Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reclaim what now?

Bittylab, a new company just launched last year, is trying to get their BARE bottles off the ground. At first glance, everything seems great: the bottles are designed to mimic a woman's breast, they are free of so many of the nasty chemicals still found in many bottles and baby things, the company seems to be pro-breastfeeding, and they won a 2012 Eco Excellence Award.

Enter their marketing campaign this July on Twitter: "New Baby? Reclaim your wife. Meet BARE," and "Feeling like you're competing with your newborn for mommy's attention? Meet Bare."

While I give them (slight) props for marketing to men (whom most companies completely ignore when advertizing for baby, household, and cleaning products), Bittylab is suggesting that a wife is property to be reclaimed. As in, the wife, or her breasts, are the husband's property. Or, you know, a baby is competing for breast time because it needs to eat so it can grow and not die. Hopefully every new mom has heard by now: Breast is Best;* we should encourage as much nursing as possible!

And then let's look at the second ad for a moment. It either suggests that a) you feed your baby formula; or b) you pump and then bottle-feed your baby. The company's stance is pro-nursing, so the first is out, leaving the suggestion that a mother pump instead of nurse to save some time.

Speaking as *ahem* an experienced pumper, you would prefer that your partner stop everything, strip off her clothing, slather her nipples in lanisoh so they don't crack, connect her breasts to suction cups and a motor, and feel a little like a milking cow? While I appreciate that it's an option and enjoyed the opportunity and choice to pump when I need and wanted to, pumping is just not glamorous.** Pumps don't work as well or expediently as a baby's little bird mouth, and then you actually have to feed the baby the bottle later, not to mention wash and sanitize the bottles and pumping equipment. So it takes a lot longer, which doesn't really correspond with saving time using the bottle. Not to mention, a father really shouldn't be putting his own needs before his infant's needs. This seems to harken back to an era where the patriarch of the family was served their meal first, and makes all of the family decisions.

Oh Bittylab, why so sexist? Why such shameful advertising?

But it's okay everyone, they apologized on facebook!
Ladies, We're really sorry about the twitter campaign run last week. It was a huge miss understood and resulted in offensive messages. It was taken down yesterday. The messages had nothing to do with putting a husband needs before the baby's needs, it was more about having a little extra time for the rest of the family. Obviously the whole campaign was poorly executed. We apologize deeply for this miss understanding and assure you, from now on the campaigns will be closely monitored before they go out. Thank you for a second chance.
.... oh.... they didn't actually realize why the ads were offensive.

* While scientific studies do show that breastmilk is superior to formula for infant brain development, I fully understand that not all moms have success with breastfeeding. While I firmly believe that every mom should do their absolute best, even through the hellish acclimating period (the first 3-180 days), I do not judge those moms that are unable to continue. As long as they tried. Really hard.

** Notice how awkward our friend from 90's is here? Even though she's decked out with her special pumping bra and a cardboard computer, one can immediately tell that pumping is a really strange activity. And this picture? This picture is to actual pumping as a fast food burger ad is to the actual "product" they've convinced you is edible.