It has been more than a year since Amazon pulled its own line of diapers off the market just a few months after it launched. Now, Amazon is asking some of its customers if they’d buy a new brand of diapers it may sell that doesn’t carry the Amazon name at all.
A few weeks ago, Amazon emailed some customers, including me, a link to a market research survey about “the look and design of packaging of products that will possibly be sold on Amazon.” In it, Amazon asked a host of questions about a new diaper brand called Mama Bear, as well as the design of packaging associated with it.
The Web address that hosted the survey included the name “Amazon Elements,” the brand name under which Amazon launched diapers and baby wipes in 2014. Amazon pulled the line of diapers off of its digital shelves in January 2015 and hasn’t brought them back since.
In the survey, Amazon asked whether the brand design shown was “appropriate for diapers” and whether I agreed that the brand is “nurturing,” “trustworthy” and “a high quality product.” The survey also asked whether I’d have interest in buying diapers with that product design, adding that I should assume they’d be “available at a reasonable price.”
An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment.
The survey did not say whether Amazon is the company considering creating the diaper brand or whether Amazon is surveying customers on behalf of another consumer packaged goods company. So let’s be clear: It could be either.
But there are multiple reasons why I think the more likely scenario is that Amazon is indeed thinking about creating the brand itself.
First, several former Amazon employees I spoke to said it’s highly unlikely Amazon would go to the trouble to conduct such a market research survey for another company. Second, there’s that “Amazon Elements” in the survey link. And finally, Amazon hasn’t brought the Elements diapers back yet, and it seems possible it could be re-evaluating whether a different name would be better for a diaper brand.
“’Elements’ is pretty cerebral in a category that has Luvs and Huggies,” said Mike Duda, managing partner of the creative agency Bullish, who has worked with brands like Warby Parker and Casper. “’Mama Bear’ fits a lot better.”
If Amazon were to go through and create the Mama Bear brand, it would mark one of only a few times the company has created its own product brands that didn’t carry the Amazon name. The company has a bedding line called Pinzon and once sold patio furniture under the name Strathwood. But the vast majority of products Amazon sells itself carry the AmazonBasics name. Even testing a non-Amazon brand in diapers could mark a realization by Amazon that there are some product categories where the Amazon name is more harmful than helpful.
The diapers category is an important one for any mass retailer because of the size of the market and the frequency with which they are ordered. Amazon also owns Diapers.com.
So-called private-label products can help retailers like Amazon squeeze more profits out of a sale. They have become increasingly popular among mass retailers in recent years as consumers show that they do not consider them inferior products.
My take: If it doesn’t leak and it doesn’t poison my boy, sign me up. Though I do wonder why there are elephants on a box called Mama Bear.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.