If you're in North America you'd almost have to be hiding under a rock somewhere to have missed the hoopla that is rumbling across the U.S. and Canada this week as Oreo released its Korean advertisement for the little brown-and-white cookies.
The ad was created by the Cheil Worldwide agency in South Korea and has stirred quite a ruckus online and in Facebookland. (It's an advertisement we are not even able to post on the peaceful parenting page because of the repeated flags, blocks and bans for anything - photo, text, question or otherwise - that slightly resembles something breastfeeding-positive).
There seem to be five primary reactions to the ad:
a) Cute ad! Go Oreo! Go Breastfeeding!
b) Yeah Breastfeeding! But why does that baby have a cookie in his hand? Way too young for all that processed sugar and artificial dye/color/additives/flavors...
c) Love Oreos! But far too much 'exposure'. Put those things away - you're going to attract perverts. [Note: you won't find any nipplephobics among the peaceful parenting directors - we support human milk for human babies in any and all forms and strive to abolish nipplephobia by normalizing breastfeeding anytime, anyplace - even in cookie advertisements.]
d) That baby's latch needs a little help... But he is distracted by the threat of a photographer stealing his cookie!
e) Fun! But way too photoshopped. What postpartum, nursing mother's breasts look like that?
We aren't big fans of photoshopped breasts. And plead with parents not to give over processed, heavy sugar items to their babies. We are very much in favor of exclusive human milk for human babies (exclusive = nothing but human milk to consume) until at least the second half of the first year of life (as is recommended by most pediatric societies the world over, and the time at which the human gut closes). But if a cookie's going to come with milk - and be consumed via advertisement by a little human - then human milk is certainly the way to go.
What is shocking here is not the advertisement itself, but the distain and fear that is coming from within the U.S. blogosphere.
The Huffington Post covered the breastfeeding babe's mouth and writes:
[E]ven Oreo can push boundaries [...] Perhaps the company has found reason to target breastfeeding women, or Mayim Bialik fans. (Or those that enjoy watching a woman breastfeed, we suppose).Those who enjoy watching a woman breastfeed? Why does something normal and necessary for human health and livelihood like the simple act of feeding a baby as he is designed to eat, always bring on the sexualized comments when presented to North American audiences? It's no wonder ads like this are never released in the United States, and rarely make their way out in Canada. In almost every nation around the world (including many Arab nations where groups of women are often otherwise covered head to toe) breastfeeding is such a normal part of everyday life that babies are fed wherever they are hungry, and toddlers are nursed whenever they are in need of comfort. But such normalcy has somehow disintegrated to such a degree in North America that we aren't even able to recognize it for what it is. The fact that this advertisement is news here says more about our cultural ills than anything else.
The Business Insider didn't censor the nursing Oreo babe (thank you!) but they did discuss the ad with a slight aura of disgust: "in bizarre branding news" "Oreo has been going a little marketing crazy..."
Foodbeast Food News blocked out the happy nursling with a big ol' black box. Something we're accustomed to seeing on sexually explicit photos: but breastfeeding is not sexually explicit! Foodbeast's Eli writes:
Scratch that kid-friendly vibe you’ve been accustomed to from OREO. A recent ad emerging from South Korea pictures a young baby getting breastfed, mother’s nipple exposed, and OREO cookie in hand. [...] Not sure [of] the target audience expected out of this campaign — pregnant women? Horny snack junkies? Super advanced grocery decision-making infants? Our web developer Rudy?Speaking of Rudy, he responds to Foodbeast's post of the ad labeled "Not Suitable for Work" on Twitter by saying, "I GOT A FOODBEAST GAG ORDER ON THIS"
It seems we aren't the only ones rolling eyes at all the sexualized ridiculousness and "NSFW" reposts of this ad. Sara McGinnis at Babycenter responded, "[Not Suitable For Work.] Seriously?? This kind of stuff IS work around these parts." "[T]he Oreo breastfeeding ad is pure awesomesauce! It’s about time we get over any remaining breastfeeding squeamishness (*ahem* Mark Zuckerberg) and let the tata pride run wild."
And life would be a whole lot better (and breastfeeding relationships much more successful) if this very scene were played out in every office building where every nursing momma worked with her baby at her side - maybe without the Oreo cookie.
In another Huffington Post bit on the ad, a poll question asks, "Are you offended by this ad featuring breastfeeding?" (You can vote here.) What a silly question to ask. What other mammal would be offended by the normal feeding of its own species? Or even think that being offended was within the realm of possibilities?
At the end of the day, we're looking back over Oreo's official slogan:
Oreo. Milk's favorite cookie.
And if this is the case - then this cookie's found a good home. Because there is no milk like momma milk!
Anna, director of Peaceful Parenting Network Oahu, created this fun spin on the Oreo ad. After all, breastfeeding mommas do deserve a cookie! A lactation cookie, maybe?
In other news - as expected, Facebook has started removing the Korean Oreo ad from their pages, and issuing warnings to those who share the advertisement.
Hygeia Halfmoon (author of Primal Mothering in a Modern World, developer of Cozy Cradle Baby Slings) had her image removed this morning; Kate Gulbransen, admin at FB! Stop Harassing...All Breastfeeding Women was issued a warning from Facebook, "We removed the following content you posted or were the admin of because it violates Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities." Several others have reported their image of the ad was removed today by Facebook as well, and still more report they are not able to upload the image to their breastfeeding support pages at all.
Peaceful parenting momma, Argentina Coy, snapped a real milk and cookie photo today with her sweet two year old. We just had to share. In her daughter's hand is a WhoNu? cookie.
"At 2, I don't often have cookies, but when I do, I prefer them with Dos Boobies!"