Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chinese formula ads make an unintentional dead baby joke

Years ago, when my son was an infant, we used him as a model for an ad. We needed to make it look like he, at 4 months old, had fallen asleep while reading a book on Quantum Mechanics. (It was an economic development ad to attract new high tech companies to Ottawa, with the headline "start smarter".)

I recall that the photographer, Tony Fouhse, was concerned that we would not be able to get an infant to sleep through a photoshoot in the middle of the day. Julia, my wife, knew better. She breastfed the boy on set, and like clockwork he pooped, then passed out.

But then, when we looked at the photos, we were presented with another problem. Babies sleep like the dead. Literally. It's hard to tell the difference. That's why new parents are always freaking out and putting an ear to their baby's lips, listening for the breathing...

Why am I telling you all of this now? Because I just caught this campaign, for Heinze "Golden Sleep" baby formula, on I Believe in Advertising:

It's a Chinese ad, from Invisible Advertising in Guangzhou, China. Yes, China. Where at least 6 babies died and at least 300,000 were sickened by tainted milk powder in 2008. Three more died, and 36 other more became ill just this year as a result of milk tampering.

Are you sure you want this imagery associated with Chinese formula?


"It's a wrap!"

You think I'm just being morbid? Check out this Portuguese social marketing campaign on drowsy driving from Osocio:


Sleep tight!


  1. Yikes! You're right! Not the best approach...
    On another note, I'm not following why they used the director boards.

  2. I read it as showing that the "Golden Sleep" milk powder put an end to the baby's "scene" - CUT! (At least I assume it's not "action!")

    Real milk has an opiate-like chemical in it that puts babies to sleep (which is why some thing cheese is addictive). Hopefully, they're not adding additional narcotics...