Home / News / Kraft’s South Korean Oreo Cookie ad with breastfeeding baby causes controversy and shock in the United States
Kraft’s South Korean Oreo Cookie ad with breastfeeding baby causes controversy and shock in the United States

Kraft’s South Korean Oreo Cookie ad with breastfeeding baby causes controversy and shock in the United States

Kraft created an ad with a baby breastfeeding while holding a cookie, with the slogan “Milk’s Favorite Cookie,” at the bottom of the ad.  This ad, when it leaked out from an ad forum, caused Fox news to describe the ad as shocking, as well as "provocative", and ABC news to describe it as controversial, due to the exposed nipple.

According to Fox news, several media outlets in South Korea, said the ad is legitimate and running in South Korea.

Kraft stated they created the ad for one time use at a South Korean advertising awards forum and they never intended it to run in South Korea or any other country.

However, the ad did leak out from the forum and Kraft, parent company of Nabisco and Oreo cookies, told ABC News, that they did not create the ad.  Cheil Worldwide, an independent advertising agency, is attributed to creating the ad, who said they did not mean for the ad to go public.

“Our understanding is that they created it for use at an isolated advertising awards forum in Korea,” the official said. “It was never intended for consumer advertising or public distribution.”

Huffington Post, which shows the ad without censoring, posted an update, stating that Cheil Worldwide is Kraft’s ad distributor, but they had no intention of the ad going public, despite the leak.

UPDATE: A representative from Kraft Foods reached out to HuffPost Food to clarify the origins of this ad. The ad was created by Kraft's ad agency, Cheil Worldwide, for a one-time use at an advertising forum and was not intended for public distribution or use with consumers.

Kotaku website, which shows both the censored and uncensored version, took the ad in stride and said, “You can't dunk Oreo cookies into boob, silly baby!”  The site reported that the ad debuted in South Korea this month and titled “Oreo Basic Instinct”.

Care2 asked why people consider the ad controversial and the response from MSNBC writer was that it was “icky” and sexualizes breastfeeding, declaring the ad as “women-being-objectified”.

Williams cites MSNBC writer Kavita Varma-White, who criticized the ad as “kind of… icky… about the way this ad blatantly sexualizes breast-feeding” and declared the ad to be of the “women-being-objectified” sort.

Williams argues that the image is not “automatically sexualized” at all, but is “a memorable photo, it’s the knowing look in the baby’s eyes, combined with intimate closeness of the scene, that makes it compelling.” Saying that the nursing baby ad is “sexualized” show how, for some segments of our society, the image of a naked breast (horrors!) means one and one thing only (sex). This is thinking that contributes to banning, or attempts to ban, breast-feeding in public.

Americans appear the only ones freaking out about the ad, which Adweek called, “apoplectic shock” over breastfeeding and an exposed nipple.

This South Korean ad for Oreo cookies, credited to ad agency Cheil Worldwide, features an image that would send this country into apoplectic shock (breastfeeding and an exposed nipple!). It also stars a surprisingly charismatic baby whose face suggests he totally knows what's happening here and is OK with it.

The Christian Post, which does not show the ad at all on their site, stated, “The ad continues to explain in the picture that: "For all you haters commenting on this…when you have milk, you gotta have Oreo.”  The Christian Post also said there is no word as to Kraft being subject to additional action for the ad.

According to Dr. Momma, Anna, director of Peaceful Parenting Network, took the ad and created a “fun spin” on it.  Anna added, “Breastfeeding?  You deserve a cookie.”  Then she explains on the picture, how many more calories nursing mothers need.  Facebook, accused of attempting to remove all pictures of breastfeeding babies, supposedly removed the picture because it exposed a woman’s breast.

There are no reports found on South Korean citizens’ reactions to the ad, but according to Bil Browning, South Koreans are not as shy about breastfeeding as Americans are.  Accordingly, the South Korean parents are more concerned about feeding the baby a cookie, than the woman’s breast or nipple.

About Mriana

Mriana is a humanist and the author of "A Source of Misery", who grew up in the Church of God, Anderson Indiana. After she became an adult, she joined the Episcopal Church, but later left the Church and became a humanist. She has two grown sons and raises cats. Mriana raised her sons in the Episcopal Church, but in their teen years, they left the Church and she soon followed. One of her sons became a "Tao Buddhist" and the other a None, creating his own world view. She enjoys writing, reading, science, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. Mriana is also an animal lover, who cares for their welfare as living beings, who are part of the earth. She is a huge Star Trek fan in a little body.
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-Jane-Sackett/1242427949 Mary-Jane Sackett

    I LOVE this. Bothered by it, no rather, I was amused by it and think it's very clever. "For those that understand, no explanation is necessary. For those who cannot understand, no explanation is possible."

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      I hear you and the baby is adorable.  IMHO, the media, esp Xian Post is trying to stir things up where there is nothing to be stirred up, as well as making things up as they report on this.

    • joe paterno

      It certainly is clever.

  • joe paterno

    It's a heavily sexualized ad.  Kraft could care less about breast feeding moms.  ITS AN AD FOR COOKIES! for christ sake.  Babies have ALWAYS been used to sell product.  Sex has ALWAYS been used to sell product.  CLEVER!  Funny how it just 'leaked' out.  Shocked, no. 

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      You know, I asked my 23 year old son, who is an Asian-phile, how that ad is provocative and he said, "If anyone is turned on by that, they have some serious issues."  So apparently not everyone sees the ad as sexual, Joe.  There is at least one male in this world who does not see a baby nursing as sexual.  In fact, he had a hard time believing Fox news could even call the ad provocative.  Both he and I believe that it is a cultural thing for such an ad to be seen as sexual- thus the different reactions between Korea and the U.S.  A lot of it does have to do with religion and the Victorian attitudes of the U.S., in particularly the attitudes of the Religious Reich concerning women's bodies, which sadly does seep into the secular.  Many Asian countries do not have these sexual hang ups concerning women's bodies, that the U.S. does and more than likely, they probably were more concerned about the baby, of that age, given a cookie.

      • joe paterno

        Haven't seen the ad, only the picture at the top of the post.  My take on Kraft/Oreo is that there is always a spin whether blatant or not.  This is advertising. 
        You might enjoy the documentary Century of Self which explores the relationship of psychoanalysis, marketing, and public relations. 
        http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-century-of-the-self/ 

      • joe paterno

        Mriana, I never used the word provocative and never said I was turned on.  Also, I have no problem with nursing mothers and babies.

        • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

          I saw it few times growing up and more often after I had children, even though I didn't breastfeed my sons.  There was a big thing about breastfeeding, even with doctors, when I had my sons, but I couldn't breastfeed.  My roommates (one each time) in the hospital, when I had my sons, did though.  A couple of my friends, when it was just us women would just feed their baby, no big deal.  So I guess I've become accustom to some mothers breastfeeding, that I guess I'm calloused to it.  At first it bothered me, but now it just seems part of life.

  • http://www.guitar-mp3.com/ Eric R

    Controversial, yes, shocking or provocative, not so much. I just can't see the provocative nature of a mother breastfeeding but hey, we're all entitled to our own opinion. In my opinion. most other things would better qualify as something to report news on.

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  • joe paterno

    well, there is a breast, and, yes, that does look like a baby holding a cookie.  however, i would challenge anyone who claimed the baby was actually breastfeeding or that the breast was acually lactating.

  • joe paterno

    Ka-Ching!

    • Deborah_B

      Well said!

  • Deborah

    Yuck.

    Shocking, no.  Distasteful?  Yes.

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      In some cultures, it's really no big deal.  To many Americans, it is distasteful, but to other cultures, as Browning pointed out, it's the cookie for the baby that is more of a concern.  Even the Brits have often wondered about Americans, because, it would seem, they out grew much of their Victorian attitudes.  When I first saw the pic, I saw the baby and wondered what the big deal was and even asked my older son about it.  As I mentioned, he doesn't get it either, esp given that it was made in South Korea.

      • Deborah_B

        Yes, it is a cultural thing.  However, I don't think I'll be eating Oreo cookies again (rarely that I do, anyway) because this image is emblazoned in my mind's eye.

        • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

          lol  OK.  I'll be sure to bring some with me when I visit.

  • Awain69

    Congrats on having the #1 article on Google for this topic!

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      lol thanks

  • dakotaoleary

    BOOBS!!! OMG!!!  PRAY TO JESUS!!!!!!  BOOBS!!!!!!

    • Deborah_B

       LOL!

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      lol  Exactly!  That's probably what the Xian Post was thinking.

  • Awain69

    Jesus was breastfed.  Oh, the irony for these Christian prudes.

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      Yup!  Makes you wonder why they are such prudes.  lol

  • Ilovemikey3

    Breastfeeding does not offend me, it's healthy and natural, that cookie however is NOT.   LoL good to see the country I'm about to live in for the next two years is not shy about breastfeeding,  American's have become prudes.

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  • Sally

    I breastfed both my kids for nearly a year. Neither of them had a bottle (my first refused one, and my second never needed one for anything.) I fed them all over my town, discreetly, of course. But they both grew up happy and healthy. My son's wife absolutely could not breastfeed, although I think it has to do with her pain tolerance, because gettting started is sometimes painful for a few weeks. But my grandkids are not thumbsuckers, which is why I started doing it. What bothers me far more than seeing a woman breatsfeed in public is seeing two and three year olds muffled by a pacifier. My kids never had those either, but my nieces and nephews did. I think that is criminal…shutting up a child with a piece of plastic. 

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      I didn't breastfeed (not capable of doing so physically) and neither one of my sons were thumb-suckers and they were off the pacifier and bottle before they were 3 y.o.  Actually, by the time they were a year old, they had neither bottle or pacifier and I hardly think I committed any crime.

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