Will Motrin prove gone are the days of “all press is good press”?

by Susan

I think the Motrin ad execs should have read Ryan Block’s (btw, he’s the creator of Engadget) March 13th post The era of “all press is good press” is so very over.

It seems that a few out-of-touch ad execs created a shockingly poor ad campaign that manages to insult mothers in general and give an extra kick-in-the-gut to babywearing moms.

Twitter and the momosphere was immediately buzzing with offended moms expressing their outrage.

If you missed the Twitter action, you can get a recap in this video by Katja Presnal.

If you haven’t seen the ad, Barb from Perfectly Natural Photography typed out the video verbatim and I’ve included it below.

Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion.

I mean, in theory it’s a great idea.

There’s the front baby carrier, sling, schwing, wrap, pouch.

And who knows what else they’ve come up with. Wear your baby on your side, your front, go hands free.

Supposedly, it’s a real bonding experience.

They say that babies carried close to the bod tend to cry less than others.

But what about me? Do moms that wear their babies cry more than those who don’t?

I sure do!

These things put a ton of strain on your back, your neck, your shoulders. Did I mention your back?!

I mean, I’ll put up with the pain because it’s a good kind of pain; it’s for my kid.

Plus, it totally makes me look like an official mom.

And so if I look tired and crazy, people will understand why.

Twitter went wild with rage.

Jessica Gottlieb recommended using a #motrinmoms hashtag for the discussion and “a few hours and two thousand tweets later #MotrinMoms is the #1 search on Twitter, eclipsing SNL for the first time since Obama was elected”.

But then someone posing as a Motrin fan created a twitter account called MotrinMoms and started throwing out snarky tweets.

Bloggers like Adventures in Babywearing responded with blog and vlog entries to remind the world that babywearing should not require pain medication.

So it’s turning out to be an interesting example of “bad press” going viral.

The question is will Motrin benefit from their name flooding headlines, posts and tweets? Or will their mistake prove that the days of “all press is good press” are over?

What do you think?



Email Author    |    Website About Susan

Susan Carraretto and her identical twin, Janice Croze, created 5 Minutes for Mom in 2006. Susan loves all social media, but her top addiction these days is Pinterest. She recently published a children's book titled "The Pest Detectives" which you can download now in digital format for free.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pamela Kramer November 16, 2008 at 9:36 pm

I don’t think this is going to be one of those any press is good press situations. Who buys the Motrin? Who are the shoppers in the families? Those baby carrying moms and dads is who. All parents need a boost. We understand the realities of parenthood and it’s not all glamorous but we when we are buying we want to feel good! People aren’t walking away after viewing that ad and saying “Yes, I feel good about what I just saw! I need some Motrin.”

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2 Christy November 16, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Seriously hoping The MotrinMoms account on Twitter is not actually a rep form Motrin. I think that would make me sick to my stomach – far more than the ad did. Ignorance is one thing, but to know the reaction it caused and poke the proverbial bear with a stick, just for fun, doesn’t seem like a tactic the multi-billion dollar conglomerate (Motrin, Tylenol, Johnson & Johnson, et al) would knowingly partake in.

I was on Twitter when it really hit the fan and was one of the first to blog about it, and was up for several hours in the middle of it. I would not be very happy if (1) it was a PR stunt or (2) they make the assumption all press is good press. I’m not at boycott levels right now, but that could change if one (or both!) of those are true. I’m not happy about the situation, but I do believe in giving them an opportunity to plead their case.

I blogged about it here:
http://shakethesalt.com/2008/11/motrin-the-anti-mom/

Created a Mr Linky for related blog posts here:
(Would love for you to join the list!)
http://shakethesalt.com/2008/11/motrin-moms/

And posted the video + recap / helpful links here:
http://shakethesalt.com/2008/11/moms-speak-out-against-motrin-ad/

Christy
ShakeTheSalt.com

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3 Candace November 16, 2008 at 9:47 pm

Great post…I’m wondering, though, is @motrinmoms really a PR rep?

Just catching up now with motringate…

I’m of two minds about the whole thing. First, I agree that it is a terrible ad. The only way I was able to hold my baby was to wear her. Babywearing is the best and I can’t imagine how anyone could have a high needs baby or a baby and a toddler without babywearing. The ad is snarky, misinformed, and insulting.

That said, I am kinda surprised about the level of outrage about the ad. Maybe I’m missing something…it is a mean-spirited ad, offensive to the target demo, and I’m totally for calling the company on it…but just compared to other issues that are important to mamas, I’m just surprised this one is getting so much air time.

Maybe we can make lemonade, though, and get more publicity for babywearing?

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4 Jacquie November 16, 2008 at 9:51 pm

I think the most offensive line is, “Plus, it totally makes me look like an official mom.” To imply that mothers make choices about the care of their children based on trying to win the approval of other people is a low blow. I don’t know of a single mother who would choose baby-wearing just to look good! I’m also sure many mothers have spent hours of research looking for how to best comfort, soothe and love on their kids while also taking care of their own bodies and have made the choice that worked best for them and their babies. To insult and degrade that choice is spiteful and in bad taste – especially when it’s used as an attempt to sell their product!

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5 Rachel November 16, 2008 at 9:52 pm

Hmmm, yep, I think I will no longer be buying Motrin. I mean, generic is just fine with me and unless they make some kind of a public apology to moms I don’t see why I would spend extra for Motrin.

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6 casual friday everyday November 16, 2008 at 10:21 pm

The whole thing is offensive. The tone, the wording… as though I wear my baby because it’s a fad or fashionable. And as though you aren’t a real Mom if you don’t wear your baby. They really missed the mark with this one!

Nell

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7 susieshomemade November 16, 2008 at 11:07 pm

I know I won’t ever use it again.

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8 Jessica Gottlieb November 16, 2008 at 11:29 pm

Wow, this is like getting a mention from Jay Leno!

The problems are too many to list but I’ll start.

1. Picking on new moms is never okay, give us a few years and then we’re fair game.
2. Telling us we aren’t good parents is NEVER okay, silly, overindulgent, anything but don’t make us out to be bad moms.
3. The tone was hideous and misogynistic. If it picked on both parents it could have been under the radar.
4. Motrin isn’t a product, Motrin is a brand and no one NEEDS a brand. Generic will be just fine in this horrible economy.

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9 Angela November 16, 2008 at 11:41 pm

Clearly produced by someone who does not GET IT. Moms will be angry and won’t buy it – simple as that. At least I hope so. And Motrin will issue an official apology. Or at least they should.

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10 Keep It Classy, Jen November 16, 2008 at 11:54 pm

I think the days of “all press is good press” is definitely over if it involves offending mothers. Especially those of whom voice their opinions often through blogging. It was down right offensive! Babywearing is not “in fashion”…it’s soothing. I’m not an “official mom” because I use a baby carrier, but because I gave birth to my son! Obviously not researched by Motrin…and that is unfortunate!

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11 Renee November 17, 2008 at 12:12 am

I just read in this blog http://crunchydomesticgoddess.com/2008/11/16/motrins-response-to-the-onslaught-of-complaints/

That they plan to get the ad off so that is good news!!!!

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12 Paper Bridges November 17, 2008 at 12:55 am

These are the days of rapid fire social media responses to anything, be it stupid ads, political debates or just watching a tv show. And moms are leading the way. Communication, and getting people to rally around a cause, has never been easier.

Monica

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13 Monica November 17, 2008 at 1:43 am

The ad was really done in bad taste. It is an amazing demonstration of the power of social networking, especially Twitter.

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14 britt November 17, 2008 at 10:16 am

i won’t buy it again. it was an offensive add

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15 Sarah VM November 17, 2008 at 10:20 am

I think they got what they wanted. They wanted Moms to talk about it and that’s what we are doing. I think it was in very bad taste.

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16 Danny Brown November 17, 2008 at 10:21 am

I think the Motrin campaign joins the Back-up Shotgun Rack campaign as the Most Ill-Informed Decisions Ever.

* http://pressreleaseprblog.com/2008/10/28/why-the-backup-shotgun-rack-company-deserve-all-the-bad-pr-they-can-get/

No amount of “all press is good press” thinking can excuse whoever gave the go-ahead for these two campaigns and completely missed the boat on common sense.

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17 Alexia November 17, 2008 at 10:21 am

Obviously the Motrin execs did not do very good research when they made this commercial. I won’t be buying Motrin anytime in the near future.

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18 Adventures In Babywearing November 17, 2008 at 4:14 pm

I do hope it sheds a positive light on babywearing, if anything! : )

Steph

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19 Courtney from Mommie Blogs November 17, 2008 at 11:27 pm

So this is the comment I just left on Steph’s blog…

“so will I still use motrin after my next c-section, yes – why? because it works. was I offended, more put off a little. do I think they knew it would create a buzz, even negative one – yes. do I think they underestimated – twitter – maybe. But companies are on to social media and I think something smells funny with this one… VP Kathy is either getting a raise or slap on the hand… I guess we will see…”

but I do know this – I do think it will shed a positive light on babywearing and sling/carrier manufacturers should be sending Christmas gifts to the executive of motrin!

Courtney

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20 Adam Erickson November 26, 2008 at 11:37 am

I think that this Motrin thing is a huge PR Stunt. See for yourself:
http://www.mouthny.com/blog

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