'Breast is best' drive to run in MTR stations

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 July, 1999, 12:00am

A hard-hitting advertising campaign showing baby bottles and milk formulas being destroyed to promote breast-feeding is to run in MTR stations.

The advertising agency which volunteered to design the series of posters for the Hong Kong Breast-feeding Mothers Association received the 1999 New York Advertising Festival Award and the 1999 Hong Kong 4A's Advertising Award for the posters.

Poh Hwee Beng, creative director of Bozell Worldwide, said: 'Baby formulas are 'pirated' copies of breast milk. As pirated VCDs have been a hot topic, we used the concept for the posters.' Association chairwoman Vivian Leung Tai Yuet-kum said: 'Breast-feeding has no commercial value. Therefore it depends on the Government and voluntary organisations to educate the public about it.

'According to the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes, which baby formula manufacturers signed, they can't advertise their products to the public, but clearly they have been violating it and yet there are no complaint channels or punishments.' She said the breast-feeding rate in Hong Kong hospitals, where mothers stay for three to seven days after delivery, was 47 per cent.

But it dropped drastically when they returned home. And the figure plunged further when mothers resumed work in baby-unfriendly working environments.

'Milk powder is made up of chemicals, whereas breast-feeding is natural. It is good for the babies as well as the mothers,' Ms Leung said.

She hoped the Government would bring in legislation to monitor against baby formula advertisements.

One mother, Ono Mebae from Japan, said: 'The Japanese Health Ministry encourages mothers to breast-feed at least for three months, whereas few places in Hong Kong have child-care rooms. It's very inconvenient for us.

'Some Japanese women feel ashamed if they can't breast-feed. Personally, I feel sacred that I can breast-feed.' The MTR will provide free space for the adverts.