News outlets reporting on Kraft's controversial Oreo breastfeeding ad felt the need to censor the photograph to protect sensitive readers. The outlets chose to blur out the 20% of the exposed nipple of a breastfeeding woman doing what comes naturally.
They should have blurred out the cookie.
The United States is the one major country that freaks out over female nipples, yet high-fructose corn syrup was created in that country and its food policy works terribly hard to export high-fructose corn syrup to other countries. And yes, while a baby holding a processed cookie is offensive enough, holding a cookie tied into Kraft's insistence on using high-fructose corn syrup in Oreos is that much more disturbing.
BalanceofFood.com strongly encourages adults to make proper nutrition choices, but recognizes that free will allows us true freedom to choose good vs. not-so-good. Babies haven't earned that right.
Kraft tells us the ad "was never intended for public distribution or use with consumers" though the possible South Korean audience are much more confident in their ability to handle a partial female nipple. Taking them at their word, someone still set up a photo shoot, put the cookie in the baby's hands, and took the picture. And that picture sends a terrible message about babies and food marketing.
Advocates against marketing food to children who are tougher on that subject than I am point out that children can't process the ability to make good food decisions. True, babies aren't pressuring their parents to buy Oreos or other cookies, but "Milk's favorite cookie" in that context putting unnecessary pressure on newborn mothers and fathers.
The growth that babies experience between 0-3 years old requires extra care about their nutrition, not less. We have also gone on the record as saying breastfeeding is the best choice for young babies whenever and wherever possible.
If Kraft and Oreos wanted to do it right, the tagline on the ad would read something like:
"Someday, this child will enjoy an Oreo cookie for the very first time. But until then, this child should settle for milk … without the cookie."
Food companies pour millions into advertising while fruits and vegetables and breastfeeding get a tiny fraction of the ad time and space. Having a major food marketer push a pro-breastfeeding agenda with a sly nod to one of its products would be a win-win situation in the marketplace — provided that Americans get over their phobia of the female nipple.