Baby Dove Stirs Controversy Over Breastfeeding in Public With New Ad Campaign
A recent ad campaign by Baby Dove UK aimed at highlighting that there is no one right way to parent has instead fanned the flames surrounding breastfeeding in public and created a backlash among moms on social media. The campaign uses several different images, with the tagline that asks “What Is Your Way?” But rather than inspire support for all moms and dads, the company has been accused of shaming mothers who breastfeed in public.
One ad shows a nursing baby with the caption, “75% Say Breastfeeding in Public is Fine. 25% Say Put Them Away. What’s Your Way?”
Bizarre advertising campaign from @Dove which appears to condone anti-breastfeeding stance. What a spectacular own goal. #dove #babydove pic.twitter.com/6lYcia0tkd
— Paper Face (@1984Est) July 4, 2017
Another poses a similar similar question about feeding a crying infant. These images and questions, say moms and breastfeeding activists, are a huge problem. Non-profit organization Baby Milk Action calls them “seriously misguided”, and implores moms not to be intimidated by the ads or their message.
The outrage over the adverts has been swift, and has reignited the fight over breastfeeding in public.
Woman across social media have called the company out for their ill-conceived campaign.
No woman should be made to feel ashamed for feeding their baby in public. Boycott #babydove
— Caron Zanjani (@cazcake) July 3, 2017
@dove What has this got to do with baby products?! I'm in the 40%. If my baby cries, I do what I can to comfort her. #thatsmyway #babydove pic.twitter.com/FNTVPoRFzw
— Emma (@emmieblum) July 1, 2017
It's a legal right to feed in public. #babydove & @Dove why are you adding fuel to the fire of bigots who don't support mothers?! #shocked pic.twitter.com/uWx7L1ZUFR
— Kat Quigley (@KatQuigley2009) July 1, 2017
Setting aside for a second that a company that sells soap wading into the breastfeeding ring is a little odd, the wording on the ads is absolutely off-putting. “Put them away”? How about…no? In the US, there are still three states that do not explicitly protect mothers who breastfeed in public. In the UK, where the Baby Dove ads ran, breastfeeding in public is protected in nearly all areas, but the country has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. Surely, there was a better way to support all moms and “their way”?
The company has responded to the controversy with a message on their Twitter account. They say the campaign supports mothers who breastfeed in public, as well as those who do not, and that they believe there is no right way when it comes to being a parent.
We'd like to share our thoughts regarding recent comments on some of our adverts. pic.twitter.com/uSpsG7tIMk
— Baby Dove (@BabyDoveUKI) July 4, 2017
We agree that there is no one “right” way to raise your kids, only the way that works for you. Moms break their own rules all the time, once they figure out that there’s a better way FOR THEM. But while there may not be a right way to parent, surely there’s a right way to show your support for moms in advertising campaigns, and maaaaaaaybe using the words “put them away” in reference to breastfeeding in public isn’t it.