The best of non-profit advertising and marketing for social causes

Breastfeeding advocacy: The new way to objectify boobs

Breastfeeding advocacy: The new way to objectify boobs

(The campaign “in situ” photos, appearing at the bottom of this post, show bare female nipples just in case your workplace is sensitive about that kind of thing.)

Here at Osocio, we have blogged repeatedly about the attempts by advertisers to fetishize women’s breasts in the name of breast cancer awareness. Last October, there seemed to be fewer sexualized breast cancer ads, so perhaps the message is getting through that a potentially deadly disease is not sexy.

So what is an agency to do, if they want an excuse to put bare breasts in their ads without being accused of sexism? How about breastfeeding! As we all know, pro-BFing organizations have been working hard to get public support for the idea that the nursing breast is not a sexual object, and that any public nudity in the name of feeding and comforting babies should be a protected right. (And I strongly agree with this position.)

And so we get this public service campaign from Boone Oakley, a North Carolina agency, as shared by Adland.

Here is their pitch:

This campaign was created to help promote the benefits of breastfeeding. The concept came from seeing fruit stickers in the produce aisle. As soon as people see a fruit sticker they know that the product is healthy and natural. That’s the same way we want women to feel about breastfeeding. These posters show expecting and new moms that “the best nutrition for your baby is you.” The posters and stickers are available to any “baby-friendly” hospitals free of charge.

And what could be wrong with that? Clearly inspired by an old Brazilian breast cancer screening campaign, which put “check yourself” stickers on supermarket melons (get it?), this will be of great help to encourage healthy breastfeeding initiation among first-time moms, right? And even better, the agency recruited real  nursing or pregnant women, not models!

I’ll let Adland’s “Dabitch” take it from here:

While I applaud both the model selection, and the memory aid idea is a practical one I can see being useful, I’m not sure sure photos of boobs helps women choose nursing. We all already know it’s best for our babies, the hurdle is to get the nursing started and that’s where hospital information and help fails. Here’s yet another campaign that’s not addressing that issue. But now you’ll have great tits in your agency portfolio, so I guess that’s good?

Here are the pictures from Boone Oakley‘s portfolio. They’re beautifully shot, by photographer Greg Slater, and I have to admit they caught my gaze. But are they helping further the cause of breastfeeding advocacy, or are they just going to make things worse for women trying not to get leered at when they feed their babies in public?



Breastfeeding advocacy


Breastfeeding advocacy


I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more