We would like to answer some of your questions about the National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign.
The National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign is currently supported by a contract with the Ad Council. All Ad Council sponsored campaigns start with a required 3 year contract, which includes the development of the creative pieces ( TV, Radio, out-of-home, magazine and newspaper ads and internet banners) for the campaign. Our contract with the Ad Council started in 5/1/2002 and ends 9/30/2005, a few months over the 3 years. However, the TV ads will be able to run through December, 2005 and the Radio Ads through April,2006. The billboards can be put up as long as the supply lasts-and OWH will send them to companies who need them after September,2005. Likewise, the magazine and newspaper ads and internet banners can be run as long as there is an interest, and OWH will have the electronic files to send to media outlets after September 30,2005. For your information, most Ad Council campaigns have a shelf life of about 18 months. After that time, a brand new set of creative elements have to be designed.
OWH will continue to update our breastfeeding section on the National Women's Health Information Center's(NWHIC) website (www.4woman.gov) and publish the 5 Easy Guides to Breastfeeding. Our current NWHIC contract ends in December 2005. We plan to have a new contract up and running in January 2006. However, as a result,we can only officially say that the breastfeeding helpline services will be available through December, 2005. The OWH co-sponsored evaluation of the campaign continues over the next 2 years through the FDA's Infant Feeding Practices Survey- which was just launched this month. We have also recently awarded a new contract to a major PR firm, Hager-Sharp, who will be supporting the National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign, helpline and website through media, public, and corporate outreach over the next 2 years, through April, 2007. The Outreach Plan for this contract is being developed now.
In support of the campaign, we have also funded up to 18 Community Demonstration Projects to provide breastfeeding services and promote the campaign components in their geographic areas. Many of these great projects end on May 31, 2005, but some will be active beyond that date due to no-cost extensions, and funding from other sources.
So, yes while the Ad Council contract ends in September, our commitment to, breastfeeding will continue through our marketing, education and promotional efforts. In addition, we have made significant changes in knowledge and attitudes- based on the one year post-wave survey- so stay tuned. We plan to use this information to encourage others to join us in promoting this important message.
Please contact your media outlets in June to play the ads during World Breastfeeding Week in August. Babies Were Born to be Breastfed- let the world know it. Thanks
Susan Haynes Ph.D.
Senior Science Advisor and
Division of Communications
Office on Women's Health