Function meets fashion these days as the trend toward distinctive and designer diapers continues. “Adding another bell and whistle to a diaper is nothing new and it really comes back to what the perception of the mother is,” says Mike Adinolfi, president, Braco Manufacturing. “The MLB program is targeting those buyers who are true fans of baseball who would prefer to have their child wear a team diaper versus a Disney or Warner Bros theme diaper.”
As the exclusive MLB licensee, diapers printed with the team logo and/or mascot, were scheduled to begin shipping April 9 and are initially available in 15 teams, including: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers.
The company will add more teams as markets dictate, says Adinolfi. “We have other licenses available but it would be too soon to plan for additional licenses now. MLB does have the longest season with a very strong fan base so this license should tell us if the market is open for this concept.”
The company also expects to launch its MLB Baby Wipes in June.
Braco has been in the baby diaper business for almost 30 years, primarily manufacturing and distributing its own control brand of diapers: Bumpers, “a supreme diaper with many of the same features as the leading national brands,” says Adinolfi, as well as Diapees, a premium diaper, and Imperial Touch “a very good performing basic diaper where cost is the primary feature.” The company also has a plant in Venezuela that produces and distributes to the local market.
The MLB Team Diapers were on schedule for an initial rollout to stadium concessions and to the specialty sports and novelty channel. “With the start of the 2012 MLB season and media days taking place at most team venues, mass, food and drug retail channels have expressed interest in targeting MLB fans,” says Adinolfi. “As you may know, the traditional retail channels are filled (and some may say overcrowded) with baby diaper offerings, so placing another diaper product into those channels can be difficult. Like most major sports, MLB does a great job in developing its brand and has been instrumental in supporting Braco in this program.”
Adinolfi says most of the 15 team stadiums are on board with selling the products, and the company is in discussion with mass, Internet and food and drug retail outlets.
The suggested retail price for these diapers is competitive with the major brands and offers similar features and performance, with the addition of the team logo.
“While there is no premium for our diapers versus other brands,” says Adinolfi, “our research also shows that buyers would actually pay more for a team licensed or branded product. The best analogy would be: would you go buy a Nike or Reebok branded product over a generic product? Research does show that the answer is yes. And team licensed diapers fit in this research. The fan-based team apparel market is a multi-billion-dollar business when you look at the fans of NASCAR, MLB, NHL, NBA, NFL, etc.”
The printing and construction is very standard, says Adinolfi. “We are printing on the barrier backsheet and laminating that sheet to our nonwoven outer cover. This method of construction is no different then just about all other brands.”