But the story doesn’t end there. The company behind the ad — a startup called Frida that sells products for new moms and babies, founded by Chelsea Hirschhorn — has turned the controversy into a marketing ploy, broadcasting the commercial on Instagram and scoring blockbuster levels of engagement.
Frida reposted the ad, which has been online since July 2019, with this caption: “The ad you’re about to watch was rejected by ABC & the Oscars from airing during this year’s award show. It’s not ‘violent, political’ or sexual in nature. Our ad is not ‘religious or lewd’ and does not portray ‘guns or ammunition.’ ‘Feminine hygiene & hemorrhoid relief’ are also banned subjects.”
The post has garnered nearly 350,000 views on Instagram, and more than 214,000 views on YouTube as of Tuesday afternoon.
User chrisellelim commented, “Can’t believe this was rejected. It’s probably the most accurate thing I’ve seen on postpartum recovery. More women and new parents need to see this and realize that this is how it actually looks and feels like!”
In the commercial, a new mom wakes up in the middle of the night to the sound of her baby crying. With some difficulty, she makes her way to the bathroom in hospital-issue underwear and washes with a generic squirt bottle. At the end, a new line from the company, dubbed Frida Mom, promises to make new moms “postpartum prepared.”
Hirschhorn, who acts as CEO, told Inc. that she was “incredulous” the ad was pulled from the 92nd Academy Awards, which drew 23.6 million viewers on February 9 (ABC did not return a request for comment).
“It was more of a shock because over the past 18 months we’d done so much evangelizing and forwarding the conversation over the delicate transition women’s bodies go through — I thought we’d reached a cultural momentum on the issue,” she said.