They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but somehow instead of asking someone to hold their beer, they just passed it into their other hand. Yet again we are faced with a Dove campaign that gets it so wrong, so very wrong.
Here’s the ad in question:
Where to start with this? Let’s take it from the top; the whole concept of the ad seems to revolve around “what’s your way?” Which seems innocuous enough, until you realise that they could have said something along the lines of, “every child is different, so no matter what your choice is as a parent, we support you!” See, that wasn’t hard was it?
But oh no, Dove went through focus groups, advertising teams, discussed marketing strategies and thought yeah, let’s create a passive aggressive advert that is discriminatory and dismissive of the genuine concerns that plague the very people that we are trying to sell to.
“Public breastfeeding isn’t just “fine” now … it is illegal to prohibit public breastfeeding in the UK and Ireland.”
The ad on the left is bad enough, proclaiming “75 percent say breastfeeding in public is fine, 25 percent say put them away. What’s your way?” Well frankly, Unilever, public breastfeeding isn’t just ‘fine’ now, because surprisingly enough, the Court of Human Rights believes that an infant’s sustenance is more important that your prejudiced sensibilities. It is illegal to prohibit public breastfeeding in the UK and Ireland.
Now for the ad on the right. Oh Dove, this is so much worse. Stating that 64 percent of people are ‘passionately’ against feeding a baby when they cry. Let’s get one thing straight; babies cry. They cry when they’re hungry, tired, bored, etc. Newborns especially are on a constant cycle of cry, eat, poo, cry, sleep, cry, eat, sleep. Unlike formula fed babies, breastfed infants don’t have set time for meals, and in fact rely on the method of feed-on-demand. This means that they will need to be fed more often.
Sometimes babies are upset and will suckle for comfort. Which—SHOCKER—they did before soothers were invented. So if they cry and they want to latch onto that breast, by golly you better bet your arse that that baby will get that nipple.
In addition, here’s a fun breastfeeding fact for you: when a parent is stressed, it makes it more difficult to produce milk, which as I’m sure you can guess, is distressing for the baby and the parent. New parents especially have a hard enough time of it, trying to do their best, and all this ad does is throw more shade at them.
I hate to say this again, but it is illegal to force a person to cover-up, stop, or hide in a toilet to breastfeed their child. Dove however, with this ad, have just stated that it’s okay to be a bigot, because a quarter of all people don’t like the idea either. Ireland and the UK have the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe, even though we follow the philosophy of ‘Breast is Best!’ In the end, maybe marginalising and already stigmatised group is probably not the best way forward.
“If your opinion involves discriminating against parents for feeding their children, then it’s about time you sat back and sorted out your priorities..”
Unilever responded to complaints saying: “Our campaign simply aims to celebrate the different approaches and opinions around parenting, including whether or not mums choose to breastfeed in public, recognising that it’s ultimately what works for you and your baby that matters the most.”
Sure, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But if your opinion involves discriminating against parents for feeding their children in a completely natural and lawful ‘way’, then it’s about time you sat back and sorted out your priorities.
If you are are currently breastfeeding, or planning to, don’t forget that you can always contact Breastfeeding Network for any queries you might have, or support you might need.
And if you’re interested in seeing an ‘alternative’ version of this ad, The Nopebook highly approves of this one…
— Fiona Carey (@carey_fiona) July 4, 2017