Priceline Pauses Distasteful Adoption Ad in Response to Mom’s Blog


woman holding boy
Ginger and her son

One mom’s blog post has convinced Priceline.com to pause its distasteful adoption ad.

On Friday, Mighty contributor Ginger Newingham, who blogs at “Our Moments Defined,” wrote a post in response to Priceline’s commercial that premiered during the Super Bowl. In the ad, a couple is able to travel to Eastern Europe (because of Priceline) to meet their potential adoptive child, who ends up being a grown man. “The parents express relief that they were able to meet him,” Newingham wrote. “They obviously made the choice not to adopt him.”

Five years ago, Newingham and her husband adopted a boy whose file said he “had social delays.”

“He wasn’t as his file had described,” she wrote, “but nevertheless, he was our son.” She now knows he has autism, Tourette syndrome and a sensory processing disorder.

The Priceline commercial hit too close to home for her to find it humorous:

Actual children are being left behind in orphanages because their paperwork doesn’t match up with their needs… I realize it was made to be funny, but I’m struggling to find the humor. This could have been my son’s story.

Newingham asked Priceline to pull the ad, and invited others to #shouttogether to get the company’s attention. She started the hashtag, a Change.org campaign, urged readers to down-vote the ad on YouTube, and asked adoptive parents to post photos of their children on social media.

It worked.

On Monday, Newingham wrote a followup post, saying the director of communications from Priceline personally called her to listen to her concerns. Priceline then released an official statement:

In light of recent conversations surrounding priceline.com’s Baby ad, we’d like to clarify that we certainly didn’t mean to offend. At priceline.com, we are committed to being there for our customers, no matter what life journey they are on. The humorous scenarios depicted in our new advertising campaign are not meant to reflect reality. We took a comedic approach to dramatize the “go/no go” travel decision moments many of our customers face daily. Based on your feedback, we have decided to pause the use of the Baby ad to evaluate messaging. Thank you for reaching out to us. 

Rest assured that we have heard your concerns about the message and content of this ad and we are taking them seriously. 

Newingham credits everyone who got behind her for this success. She wrote:

I was passionate in my stance and motivated in my defense for orphans. I thought a few people might read my post and share their feelings with Priceline.

But you. YOU. You all stepped up and ran with the campaign. I may have been the spark, but you caused the fire. You turned up the heat. You shouted louder than I could have imagined. You shared, you commented, you posted your adoption pictures. You made phone calls, you signed a petition, and you informed your friends and family. You stood in agreement that the ad was distasteful and should no longer be circulated.

And together, we accomplished our goal.

Newingham was surprised by how quickly the campaign gained traction, but not at all surprised by how passionately adoptive families reacted. She told The Mighty in an email:

We are families who have (in many instances) completed years worth of paperwork and interviews before even being allowed to meet the children with whom we fall in love. We are the advocates and supporters of our special needs children and our children from hard places. 

When we decided to #shouttogether, there was passion and love in our voices. And together, those voices were heard. This campaign has reminded me that one voice and one story really can make a difference. 


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