Priceline’s “Baby’s on the Line” Commercial is Tasteless

Coming home from an international adoption trip empty-handed is no laughing matter.

Shelley Skuster February 23, 2016
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Dear Priceline,

I’m not sure what conversations took place when your marketing team brainstormed this commercial mocking international adoption, but I wish I could’ve been there.

I wish I could’ve been in that room or on that conference call or somewhere at that commercial shoot.

I would’ve interrupted you and told you what a mistake it was to invest in 32-seconds of airtime on Super Bowl Sunday with an insulting parody around failed international adoptions.

I would’ve warned you about the rash of negative public opinion you’d receive by poking fun at families and children stuck in hard places.

How a marketing team could find it funny to create such an insensitive advertisement about an adoptive couple returning home from Eastern Europe empty-handed—without a child they had anticipated, planned and prepared for—is beyond my comprehension.

Orphans are not a punchline.

Failed adoptions are no laughing matter.

The truth is adoptive families (similar to biological families) don’t always know what they’re getting themselves into when they say, “Yes,” to accepting, loving, and raising a child for a lifetime.

Your decision to depict a family as grateful for low travel costs so they could meet and ultimately reject a child they planned to adopt is far from humorous.

In fact, having to walk away from an adoption situation because of unexpected complications or hold-ups beyond their control is a devastating reality for many families.

I hope you’ll consider asking your fellow experts in the advertising industry about how to incorporate a more accurate and sensitive storyline that doesn’t poke fun at the expense of peoples’ misfortune in the adoption process.

Better yet, perhaps you’ll consider investing some of your profits toward actually helping the orphan crisis in Eastern Europe or other countries.

If you have money to blow on such a satirical, tasteless commercial during one of the most prime and expensive advertising peaks of the year, you certainly have money to make a lasting impact on children and families across the globe.

You all missed the mark on this one.


An Adoptive Mom

P.S. See this commercial from Zillow or this commercial from the Holiday Inn Hotel for adoption storylines done tactfully.]

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Shelley Skuster

Shelley is a former award-winning television journalist who traded in suit coats and red lipstick for a messy bun and yoga pants. She's a freelance writer who stays at home with her three daughters who are all ((gasp)) under the age of three and came to her via adoption and birth. She's the woman behind the blog Shelley Writes, and she can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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