These ads are not ok. The websites that run these ads are not ok.
This ad campaign from Similac is targeted at breastfeeding moms, and it’s extremely predatory. It’s fairly self-evident:
The ads are dark and shadowy, reflective of the way they want moms to feel about breastfeeding: unsure and unhappy.
The worst part about these ads (they usually run as slides, one after another, when websites load), is that they are usually found on the breastfeeding sections of parenting websites.
It is not ok to show predatory formula ads next to the breastfeeding content on parenting websites.
These ads have been running on Babble.com (in their breastfeeding section) since at least 2010, when PhD in Parenting called them out. There was an uproar then, and Best for Babes addressed the issue head-on. Babble made a false apology and kept doing what they were doing. I accessed the site today, 2/4/13, and the ads are still there, loud and proud. In fact, the ad runs THREE TIMES on one page (top, left, and right).
I found out that a site I’ve held in high esteem for avoiding this kind of predatory advertising, Fit Pregnancy, also has the ads running (in the same fashion, three-on-one-page). This is not ok. (site accessed & screen capped 2/4/13)
UPDATE 2/5/13, 5:00pm EST: Fit Pregnancy has responded very quickly to this issue, pulling the Similac ads from the breastfeeding section on their site. It’s wonderful that they responded so quickly and made changes to protect the nursing relationships impacted by the content on their site. (click the images to see larger versions)
|Fit Preg accessed 2/4/13||Fit Preg accessed 2/5/13||resoloved|
In the two+ years these ads have run, how many moms have been sucked into this “feeding expert” scheme and duped into switching to formula, when all they really wanted was breastfeeding help?
Feel free to share the Similac ad images wherever you’d like (though please don’t alter them in any way).
Moms and babies deserve better than this from the websites they turn to for information on breastfeeding. This has to stop.
ETA 2/4/13, 9pm EST: I also checked the popular sites BabyCenter.com and Disney-owned BabyZone.com. Neither had this campaign running on their homepage or their breastfeeding section, from what I saw. Not everyone is in bed with the formula companies.
ETA 2/4/13, 10:25pm EST: Lots of people have been asking if someone’s called these “help” lines to see what the advice is like. Moms have done that, see the comments on this post from PhD in Parenting and this post about the hotlines from Jodine’s World.