Due to global supply chain issues and product recalls, shortages of infant formula across North America created a 22% uptick in demand for donor breast milk in 2022. In 2021, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA)’s 31 milk banks collectively dispensed 9.2 million ounces of milk, an increase from 2020, a number expected to have risen even more in 2022 due to the formula shortages. According to PBS, between March 2021 and May 2022, formula prices increased by an average of 11 percent and shortages spiked to over 74 percent nationwide with 10 states experiencing shortage levels of 90 percent or greater.
In light of economic and infant health challenges the formula shortages created, Medela sought to support families impacted, as well as unite those looking to help address the crisis.
Medela recognized moms donating milk during the shortage needed support and should not be paying out of pocket for resources, such as milk storage bags, in their donation efforts. In response, Medela launched #MomsUnite4Milk, a pumpathon and education campaign encouraging moms to donate breast milk to nonprofit milk banks across North America, including sharing products and educational resources about pumping and milk donations. Through these efforts, Medela rallied the community into action to improve support for moms, families, and nonprofit milk banks in need.
Medela moved swiftly to launch a multifaceted campaign through partnerships and a landing page housing educational resources on the importance of human milk donation and ways to get involved. The page provides links for moms to let Medela know they would like to donate milk and receive free milk storage bags in return, opportunities to contribute monetary donations to nonprofit milk banks, information on safely donating and receiving breast milk, and resources from Medela about lactation and breastfeeding.
Medela knew existing misconceptions about donor breast milk might prevent people from donating or receiving milk during the crisis, which informed key messages for the campaign, including information about the safety and legitimacy of donor milk from nonprofit milk banks. Medela also shared background on donor screening and the process by which donor milk is both pasteurized and tested for communicable diseases prior to distribution.
On June 9, 2022, Medela issued a press release announcing the #MomsUnite4Milk campaign including ways moms and families can become involved in supporting those impacted by the milk shortages. The communications team conducted outreach to national media outlets and parenting publications encouraging reporters to share news of the shortage and the campaign with their readers. Launching the campaign at the height of the formula shortage, Medela identified a key moment in which awareness of the need for milk donations was piqued.
Recognizing the importance of open, honest online conversations about breastfeeding, Medela also conducted outreach to prominent social media influencers, encouraging them to share the campaign with their audiences and rally around the #MomsUnite4Milk hashtag. Medela targeted families with parents in their 20s-40s, engaging with them through social media and emails to a subscriber base of parents, reaching those who had previously opted-in to receive company updates and breastfeeding news.
On June 28, 2022, Medela conducted a Satellite Media Tour and Radio Media Tour (SMT/RMT) with Jeff Castillo, executive vice president of the Americas for Medela, to amplify national awareness. Select networks posted the interviews to their websites, generating additional online pick up of the campaign, with coverage from MSN Health, Yahoo, and other outlets to further campaign reach.
Medela partnered with ABC’s popular daytime TV talk show, The View, strategically executing this partnership during World Breastfeeding Week to leverage heightened awareness surrounding breastfeeding and the importance of breast milk for babies.
Medela also partnered with media outlet YourTango to publish “6 Moms Share Advice & Epic Gratitude in Praise of Caregivers,” highlighting the #MomsUnite4Milk campaign and its efforts to support parents struggling to feed their babies as they return to work.
To date, the campaign has garnered 905 total placements, resulting in 645M+ total impressions and $0.08 CPM. The landing page has received 6.6k pageviews with a 2:12 average read time (more than twice the anticipated 1:00 benchmark). Additionally, email, LinkedIn, and blog promotion furthered awareness of the shortage and Medela’s efforts.
The SMT/RMT with Jeff Castillo received 12 interview bookings, exceeding the benchmark of 10 expected interviews, and resulted in 115 TV broadcast segments garnering 1,030,172 impressions, 83 radio segments garnering 1,547,900 impressions, and 10 online postings garnering 272,869,000 unique visitors per month. Overall, the SMT/RMT campaign received 208 total placements garnering 275,447,072 total impressions.
Medela donated $25,000 total to 11 nonprofit milk banks, and to date, over 55,000 ounces of milk have been donated.
Engaging with The View resulted in 2.4M viewers, airing on 79 affiliate stations in 9 markets with pickup from YourTango and MSN, garnering an additional 1M+ impressions. The organization shared the clip on its Instagram, reaching over 660k followers.
Medela partnered with high-profile Instagram influencers, including Wendy Ayala, who shared 4 Spanish-language posts, reaching more than 600K followers; RaiseGoodKids, who shared a post reaching more than 1M followers; and Oreal Perkins, who shared multiple stories reaching over 36k followers. Audiences were encouraged to share their milk donation or recipient stories, engaging with #MomsUnite4Milk across social media.
As a result of its success, #MomsUnite4Milk was extended and is live today to support breastfeeding moms who choose to donate breast milk to their local nonprofit milk bank.