Swehl's Controversial Lactation Billboard Returns To Times Square

Advertising has as a double standard when it comes to women's health. Images of a sexualized breast are fine, nursing ones are not.

That was the case for Swehl's Times Square billboard which was to run the week of Mother's Day. Cookbook author Molly Baz promoted a free online recipe for her lactation cookies with the tag: "Just Add Milk." The ad, sponsored by Brex, featured a pregnant Baz covering her breasts with two oatmeal cookies on a 45-foot digital billboard.

The Swehl ads are created by an in-house creative team.

Clear Channel flagged the ad earlier in May for "review" after a few days, claiming it “violated guidelines on acceptable content," according to The New York Times, and pulled it. (The billboard location often runs underwear ads by Skims and Michael Kors.)

Now, Baz is back. The original OOH work went live 11 a.m. on May 17 in Times Square and will run through the first week in June.



Seed, a probiotics company pioneering microbiome science for heath, is responsible for the ad's return. The move expresses its solidarity with Swehl. The cookies are marketed to postpartum mom to help them produce breast milk.

Baz told ABC News when the ad was pulled it was "disheartening and infuriating. ... We wanted a picture that showed a woman that was really empowered in her pregnancy."

Seed's support highlights its concern that realistic images of motherhood, rather than idealized ones, be promoted in advertising.

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