There has been a lot of attention recently about a popular website having ‘formula advertising’ on their website. A spark that came a breastfeeding advocate who removed her nomination from a competition to win money for charity due to a conflict in her advocacy and not wanting ‘blood money’ from a formula company.
The ad in question is the similac one for infant feeding. When the campaign first launched this ad was visable all over the site as well as in the breastfeeding help sections. As a supporter of the WHO Code and an advocate for breastfeeding – at that time i had a big issue with this. Since the ad was placed in those particular sections it felt like it was marketing towards the breastfeeding community – looking for help & then finding that help from a formula company. Smelled wrong to me.
Since then – although the ads do still appear on the site – they are no longer popping up in the breastfeeding sections of the site.
The recent interest in the site for the same ad had me thinking. Is that particular ad even in violation of the WHO Code?
Well, from my understanding it doesn’t. The ad does not display any formula. It is advertising the help line, not their formula product. They are not toting free samples. No words, pictures or products idealizing the use of artificial feeding.
I know Similac is a WHO code violator. They like to target moms with free samples and coupons. However – I don’t think the feeding expert line is a bad thing. Families who use formula for their babies deserve access to answers on how to feed their kids – choosing the formula that is right for their child, how much to use, how often to feed, why he may be gassy etc.
What has me really scratching my head is WHY this ad campaign? I know that it is a slippery slope on what ‘advertising’ is ok – if the ad itself is not a violation and the program they are promoting seems to be valid but the company who is behind this is a known violator of the WHO Code – does that make it ok? Even i don’t really know the answer to that.
Perhaps if more lactation consultants offered knowledgeable advice for feeding with formula – there would be less of a need for a formula company to offer that. Or would that be fishy and seem like they had ulterior motives because the formula feeding advice comes from a lactation consultant?
There are bigger WHO Code violation advertisements going around right now advertising on equally popular big websites. This Enfamil one for example -this is clearly breaking the WHO Code. They are advertising a contest but the words “patterned after breast milk” is a violation. This ad is a part of the BlogHer publishing Network which means unless you have opted out of formula campaigns this advertising will display on your site in conjunction with other ads in rotation. I am against this type of advertising.
Formula is NOT evil. Formula has it’s place – so do formula companies. I am against false and misleading advertising BUT i am NOT against support for those who choose to/need to use formula for their children. Like i have always said – I’m a breastfeeding advocate – not a formula hater. I respect the activist who withdrew from the competition due to her own advocacy beliefs but why the hostility – can a formula company provide information for those using infant formula without it being all about the breastfeeding moms?
What do you think? Is there room for both?Share This Post: Tweet