The Baby Mailing Preference Service (BMPS or Baby MPS) allows parents to stop baby-related marketing. The opt-out service was introduced by the Direct Marketing Association in 2002 to
enable parents who have suffered a miscarriage or bereavement of a baby in the first week of life to register their wish not to receive baby related mailings. Of course you can also sign up to the service simply because you don't want your newborn to become the target of junk mailers.
Strictly speaking the Baby MPS is a Parents MPS. When you register you are not asked to provide the name and address of the baby. Instead you are asked to provide the name and address of the mother and (optional) father, and the 'due date' of the baby.
The details you provide are added to the Baby MPS 'suppression file'. This is a list containing the details of all parents who have registered with the opt-out service. Junk mailers can buy the list from the Direct Marketing Association to prevent they contact parents who don't want to be contacted. The Baby MPS suppression file is updated daily so that junk mailers can stop targeting you and your baby within a very short period of time.
Your details will stay on the Baby MPS suppression file forever, even though your baby will at some point cease to be a target for companies trying to sell you baby related products and services. It is possible to opt back in after registering by contacting the Baby MPS directly:
Does it work?
As is usually the case with opt-out schemes run by the Direct Marketing Association, nobody outside DMA House knows how effective the scheme is. I suspect the service is relatively effective because baby related junk mail can be incredibly painful and insulting; the last thing you need after a miscarriage are advertisements congratulating you with the birth of your child and encouraging you to buy nappies and jars of baby food.
That said, the Baby MPS has its limitations. Only junk mailers that are members of the Direct Marketing Association have to check if your baby has been registered with the Baby MPS. It is worth noting that the Direct Marketing Association does not give information about how much unwanted junk mail registering with the service is likely to stop. You will simply have to trust that you will receive less baby-related junk mail than you would normally receive.
Any complaints about the Baby MPS should be directed to the Direct Marketing Association, in the first instance. If your complaint is about a particular piece of junk mail you will usually be asked to send the full mailing (including the envelope) to:
Baby MPS Complaints Department
70 Margaret Street
LONDON W1W 8SS
On receipt of your complaint the Direct Marketing Association will check if the sender is a member and, if so, contact the sender to find out why the mailing was sent. If the sender is deemed to have breached the British Codes of Advertising and Sales Promotion your complaint will be passed to the Advertising Standards Authority for action.
- Baby MPS website (mpsonline.org/bmpsr)