Oh boy, is someone’s marketing ass on the line first thing tomorrow AM! Or maybe not… read on.
It will surely be interesting to see how this one pans out once it hits mainstream media. Please don’t misconstrue this as a post showing my distaste for Motrin. This is more a fascinating case study to me than wishing any ill will to the brand. I have already heard the term ‘motrined’ used as a description for what happened.
For my non-Twittering readers, this will make your head spin around like Linda Blair and ask, ‘is there this huge underworld of information that I don’t know about going on behind my back?’
Um! Well yes, as a matter of fact there is. Wake up people.
If you are not a product manager or marketing/advertising/PR person then this is probably nothing you need to worry about. Unless of course all your friends are twittering behind your back which is unlikely but maybe you ought to sign up and check just in case.
I posted about Twitter during the election. For those who are tweeters, go get a cup of coffee while i give a quick primer here. Twitter is like instant messaging with the world where you ‘follow’ someone the same way you would ‘friend’ them on Facebook. You can also search topics and follow what others are saying about things that interest you. The most tweeted about things rise to the top of the topic trend. If you market a brand you should surely be monitoring Twitter, if not finding ways to use it constructively. If you want more info go here. (I am pretty sure my mom just had to go lie down from this, sorry mom ; )
Now, on with the story. Once upon a time, Motrin created an ad with the intent to reach young moms. This generation of moms is the most target marketed group in history. They are empowered. They use Twitter. They blog. They write reviews. They drive sales. They are honest, loyal consumers who love to share and hopefully their spirit of community will build brand loyalty.
Unless of course you create an ad that is perceived as condescending and insulting to them. Then they will basically cut your balls off. You can see the ad on marketingpilgrim.com. Andy Beal’s fantastic post gives a stunning overview from a marketing perspective with damage control suggestions.
Could there have been a mom on this account? Referring to a baby as a fashion accessory and saying things like ‘supposedly it’s a real bonding experience’ to wear them in a carrier could not come out of the mouth of a young mother.
Now, let me state that I don’t find this ad so horribly offensive as I find it horribly lame. (then again my youngest is 16 and he could carry me by now – great visual for those who know him).
Here’s the thing; if you are trying to market to young moms, how about a little research. You don’t even need traditional focus groups anymore, you can use the tools that were the demise of this campaign.
Seeing that within 24 hours there were 244,000 hits of outrage and commentary when I searched Google, 232 hits on Technorati, #motrinmoms and #motrin were the top trending topics on Twitter and there is already a Motrin Moms Facebook page, I would say that it would not have taken too much research to find out this ad would piss people off. Hey, this was the Joe the Plumber of the week.
I know this is getting long but bear with me. For I have just read a tweet from Jessica Smith of Jessica Knows informing us that is International Baby Wearing Week. (I kid you not). Could the Motrin team have known this and timed the ad? I am thinking not. If they did, wouldn’t they have jumped on this social media shitstorm in a heartbeat with some damage control? Although Mashable seems to think it was timed.
So, Mr./Ms. Motrin brand manager and your advertising team, shame on you for playing golf or going to the movies or whatever it was that you were doing on Sunday. Not so much for running the ad and thinking you were smart to time it with International Baby Wearing week, 20/20 hindsight is a beautiful thing. It is the non-reaction in realtime that is distressing. Did you (especially your agency) not have any alerts set for mentions of your brand? Especially if you were doing this timing thing. Isn’t this the job of an agency in 2008? C’mon folks! I am sure at least the agency guys have iphones or crackberries buzzing away in their pockets all day long to make them feel connected.
Could it be that it wasn’t that the ball dropped on this, but they didn’t even know there was a ball? Good news is that these things tend to spread like wildfire and fade out just as soon as the next thing hits. It will be interesting to see if there are any long-term repercussions.
I don’t know about you but I have a headache from all this. I think I will go take a …
(quick update as of 9:30PM Sunday the Motrin site was just taken down, looks like someone woke up and is on the damage control. Can’t wait to see what the morning brings)
(11PM update (no I don’t sleep much) McNeil’s Consumer Healthcare VP of Marketing, Kathy Widmer sent this email to a mom blogger in response to her feedback on the Motrin site. Hope they get a more comprehensive response up on their site by the AM. And just a tip, if social media bites you in the butt, use it to make some lemonade).
11AM monday update: Mainstream media picks this up here
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