Advertisements in the mass media
Companies are breaking the rules by ...
advertising infant formulas, follow-up formulas, complementary foods for infants under 6 month and feeding bottles and teats in newspapers, magazines, television and radio.
Chart 7 lists companies which use the media for such advertising. Companies that advertise feeding bottles and teats are listed in Chart 12.
|Infant Formula||Follow-up Formula||Complementary Food|
|ABBOTT ROSS||Spain · Philippines||Spain|
|BEECHNUT||Mauricio · Dominican Rep.|
|DANONE / DIEPAL||Côte dIvoire · Mauricio||Colombia · Côte dIvoire · Spain · Mauricio|
|DUMEX||Tailandia||Malaysia · Tailandia|
|GERBER||Colombia · Philippines · Malaysia · Mauricio|
|HEINZ||Malaysia · Mauricio|
|HUMANA||Croacia||Germany · Croacia||Germany|
|MEAD JOHNSON||México||Philippines · Indonesia · Mauricio|
|MILUPA||Germany||Germany · Mauricio||Germany · Mauricio|
|NESTLE||Germany · Tailandia||Germany · Colombia · Côte dIvoire · Spain · Mauricio||Germany · Corea · Côte dIvoire · Philippines · Indonesia · Malaysia · Mauricio · Thailand|
COW & GATE
|WYETH||Uruguay||Colombia · Philippines · Mauricio · Uruguay|
Other companies advertise in the mass media include: Alter (Spain), Demeter (Germany), Hero (Spain), Kölln (Germany), Helios (Indonesia), Nam Yang (Corea), Pureen (Malaysia) y Pascual (Spain).
Advertisements of infant formulas
While most companies would no longer dare advertise infant formulas in the media given the clarity of Article 5.1 and the prohibitions in many national laws, there are still a few companies which try to get away with it.
|One example of this is where a company changes the design of its infant formula label and takes the opportunity to publicize the "new look" label as much as possible. In Uruguay, Wyeth publicized its new design labels for Nursoy and Promil in the Sunday magazine of the El Pais newspaper.|
Some companies use their company names as brand names. In this way, any advertising of the company name naturally advertises the brands of products within the scope of the Code as well.
Nestlé, in Thailand, uses the name Bear Brand and identical logos on no less than five different products i.e. infant formula, follow-on formula, powdered milk, sterilized milk and milk with honey. Not being subject to restrictions on the advertising of milks for older children and adults, Nestlé widely advertises these products while simultaneously promoting Bear Brand. For example, one TV advert for Bear Brand shows a newborn baby being taken home from the hospital by his parents. The association of Bear Brand with a newborn infant is effective promotion for Bear Brand formula.
This Dumex ad in Thailand shows children at different stages
of growing up, thus advertising milks for all ages including Dumex infant formula.
In August 1997, Italian television advertised Mellin infant formula by showing a newborn baby and its mother, while a background voice says: "from the first day, remember, Mellin was with you ...". The next clip shows the baby as a healthy toddler continuing with Mellin baby food.
In the 10th Anniversary special issue of the Parenting magazine published in the USA* and found in Mexico, Nestlé has taken out a full page advertisement for Carnation Alsoy, "a soy infant formula for babys first year". The caption "The Carnation baby likes soft music, warm baths and fuzzy blankets. Definitely, the sensitive type" and the picture of a wide-eyed baby half wrapped in a blanket, as well as a pack shot of the tin and a feeding bottle all combine to promote the use of the product. The text recommends switching to a soy formula if the baby is sensitive, and claims that Alsoy is 20% cheaper than other leading soy formulas. Only towards the end is breastmilk being the ideal food mentioned, very casually, almost in passing.
Companies are streatching the rules by ...
publishing information about a product without specifically referring to any particular brand. The overall message, however, is clearly for the dissemination of information about a product which falls within the scope of the Code.
In a Mexican parents magazine, a Mead Johnson full page advertorial on the physiological reflux of babies recommends parents to consult the doctor for suggestions on the right formula. The article coincided with the launch of Mead Johnsons Enfamil AR, a special formula for reflux treatment. So without mentioning a particular brand name, companies get the message out that there is just the "special formula" which a baby with a particular problem requires.
Advertisements for follow-up formulas
Follow-up formulas are usually recommended for bottle feeding from 6 months, sometimes from as early as 4 months and up to 3 years. They hardly existed in 1981 when the Code was adopted. Over the past 15 years, however, follow-up formulas have mushroomed all over the world. Fearing losses in sales due to the explicit prohibition on the advertising of infant formula, the baby milk industry responded swiftly by creating the follow-up formula for the older baby.
Similarity in infant formula and follow-up formula labels
Many follow-up formula labels are very similar in design and colours to the companys infant formula labels, which is a deliberate and skillful marketing technique devised to promote both the infant formula and follow-up formula together. Nestlés Nan 1 and Nan 2, and Lactogen 1 and Lactogen 2, Milupas Aptamil 1 and Aptamil 2, Wyeths Bonna and Bonamil and Mead Johnsons Similac Advance 1 and Advance 2 are just a few of such examples. More and more companies have been following suit.
Since breastfeeding is the first choice for babies up to two years and beyond, follow-up formulas do replace breastmilk. As breastmilk substitutes they should not be promoted. The advertising of follow-up formulas gives mothers the impression that breastfeeding should stop and the artificial milk be given instead.
In Indonesia, Mead Johnsons commercial for its follow-up formula, Enfapro, is aired during a prime-time TV drama. Lyempf, Nutricia and Sari Husada advertise their follow-up formulas in the local newspapers and parents magazines.
A Mead Johnson ad in the Phillipine Daily Inquirer
In the Philippines, Wyeth advertises its follow-up formulas, Bonamil and Promil on television and in the newspapers. The Philippine Daily Inquirer had a half page advertisement for Wyeths Bonamil in September 1997. The other half page was a general advertisement with a list of all Wyeth products, beginning with Promil, S-26, S-26LBW, Bonna, Bonamil and Nursoy. In the same paper, on the same day, Wyeth had another full page advertisement for Promil, promoted as "carefully formulated to supplement the solid food portion of the older babys diet" and " not intended to replace breastmilk". Since breastfeeding is recommended for two years and beyond, follow-up formulas such as Bonamil and Promil necessarily replace breastmilk even if promoted for use from the sixth month. Both advertisements include the mandatory statement (in the Philippines) that "breastmilk is best for babies up to two years", but the message is a mixed one.
A Wyeth ad in the Phillipine Daily Inquirer.
In Colombia, Nestlés advertisements in magazines use the text "tu le das todo tu amor; Nestlé toda su experiencia en leches de continuacion" (you give him all your love; Nestlé gives him all their experience in follow-up formulas).
Some company advertisements recommend the use of follow-up formulas for infants under six months of age, often from the fourth month, which could in fact be interpreted as upon completion of the third month. Follow-up formulas have a higher protein content and should not be given to younger babies. The Codex Alimentarius standard for follow-up formulas states that follow-up formulas should not be introduced before the sixth month of life.
In Mauritius, Danone/Diepals Gallia is promoted for infants from 4 months. Nestlés Nidal 2 and Wyeths 2nd age Modilac are advertised for infants from the age of 5 months. Nestlé also promotes Nativa 2 and Nidina 2 from 4 months of age, in Colombia.
The advertising of paraphernalia is sometimes linked to the promotion of products within the scope of the Code. For example, Milupa in Mauritius advertises the Milupa Box, a container to store Lemiel and Milumil 2nd age milks. The advertisement for the Milupa Box shows packshots of both products and makes reference to them, thereby advertising the products themselves under the guise of advertising a container.
ADVERTISEMENTS ON THE INTERNET!
One of the most amazing phenomena in recent years has been the growing popularity of the Internet, accessible from almost anywhere on the planet. Information on the "net" is now within the reach of millions of potential consumers. The infant milk industry has been quick to capitalise on this technology and many companies now use their own "web-sites" to advertise products within the scope of the Code.
Abbott Ross has a home-page dedicated entirely to Similac, where repeated references are made between the similarity in composition of Similacto breastmilk. Mead Johnson has its own home- a e
Nestlé advertises its Nan formulas (both infant and follow-on formulas) on its home-page. Babelito promotes its line of bottles and teats. Even the icon representing the infant feeding section is a bottle.
A company called Certified Infant Formula Providers promotes its pre-mixes and know-how about FDA and Codex standards on the Internet. Totally oblivious of International Code standards, it advertises a new label: "Baby's Best" in big lettering above a large baby picture.
Subscribers to the Internet continue to multiply at an astoünding rate. During NASA's first day transmission from Mars, 1 00 million people had logged on to the NASA home- a e! Advertising on the "net" thus has the potential to reach more consumers than all other mediapombined. Because the Internet is accessible from anywhere, the baby milk industry should abide by the strictest national laws based on the International Code.
Advertisements for complementary foods
According to World Health Organisation policy as set out in Resolutions 39.28, 47.5 and 49.15, complementary foods should not be promoted for too early use.
Babies need other foods to complement breastmilk only from about 6 months of age. Although a small minority of infants may be ready for complementary foods before this age, advertisements reach all mothers and can have a serious impact on the length of exclusive breastfeeding.
In a parents magazine in Mauritius, Danone/Diepal advertises Bledina Bledi Dej milk cereals for bottle feeding, from the age of four months. It also advertises baby yoghurts for infants from 4 months. A Danone advertisement in a parents magazine in Colombia shows a mother and baby, and Danone yoghurt-deserts in feeding bottles for infants from four months.
A Pureen advertisement
for baby biscuits in a health magazine
in Malaysia recommends it for infants from 4 months.
In Korea, Nam Yang advertises Step Umsun for use from the age of 100 days. In Germany, Hipp and Milupa advertise their foods for infants from the age of 4 months.
In Mauritius, Nutricia/ Cow & Gate advertised the launch of the companys new Organic Choice range of baby foods as "ideal" for babies from 4 months old. The advertisement also offered readers 100 sets of 4 vouchers for these products, if they called a given number.
In Mauritius, Heinz advertisements in the newspapers and billboards use the caption "Heinz - the unforgettable brand ...Every Baby Shines on Heinz". No products are depicted but the picture of a baby in association with the company name brings to mind Heinzs range of baby foods.
"A GREAT START IN LIFE" WITH GERBER?
"First food" is an expression reserved for breastmilk, Yet Gerber mis-uses this term for its earliest baby tood. No appropriate ages are given for the ìntroducrion of these small jars of pureed food. A Gerber advertisement from a parents' magazine in Mauritius provides that "...baby's food needs to be very fine at first and then should graduatly get coarser ... so by the time he's about six months, Purity Third Foods (Gerber productsl are just coarse enough to encourage him to start chewing". This meansthat Gerber's First and Second Foods are intended to be used well before the sixth month.
Another Gerber advertisement in the Philippines c.laims that " ...all over the world, babies raìsed on Gerber have clearer eyesigiri and are more mentally alert. They're stronger, better nourished." Such claims may influence mothc:rs to start Iheir inFanls on complementary foods much too early, since there is no clear rec.ommended age. The advertisement encourages readers to enroll in Club Gerber by sending in two proofs of purchase with the coupon provided. This will entitle them to receive a Club Gerber Kit and other Gerber lood mailers, thus giving the company limitless opportunities for direct advertising to mothers.
In Malaysian magazine, a Gerber advertisements provides a cut-out coupon for mothers to fill and send away for a free copy of the Gerber Baby Feeding Plan. This is an opportunity for the company to compile a mailing list and target individual mothers with further advertising.
Purity Foods (Gerber) is currently being advertised on South Afrìcan television for the first time (Nov/Dec 1997).
In Colombia, Gerber advertises its "First Step"foods as "para un gran comienzo en la vida" (For a great start in life).
Gerber ads in the Manila Bulletin
Promotion to the public
Point-of-sale promotion | Samples and gifts to mothers | Contact between marketing personnel and mothers