Ad of the Day: If Men Breastfed, It Would Be a Testosterone-Driven Pissing Contest

Ad for breast pumps shows a frightening gender reversal

There'd be hair in the milk.

That was our recurring thought while watching Naya Health's "If Men Breastfed," a bizarre Facebook video in which male nipples finally serve a practical purpose. 

But it doesn't look like any of the men involved share that worry. Indeed, if men breastfed, it looks like it would be the highlight of working fatherhood: They don't have to worry about anything at all!

"If Men Breastfed" kicks off with a happy couple welcoming a new baby into their arms. Dave, the hubby, is strapped into his breastfeeding bra and ready to receive, tears glistening in his eyes, before we cut to his return to work—where, mid-meeting, he discovers his nips are leaking through his shirt.

"Mr. Sanders!" his boss booms. "Is there a problem?"

Here's where some lady's day would normally go to shit. But you know that's not happening for Dave, right? No, his boss is so understanding it gives us whiplash. Then Dave is invited to check out the "Lounge," the spot's crowning glory.

The men's Lactation Lounge looks like a cross between a casino and a classic man-cave, complete with a lanolin bar that boasts, "Be a man, use lanolin." Trays of steaks are set alongside cookies, and breast-baring presidents line the walls.

That's right! In case mugs labeled "World's Breast Dad" didn't tip you off, breasts aren't something you hide here. In this paradise of men and mammaries, lactation has its own leaderboard.

Meanwhile, men kick back and relax while comparing breast pumps the way they would cars, a metaphor that doesn't need explaining. 

"What're you pumpin'?" one guy asks. Pump preferences in lactating man-world say plenty, while somehow still saying entirely too much: They're rated by expensiveness (note the "Nurcedes"), tech innovation, workout-readiness and speed. (Looks painful.) 

This charmed scenario wraps with a trite conversation that drives the ad's less-than-subtle point home with a sledgehammer, for good measure. 

"Think our wives have any idea how hard we have it?" one guy wonders.

"No clue," Dave says.

"There's a reason men do this job," says Teddy from accounting, still smug from topping the leaderboard.

Cue the guffaws!

And cut to ice-cold reality: The real Lactation Lounge is a claustrophobic supply room, where one woman sits, checking her email. Teddy from accounting interrupts her on a quest for printing toner, escaping as fast as possible without having to look at anything. 

We wrap with a cheeky tagline. "Naya: We make pumping suck less." 

Directed by Ruben Grijalva and produced by Sam Gordon, who co-wrote the piece out of Tandem Studio (whose parent company, Tandem Capital, invested in Naya Health), this marks the debut spot for the brand's first product, the Smart Breast Pump. It's scored 5 million Facebook views since it was posted two days ago.

In addition to setting parenting communities aflame with conversation, it's been picked up by Vogue, HuffPo Parents, PopSugar Moms, Babble, and Hello Giggles, among others. 

You've seen pregnant men before. Weirdly, the gag's rarely been used to sell pregnancy products specifically for women. It has, however, sold Fiber One and beer. In one instance, Huggies made an actual pregnancy belt so men could feel their babies kicking. 

That makes this ad, and its deprecating dark humor, unique: It's addressing women directly, to sell a product rarely seen in the everyday advertising circuit. There are reasons for that, which reinforce the point made here—just this year, ABC and NBC turned down a Lane Bryant ad that included a breastfeeding model.

But Facebook, where this ad is posted, is no hero, either. It's also been accused of banning images of breastfeeding, and women's breasts in general, while permitting stuff like beheadings.

The policy on breastfeeding has since been changed. But even if Facebook is now cool with shots of women's bodies feeding babies, the act of sharing a video of breastfeeding men still triggers a collective memory of how much work it took to get us there. 

That's the key to this spot—that merely being a woman, doing what women sometimes have to do, means enduring small acts of symbolic violence and humiliation every day, the likes of which men rarely experience.

Here, at least, is a breast-pump maker who gets that, even if we don't learn much about the product itself. Which, by the way, is chic, innovative, quiet and fast. A perfect fit in a men's Lactation Lounge.