ABSTRACT: The research examined the influence of Baby Formula advertising on the buying habits of nursing mothers in Uyo with the core thrust to examine the extent at which television advertisement of baby formula influence the nursing mothers in Uyo to use the products as supplements or substitute in feeding their children. The research is anchored on Psychodynamic Theory and Behaviour Theory to add depth to the research. The research adopted survey research method, with the structured questionnaire as the data collection instrument and 200 copies of the questionnaire were administered to the respondents out of which 193 copies were returned while only 179 copies were correctly filled which representing 89.5% response rate were analyzed using frequency and percentage table method with SPSS version 20. Findings shows that nursing mothers in Uyo aware of the various baby formula or foods because they have seen the advert on television or elsewhere but despite that they did not have in mind to use it as substitute. Also, many parents wish to introduce the baby formula for their baby at a later time and they wish to feed their baby any food formula recommended by the expert. It is recommended that advertisers should be objective and telling the truth about their product in terms of benefit and how best to use it rather than aiming at selling for profit and government through its agents should as a matter of fact discourage earlier baby formula introduction to in fact, through proper education and awareness. Also, further researchers are expected to triangulate survey with other research method such as Focus Group Discussion or In depth Interview may be it could offer different result.
Keywords: Baby Formula
1.1 Background to the study
Television has become a significant social phenomenon in Nigeria and all over the world. Television viewing is believed to generate social forces of undeniable influence on both the adult and children. Television is assumed to be the most entertainment medium for women and children. One might say television is able to inculcate certain behaviour and create stimulus in children through various music, films, advertisement, news and other shows which are televised every day (Olayinka, 2012).
On the other hand, advertising is one of the ingredients in sustaining business whether the company is dealing with products or services. After all, the essence of being in business by any commercial organization is to produce for sales and profits. Thus, for an organization to continue to be in business such organization must generate enough sales from its products or services to cover operating costs and post reasonable profits (Hussainy, Riaz, Kazi, & Herani, 2008). Today, there are lots of media or channels through which advertisement are reaching out to the targeted consumers, few of the media are radio, television, newspaper, magazine, billboard, poster, online/internet platform (Social Media, blog, website) etc (Hussainy, Riaz, Kazi, & Herani, 2008).
In the meantime, infant formula is a manufactured food designed and marketed for feeding to babies and infants under 12 months of age, usually prepared for bottle-feeding or cup-feeding from powder (mixed with water) or liquid (with or without additional water). The U.S. Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) defines infant formula as “a food which purports to be or is represented for special dietary use solely as a food for infants by reason of its simulation of human milk or its suitability as a complete or partial substitute for human milk” (Wikipedia, 2015).
Researches have shown that baby formula advertisements can influence the buying habits of nursing mothers. These ads typically promote the benefits of using formula, such as convenience and nutritional value, which can make some mothers believe that formula is a better option than breastfeeding (Piwoz and Huffman, 2015). One study conducted in 2016 found that exposure to baby formula advertisements led to a decrease in the duration of breastfeeding among mothers who intended to exclusively breastfeed (Foss and Southwell, 2016). The study suggested that the ads may have contributed to the mothers’ decision to switch to formula earlier than they had planned.
Moreover, another study published in 2019 found that mothers who were exposed to baby formula advertisements were more likely to purchase and use formula, even if they had originally intended to breastfeed exclusively. The study suggested that the ads had a significant impact on the mothers’ decision-making process, leading them to choose formula over breastfeeding (Foss and Southwell, 2016).
Overall, these studies suggest that baby formula advertisements can influence the buying habits of nursing mothers, and potentially impact the health and well-being of both mother and child. It is important for healthcare professionals to educate mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding and provide them with the necessary support to make informed decisions about feeding their infants.
However, some of the conditions or factors that give rise to the adoption of baby formula are highlighted below: the mother’s health e.g the mother is infected with HIV or has active tuberculosis. She is extremely ill or has had certain kinds of breast surgery. She is taking any kind of drug that could harm the baby (Fomon, 2001).
The baby is unable to breastfeed, it may be as a result of child birth defect or inborn error of metabolism such as galactosemia that makes breastfeeding difficult or impossible. Personal preferences, beliefs, and experiences, this occurs when the mother may dislike breast-feeding or think it is inconvenient. In addition, breastfeeding can be difficult for victims of rape or sexual abuse; for example, it may be a trigger for posttraumatic stress disorder (Abrahams, 2012).
Absence of the mother i.e the child is adopted, orphaned, abandoned, or in the sole custody of a man or male same-sex couple. The mother is separated from her child by being in prison or a mental hospital. The mother has left the child in the care of another person for an extended period of time, such as while traveling or working abroad (Abrahams, 2012).
Societal structure i.e breastfeeding may be forbidden at the mother’s job, school, place of worship or in other public places, or the mother may feel that breastfeeding in these places or around other people is immodest, unsanitary, or inappropriate. Social pressures i.e family members, such as mother’s husband or boyfriend, or friends or other members of society may encourage the use of infant formula. For example, they may believe that breastfeeding will decrease the mother’s energy, health, or attractiveness (Centers for Disease Control, 2008). However, for the purpose of this research, effort is dwelled on television as an advertising platform especially as it is been used to showcase baby formula food among nursing mother in Uyo.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The audiovisual nature of television aids commercials in a persuasive and enticing manner which placed it over others and as a result for this, it is extensively used by advertisers aiming at targeting the city or urban dwellers particularly women due to the fact that they stay at home more than men do. Consumers are different personalities which age, sex, social background, culture, religion, academic background among other, this influences there needs. Some nursing mothers by the virtue of their social status, academic qualification and occupation find it difficult to have enough time breast feeding their children.
In an interaction with some young nursing mother they established that they do not like breast feeding because it affect the quality of their breast i.e want it remains like un-nursing mother and they deliberately choose to feed their children with baby food or formula to achieve this. Also, many advertisers and advertising agency are dulging in some tactics and techniques to achieve their persuasive goal and products turn over adopted weasel word, Non sequitur statements, use of vague or ambiguous euphemisms, use of grammatical devices, exaggeration. While some televisions advertise editing effect to present what their product cannot do. It is against this background that the research assessing the effectiveness of baby formula tv advertising influence on the buying habits of nursing mothers in Uyo and reasons for it patronage.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- To examine whether nursing mothers in Uyo are exposing to baby formula advertisements on television.
- To examine some of the factor(s) that is influencing nursing mothers buying habits of baby formula.
- To examine whether Baby formula TV advertising has influence on the buying habits of nursing mothers in Uyo.
1.4 Research Questions
- To what extent do nursing mothers in Uyo exposed to baby formula advertisements on television?
- What factor(s) influence nursing mothers buying habits of baby formula?
- To what extent has Baby formula TV advertising influencing buying habits of nursing mothers in Uyo?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Research: Limitations of this research opens a door for new research since research is cyclical in nature.
Knowledge: The core significance of the study is to add to the body of knowledge in mass communication and fill the gap in the area of television influence in persuading nursing mother towards buying baby formula and other related products.
Theory: Some relevant theories were put to test to see how relevant they are in explaining the research problem, among the theories are perception theory, persuasion theory and behaviour theory respectively.
Nursing mother: The research educates women on the need to pay attention to their children especially by given them natural things while the health benefits and challenges of baby alternative formula on children growth, development and attitude.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The research has been narrowed in scope through the topic itself “assessing the effectiveness of Baby Formula TV advertising influence on the buying habits of nursing mothers in Uyo”. Nursing mother in Uyo metropolis is the focus due to the time, fund, material and other logistics.
The demography elements of the nursing mother in Uyo will be considered such factor include but not limited to gender, age, educational background, marital status, occupation and social status etc
1.7 Operational Definition of the Terms
Assessing: It means examining the influence of baby formula television advertisement on buying habit of nursing mothers.
Effectiveness: This means the performance of TV advert on nursing mother buying habit of baby formula.
Baby formula: Infant formula is a manufactured food designed and marketed for feeding to babies and infants less than 12 months of age, usually prepared for bottle-feeding or cup-feeding from powder or liquid.
Television Advertising: This is the baby formula advertisement showcase on television to persuade nursing mother buying habit.
Buying habits: The interest and willingness of nursing mother towards buy baby formula for their child after exposing to its advert on television.
Nursing mothers: These are set of mother whose baby is still expected to be sucking breast usually below age of one year.