North Carolina ad agency, BooneOakley, is stepping up to the challenge to move breastfeeding into mainstream advertising to remind mothers and providers how nutritious breast milk is for human babies. Their campaign is purposeful and practical as it encourages mothers to use produce-style stickers to help them persevere through the ups and downs of postpartum.
The stickers read: “100% Natural, Locally Grown, and The best nutrition for your baby is you.” There are three stickers, in different colors, that each have a message. Each sticker also includes statements based on studies such as: “breastfeeding reduces a baby’s risk of obesity by 24 percent, of SIDS by 36 percent, and of asthma by 26 percent.”
These stickers are not a stand alone campaign, however, the agency has also gone as far as to have the stickers placed on the breast of pregnant/nursing mothers, have the mothers photographed to create posters, and provide the pro-breastfeeding package to baby-friendly hospitals here in the United States free of charge. It is recommended to use the stickers on the breast as a reminder of which side the mother last nursed on.
Our local Charlotte, NC chapter contacted me about the advertisement article in Adweek. Immediately, I called and requested to speak to the advertisement copywriter. After speaking briefly by phone and congratulating her on a job well done, we conducted an email interview.
Copywriter; Mary Gross, who herself, does not have any children completely understands the need for this campaign. She expressed that talking to a co-worker, who recently had a baby and who explained how difficult breastfeeding can be, sparked the idea. “We wanted to create a campaign that encouraged moms to keep breastfeeding even when things get hard.” Gross wrote.
When asked about the how they knew the campaign would be worthwhile, Gross stated, “We didn’t know if anyone would even see the posters or stickers, but once they were well-received by the lactation nurses, we knew it could make a difference for pregnant and nursing moms!”
Considering that hospitals have tried many different ways to promote breastfeeding in the past, Gross said, “We’ve looked at a lot of hospital breastfeeding posters and most of them just have a picture of a baby or a mom holding a baby. We wanted to make something that was simple, beautiful, and grabbed people’s attention.”
Mary Gross, told Normalize Breastfeeding, “I’m from Lancaster, PA and my mom works at Women’s and Babies Hospital. She got me in contact with the lactation nurses,” when asked how she was able to make the initial contact with the hospital.
Further comment was requested from the hospital contact, when Gross revealed, “Unfortunately after the Adweek article went out on Monday, the head of the hospital had the lactation nurses remove the posters. We are still continuing to send them stickers and hope that other baby friendly hospitals and organizations will be less concerned about a tasteful image of a female breast. We didn’t put anything out on social media, but we have seen several posts from breastfeeding advocates about the posters.”
The final question being: “Was your intention of the posters with full frontal visuals of the breast to bring attention to more than breastfeeding; were you also considering that the images could help to break down the over-sexualization of the breast in our society?”
Gross responded, “That wasn’t our intention, but we have gotten many comments that the posters that brought this issue to the forefront. We wanted our visuals to be a representation of real women with breasts that aren’t perfect and photo-shopped. We decided to keep portions of the nipple in [the shot] since, for a newborn, a nipple is nothing more than a source of nutrition. But the fact that it’s bringing to light the over-sexualization of breasts is just an added bonus!”
The images above have also been labeled NSFW, not safe for work. After only a couple of days of sharing the campaign, they hit a road block on social media. The images were flagged on an employee’s Facebook page as pornographic and the account was suspended.
The image below is my solution. Right click to download, SHARE WIDELY, and help this campaign get off to a great start. Since breastfeeding is “protected” by Facebook, this image will help get the word out, and it should help to remove the obstacle of having images reported and accounts shut down. Repost and HT #BooneOakley #NormalizeBfing
Vanessa A. Simmons
I will also be contributing to their cause. Moms have started to ask for the stickers to be mailed to them and even to be photographed as a part of the BooneOakley breastfeeding sticker campaign, when I come to their local area on tour. I am excited to capture nursing mothers for this cause alongside my campaign, I will be adding this portrait into the private sessions, at no additional charge. Read more about the official Normalize Breastfeeding Tour to participate. Additional photographers wanting to participate are required to join the NormalizeBreastfeeding.org media campaign to use the stickers in their breastfeeding sessions.
Official Sponsor of the #NBFtour