Possibly the Most Anti-Breastfeeding Advertisement


Ad title: Torn Nipple.
Advertiser: Armila
Agency: MILK (Vilnius)
Country: Lithuania

This print ad, created for a maternity magazine, aims to convince breastfeeding mothers that without using Garmastan lotion, breastfeeding can be very painful.

The double page spread portrays a breastfeeding mother and her baby. The two pages are glued together. Once you tear them off of each other, the baby’s mouth tears off the nipple, thus demonstrating how painful breastfeeding can be, unless you can use Garmastan lotion.

The title, in block capitals, reads: “BREASTFEEDING HURTS”. The small-print on the ad reads: “See, your baby is hungry 12 times a day, and that much of breastfeeding makes your nipples very sensitive. They become sore and may even crack. But it will not be a torture if you use Garmastan before and after the feeding”.

Now for my analysis of the ad:

From an aesthetical perspective, the cold, almost alien art direction and baby’s psycho eyes (think mini-Mike Tyson) seem out of place in a maternity magazine. Also, the baby appears disproportionately large, and one has to wonder about the woman’s super-strength which enables her to lift such a huge baby with one hand. These factors are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to inaccuracy. More importantly the ad fails to mention the fact that correcting latch relieves any pain related to breastfeeding in most cases. Also studies have shown that in certain circumstances applying ointments such as Garmastan not only offers no improvement, but might actually make things worse (Mohammadzadeh. A et al). In cases of undiagnosed thrush, a common scenario, nipple cream can exacerbate the condition by sealing in moisture and nurturing the bad bacteria. The absence of these facts in the ad is of course intentional, as such information would deter sales.

Above I refer to ‘Torn Nipple’ as “possibly the most anti-breastfeeding advertisement” and this is no mean feat alongside the array of formula company propaganda. However, unlike formula, which is breastfeeding’s natural competitor, ‘Torn Nipple’ advertises a product designed to facilitate breastfeeding. This makes the marketing strategy even more insidious.

Sadly yet perhaps unsurprisingly, this ad won prizes in the coveted Golden Hammer (Latvia) and Golden Drum international advertising festivals. At the very least, I’m sure this ad would be enough to convince first time mothers – who don’t know what to expect from breastfeeding – to buy the product. It is also likely of course, to instil into them an unnecessary and irrational fear of breastfeeding.