was to incite the kind of knee-jerk, social media rage regularly inflicted on culture, and then redirect it to an issue deserving of that anger. Mother LA’s head of strategy, Amaris Singer, says it was all about using that anger and humor to galvanize attention for good.

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“That’s what we do every day for companies, this was a bit different in terms of the mechanics of how people get angry, and then how to direct their rage on the internet,” says Singer. “It’s a crowded landscape and humor helps you stand out.”

Certainly part of the joke is that people might actually believe Goop would come up with a product like this. But credit to the brand for channeling its self-awareness into a good cause. “In many ways, we’re in the midst of a war on women, and it’s pivotal that brands that have a platform continue to push injustices like the diaper tax into the forefront,” says Goop’s executive vice president of brand, Noora Raj Brown.

Baby2Baby is no stranger to celebrity, with its annual gala event, and having big names as brand ambassadors for its advocacy. Co-CEO Norah Weinstein credits Mother LA and Goop for shielding the organization from any of the initial anger. “They then allowed us to do what we do best, which is educate people on diapers and the diaper tax,” says Weinstein. “This is our very first stunt, and it was a bit nerve-wracking at first as Gwyneth and Goop were taking some heat, but also impressive how they were willing to take that heat to shed light on the issue.”

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And while the campaign was aimed squarely at the diaper tax, Baby2Baby co-CEO Kelly Sawyer Patricof says the additional attention has given them a chance to highlight another parenting-related issue in the news cycle. “We’ve been talking about baby formula since March 2020, and all of a sudden people want to talk about it,” says Patricof. “These issues are so important to us, so we take every opportunity to take advantage of new, exciting ways to educate people on them.”

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity.

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