Twitter Swarm: Motrin v. Moms

by Karoli on November 16, 2008 · 28 comments

Memo to Motrin:

Before you launch an ad on your site that’s targeting mothers of babies, you might want to run it by some focus groups that have…um…moms with babies.

There’s a problem with your first video: It does everything but slap your audience in the face, deride them for their (very personal) parenting choices with regard to their babies, and leaves the sense that you have some superior knowledge to theirs.

I mean, seriously…implying that putting their baby in a sling is ‘accessorizing’ is pretty insulting to the audience you want to reach.

You’d have done better to aim at their diaper bags or infant seats with handles that require one-handed schlepping. But hammering on moms for wearing baby slings? That’s just stupid.

Sincerely,

Karoli

The firestorm began 15 hours or so ago, when Jessica Gottlieb sent this:

This tweet was in response to someone else asking her why anyone would want to buy Motrin when generic was cheaper. (I have an answer to that, but will save it for another day…)

Now check out this Twitscoop graph for the term Motrin:

Here’s the thing: These moms are pissed, and they’re pissed because it was a stupid ad that obviously wasn’t run by anyone they hoped to target. Further, these are smart, savvy, network-connected moms who understand exactly what voice they have, particularly as consumers.

To quote Jessica again, they’re using their “outside voices”. And they mean it.

Had the folks who created this ill-conceived PR campaign thought for half a second, or had a clue about how Twitter works, they would already have been reaching out to the community, asking about how they handled pain, how they did it while nursing, what they most loved about being new moms, what they most wished could be different, what tools they wanted but don’t currently have.

Instead, these geniuses launched a program to run on National Babywearing Week (I kid you not), designed and created to be insulting and derisive to the people they want to reach with their product.

Worse yet, they weren’t monitoring Twitter or tracking their brand. If they were, they’d have known the following:

  • I suggested Motrin to a Twitter friend suffering from a back spasm
  • I routinely suggest it for sinus headaches
  • Within an hour of Jessica Gottlieb’s first tweet, Twitter had a HUGE swarm around the term Motrin and the tag #motrinmoms (though I think hashtags are limiting and unnecessary, go try it on twitter search).

More harm was done to the Motrin brand by this campaign than I could even imagine. If Johnson & Johnson is smart, they will fire the folks who came up with this, hire some people who understand the power of the network, and reach out with some really, really sincere apologies.

As many of the moms have pointed out, this campaign takes aim at women who are already at their most vulnerable, struggling to manage a newborn, hormones, change in their lives and everyone giving them advice. They surely don’t need their choices dissed by product manufacturers asking that same audience to buy their product.

Watch the reaction here:

Some other reactions from women much closer to babywearing age than I:

These women get it. Motrin, you didn’t. Time to mend some fences, I’d say.

Twitter Track: Last seen 176 days, 20 hours, 27 minutes ago. Bring. it. back.

Bonus Link: Microcasting

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