(If you haven’t already, read How Advertising Hurts Moms, Part 1: Misleading Ads and The Code’s Purpose)
While I was surfing Facebook the other day, an advertisement popped up:
Immediately I (obviously) screen-shotted it and posted it in a couple places to rant about it. Yet another example of misleading, damaging advertising. However, I was rather shocked when some of my friends didn’t seem to understand the problem, so, let’s break it down:
“Very Hungry” baby bottle: The very name implies that the baby needs this breast-like bottle to satiate hunger… a bottle intended for breastfed babies, therefore suggesting they need supplementation to fill up.
Bond better!: The implication here is that by having a bottle that is as much like the breast as possible, you can still share that breastfeeding bond (note: the “bond” has nothing to do with the type of bottle one uses).
Closely mimics the nursing experience: So, what about this bottle that LOOKS like a breast has any relation to actual breastfeeding whatsoever? None.
In fact, this particular ad is even more dangerous than you’d think. Who is most likely to buy a bottle like this? Breastfeeding moms. Who want to avoid nipple confusion, who are concerned about their milk supply (baby’s always ‘very hungry’?), who want to maintain that bond with their baby. However, these types of bottles, the “breast-like” bottles are some of the worst types for breastfeeding moms, with the most incidences of nipple confusion. In fact, this $18 a piece bottle is referred to as a ‘breastfeeding transition bottle.‘ So it is specifically marketed at breastfeeding moms, with the intention of getting their baby ON a bottle… pretty effective since it’s likely to cause some serious latch issues on the breast as well. Yikes.
Does that maybe help explain how a little two-line Facebook ad can be misleading enough that a mom who doesn’t quite trust her supply yet or have good information about supplementing with a bottle might think she’s shelling out extra dough to help prevent nipple confusion, and then that poor mom who is trying to do better ends up even worse off? Research “breast-shaped bottles” and you find a lot of information geared at breastfeeding moms. In fact, information on the types of bottles that are best for breastfeeding moms that are from good sources are kind of hard to come by.
Now, I bet you’re still wondering how my title of this post plays into thinks? Well look at that last line in that ad again… “closely mimics the nursing experience.” You know what other line we hear ALL the time in formula advertising? “Closer than ever to breastmilk.” In fact, every single time formula companies change around ingredients or add a new one (which remember, might not do anything) they then claim it’s even closer to breastmilk than ever before. But what a stupid statement that is.
Closer to breastmilk? Closely mimics the breastfeeding experience? Well, let me think of some other statements along those lines…
Wax Lips: Closely mimics the kissing experience! Red coloring closer than ever to human skin.
Standing on the Roof: Closer to God than ever! See higher than you did… downstairs!
Sex Doll Now with Human Hair! Closer to a real wife than ever before! Feels more like the real thing!
The Zaky hand pillow: assisting parents and their children feel closer to each other.
Helps with pain management and sleep, provides a sense of protection, and assists with the physical and psychological development of the child.
(Oh crap, those are REAL lines for the advertisement of this creepy thing!)
Seriously, I’ve got all night folks, but I think the message is pretty clear. Just because something is designed to loosely replicate something else does not mean it functions like, is similar to, or has the same effects as the real thing. Advertising constantly twists the truth until it’s barely recognizable, if not just a flat out lie. And to expect people our there to know every single detail of every single product and be able to find honest, non-corporation-funded info on every single thing? Not very realistic.
I love to think of myself as intelligent, and not gullible, but hey. I already admitted I bought into the formula/hospital bag brand loyalty trap, didn’t I? I also bought Rosetta Stone (Spanish 1!) from an infomercial… that actually works, by the way.
But we’ve got to be honest and admit that not only do OTHER people buy into lies sometimes, or really misleading language, but sometimes we do too. And when it’s just your rubber sex doll’s realism, it’s not a big deal. But when it’s your breastfeeding relationship and you and your baby’s very lifelong health at stake, that advertising is a huge problem, dangerous, and pretty cruel.
Pretty ridiculous, eh? Once rose-colored glasses are removed and real consequences or messages sent by advertising are considered, it takes someone basically in denial to see that honestly is something not prized by advertising. After all, just this week it was announced that Enfamil has been fined for the sixth time for intentionally misleading advertising… and yet their sales are up. Marketing works. People buy lies. People are HUMAN and can be mislead. But you can also choose to bury your head in the sand, or try to read between the lines and become a conscious consumer. Your choice.