breast-feeding

Controversial ad uses breast-feeding to sell cookies

April 19, 2012 at 2:48 PM ET

Oreo /
An Oreo advertisement from South Korea, altered for content by TODAY.com.

The latest in the breast-feeding wars comes all the way from South Korea and involves the epitome of American snacktime: the Oreo cookie.

An ad from Agency Cheil Worldwide pairs the crème-filled treat with an unlikely image: a super-cute baby holding the cookie while nursing on his mama’s breast.  The accompanying slogan: “Milk’s favorite cookie.” (It's unclear if Nabisco, maker of Oreos, is actually using the ad or if the agency just created it.)

It’s one thing to cheer when other cultures portray breast-feeding as normal. But isn’t there something kind of... icky… about the way this ad blatantly sexualizes breast-feeding?

Let’s begin with the obvious: Breasts don’t look like that when you are nursing, all air-brushed and perky and perfect. (At least, mine sure didn’t. Apologies for the TMI.)  Where are the stretch marks, the cracked nipples?

Not that breast-feeding is not beautiful, and natural – it is. But it’s hardly glamorous or sexy, and by looking at this ad, you’d think some model just left the catwalk to feed her child. If that actually is her child: Is this even a lactating mother?  (Editor’s note: You can see the full image heresince we hid the NSFW part of the photo.)

The photo also conjures up the image of some ad genius – we’re betting it was a guy, or a group of them – sitting around thinking, “How can we make a cookie look sexy?” Cookies. Milk. Kids. Breast milk. Boobs!

Sure, the ad is provocative, which in itself makes it effective. But it’s textbook juvenile. Just skim the comments of a Huffington Post story on the ad (which is where we first read about it; hat tip) to see the male reaction.

"I am now going to buy a case of Oreos," writes HuffPo "Super User" Jack Davies.

And poster Builderman55 comments: "Lucky baby...."

It’s extra ironic that the ad targets a narrow audience – families with babies – that is likely to respond, knowingly: “Well, that baby is way too young to eat a cookie.” (Then again, maybe it is geared to a demographic of dudes who eat Oreos and like pretty breasts and cute babies.)

On an Adsoftheworld.com’s post, a commenter named Hadrons said:

“Simply not pleasant. Nor appealing. (Are you going to have a nice warm cup of mother’s milk with your cookie now?)”

Another commenter, Tom Megginson, said he likes it and points out that “the idea of paralleling cow’s milk and human milk is hardly new…Let’s not forget that La Leche League in the USA partners with the California 'Got Milk?' people.”

He also says he is amused by “how shocked and offended adults are by just seeing a breastfeeding image. I guess this is the reason nursing women are still subjected to social apartheid by anti-nature prudes.”

An anti-nature prude? Not so much. An anti-women-being-objectified prude? I can live with that.

More stories on breast-feeding from TODAY Moms:

Wean, baby, wean: The pressure to rest the breast

Should breast-feeding by shown on Sesame Street?

More adoptive moms breast-feed babies

Video: Playdate waivers: Should parents sign them?

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