Despite these hard economic times, it seems Americans are now only interested in soiling and disposing items with cute designs on them. The latest trend: "designer diapers" for babies, which can cost 20% more just because they're printed, not white.
Since babies show no signs of giving up pooping and cloth diapers have fallen out of vogue, you might think the disposable diaper business would be doing just fine. However, USA Today reports that thanks to a four year decline in births, the companies are looking for new ways to boost sales. Last year, Huggies had a breakthrough with Diaper Jeans. The product, which really needs a catchy name like "Jiapers," was so successful that the company reissued them in the spring. Huggies recently announced that it now plans to sell a "limited edition" Huggies Camo diaper at Walmart. (It's unclear why the baby in the publicity shot is styled to look like Bruce Springsteen, since that would have been way more appropriate for the Diaper Jeans). The Camo diapers have a military tie in, with Huggies donating one diaper to a military service family in need for every package sold.
At first manufacturers were focused on releasing designer diapers in the summer, but now they're encouraging babies to go pantsless year-round. Pampers has introduced floral prints and pastels designed by Cynthia Rowley for girls, and argyle diapers for boys. Gdiapers, which are part cloth diaper, part disposable, also offers plaids for boys and ruffled diapers for girls.
As for why parents are so willing to spend more on diapers, which are already fairly expensive, advertising psychologist Renee Fraser says they're looking for approval. "It's all about moms getting compliments from other moms," she says. "Babies don't compliment each other on their diapers. Moms do." At least with diapers, unlike feminine hygiene products, you can show off the design for a few hours before it's filled with your precious child's excrement and tossed in the trash.