Bittylab Baby Bottle Sexist “Reclaim Your Wife” Advertising Campaign Fails
Bittylab, the maker of a line of baby bottles touted as mimicking a mother’s breast and breastfeeding, is currently dealing with the backlash from a failed Twitter advertising campaign.
Bittylab produces bottles geared especially towards breastfeeding babies. According to the company website, the “Perfe-latch™ nipple extends upon suction to emulate the mechanics of breastfeeding and reduce nipple confusion.” Not surprisingly, Bittylab markets its line of baby bottle at breastfeeding mothers.
However, in a recent ad campaign that sounds like something Don Draper would write, Bittylab failed miserably to attract positive attention from the fathers of breastfed babies.
On July 22, Bittylab tweeted the a message urging fathers to reclaim their wives twelve times. The tweet stated:
“New baby? Reclaim your wife. Meet BARE™ #air-free #babybottles bittylab.com #bfing”
In case consumers were unclear, Bittylab also tweeted a second message implying that fathers are competing with their newborns for the mother’s attention. The tweet read:
“Feeling like you’re competing with your newborn for mommy’s attention? Meet BARE™ #air-free #babybottles bittylab.com #breastfeeding”
After some serious backlash from a number of prominent bloggers within the parenting community, Bittylab removed the offending tweets from Twitter and posted the following apology on Facebook:
“Ladies, We’re really sorry about the twitter campaign run last week. It was a huge miss understood and resulted in offensive messages. It was taken down yesterday. The messages had nothing to do with putting a husband needs before the baby’s needs, it was more about having a little extra time for the rest of the family. Obviously the whole campaign was poorly executed. We apologize deeply for this miss understanding and assure you, from now on the campaigns will be closely monitored before they go out. Thank you for a second chance.”
Bittylab also posted a number of apologies, including one directing readers to the company Facebook page, on Twitter.
However, not everyone is buying the apology or that the campaign was a misunderstanding. Here are some of the Tweets to Bittylab in response to the apology:
“.@bittylab The same tweet was repeated constantly. There’s no misunderstanding.”
“It seems @bittylab is basing its campaign around helping needy insecure men ‘reclaim’ their wives from breastfeeding newborns. Unbelievable.”
“Dear @bittylab: I had no urge to ‘reclaim’ my wife from my child, because a) I am a grown up and b) I did not ‘claim’ her in the first place”
“@simply_hayley @bittylab Just seen an apology on their FB page. Too late after the campaign had gone live but respect them for responding.”
“@bittylab the word “reclaim” is a huge issue. Even if you didn’t mean sexually, it’s still treating women & their time like man’s property”
“How about supporting mom #breastfeeding instead? “@bittylab: Feeling like you’re competing with your newborn for mommy’s attention?”
Whether Bittylab meant to be sexist or really was attempting to give new parents a little more family time remains controversial. Some potential customers have also stated that, although they might have considered trying Bittylab products in the past, this failed Twitter campaign has made them decide otherwise.
Baby bottle makers can take a valuable lesson away from Bittylab’s Twitter ad mistake: Do not imply that women belong to their husbands or that husband must compete with their babies. If your aim is to sell more baby bottles, you will fail.
What do you think about the “reclaim your wife” Twitter campaign from Bittylab?