Thursday, July 25, 2013

Twinings Tea removes royal baby bottle image

Twinings has decided to remove its image offering a baby bottle to the new heir to the throne after concern that Twinings – and Oreo as well – sent the wrong message to the royal new mom, who is breastfeeding Prince George. 
Twinings replaces bottle-feeding image in response to social media concerns.
My blog post yesterday on the use of bottle images instead of breastfeeding images in marketing campaigns received tens of thousands of views: "Kate breastfeeds while major brands offer the prince a bottleSome took to Twitter to express their concern about the Twinings and Oreo Internet campaigns.

Rachelle Lesteshen, who runs the Facebook page Unlatched, used her social media clout to 
Twinings tweets an apology,
agrees to remove the bottle image.
spread the word about the Twinings and Oreo images. When she learned of Twining's decision to remove the image she was pleasantly surprised, saying "it's nice when companies take the concerns of their customers seriously." Lesteshen says she raised the issue because she felt it was "a good opportunity to educate a company about how symbols affect public perceptions. Images like this perpetuate the notion that bottles are the normal way to feed an infant."

Twinings' acknowledgement of the issue and fast action to address it show the company is well on its way to becoming social media savvy.

Oreo didn't quite do so well. When Lesteshen first saw the Oreo bottle ad she responded with a tongue-in-cheek play on Oreo's own rogue breastfeeding ad, which went viral last year.

Oreo's clumsy response was to delete Lesteshen's post to their Facebook page. This is known as the "nothing to see here, move along" tactic:

Lesteshen is still hoping Oreo will take more positive action, saying "maybe they will see that other companies agree that bottle imagery is a bad idea." 

Ulnatched's Rachelle Lesteshen shared this suggestion with Oreo on their Facebook page.
Oreo removed Lesteshen's post, but she shared it with her fans.
Lesteshen, whose top reach on Facebook approached half a million people,
has also sent a note to Oreo about the Twinings decision.

Bottle images are ubiquitous in our society as synonymous with "baby." We shy away from 
Left: John Lewis department store bottle image, removed after concerns
expressed by the Analytical Armadillo and her readers.
Right: San Jose International Airport (via Hygeia Baby)
showing images of breastfeeding to the point of ridiculousness. UK-based parenting blogger Analytical Armadillo cited this ironic example last year in her post "Bottle symbols vs. breast." The UK-based department store John Lewis used a bottle image to illustrate their nursing rooms, instead of the widely-adopted International Breastfeeding Symbol. They agreed to make a change after concerns expressed by Analytical Armadillo and her fans.
These changes are small but important victories for breastfeeding educators. Two small changes in a sea of bottle images may not seem like a big deal, but they show savvy companies are responsive to public pressure when they realize they could be doing something that is harmful, not just to their reputation, but to mothers and babies.

The winners here are not just the companies themselves but the millions of new breastfeeding moms who are slowly beginning to to see supportive imagery when they are out and about in public, and when they turn to the Internet for advice.


  1. Thank you Twinings Tea! I'll be picking up some tea next time I'm at the store!

    However, Oreo, I will no longer be buying your products. You refused to use the breastfeeding ad and think that a bottle is acceptable and you refuse to listen to customer concerns about the message you are portraying to the public >:(

  2. Good on Twinings for doing the right thing!

  3. Oh, lord. You shouldn't be buying Oreos anyway. They're chocked full of HFCS.
    And you're just made they wouldn't use _your_ ad.
    I support breastfeeding, but not tantrums trying to pass themselves off as supporting breastfeeding.

  4. I can't believe people are getting so damn worked up over the image of a bottle when a mother is breastfeeding. Seriously.
    It seems no one has ever heard of mothers who breastfeed pumping and putting their breast milk in a bottle for when they can't be with their child or they're on the go.

    1. The reason people get so worked up over the image of a bottle instead of a breastfeeding image is because breastfeeding is not a bottle. I don't need a special room away from everyone to bottle feed my baby, I need it because I'm using my boobs to feed my baby and I'm trying to be considerate of others.

      There are people who pump and put breastmilk in a bottle to use on the go, but that's not what we are talking about. Some people can breastfeed 100% successfuly and not pump a single ounce! So their only choice, other than formula, is to nurse on the go. Not to mention its easier to just latch him on the breast than to bring out a bottle and find a place to warm it up.

  5. I don't think it's about anyone getting "so damn worked up." As a mother to a one-year-old little guy, I know I am way more comfortable nursing in areas where I see it clearly supported. There's nothing wrong with trying to promote breastfeeding in a very clear cut way. If there are better ways to support the healthiest option for future generations, why shouldn't we suggest them?

  6. These guys just can't win. It's just an ad people. I breast feed my son but feel no need to bash a company for a simple ad. AND my son DOES use a bottle! 5 days a week. I almost feel like these people bashing the bottles have no regard for a working, lactating, mother. SMH

  7. There are many reasons why it's SO important to make breastfeeding the norm, and I applaud and support companies that affirm it. I'm grateful every day that I can breastfeed my son. Unfortunately, there are many moms who, for reasons beyond their control, cannot breastfeed their babies no matter how hard they try. When I talk to a mom who doesn't breastfeed, I have to work hard at not being judgmental about it because the circumstance probably breaks her heart too.

  8. I actually think both ads are pretty cool. Oreo's job is to promote their product not breastfeeding. 

  9. I'm also a working, lactating mother, and I agree that this ad sends the wrong message. The problem is not the bottle, it's what it represents. Most people see a bottle and think "formula", not "breast milk", not even those of us who pump and bottle-feed.

  10. the issue isn't what kind of milk is in the bottle, the issue is making women feel they are doing something dirty when they give their baby boob in public.
    in order to normalise BF again the imagery needs to be used in place of a bottle.
    tesco feeding rooms have bottle images too.


  12. When the vast majority of images related to feeding newborn babies are breastfeeding images, it will be a healthy reflection of reality, and it will make it easier for new breastfeeding moms. As long as the vast majority of infant feeding images in mainstream and social media are bottle feeding images, we are living in a skewed reality that contributes to the idea that bottle feeding is the norm. I just looked at a study where UK television programs were examined to see how often bottle feeding vs breastfeeding images were used. There were 170 images of bottle-feeding and only 10 images of breastfeeding. That's a problem. If it reflected the current reality it would be a vast improvement, and yet there would still be some bottle feeding images.

    1. You said it perfectly my dear :)

    2. Jodine, thank you. That is very well put.