When I opened my laptop this morning (Sunday), #motrinmoms was number one on Twitter Search. My curiosity piqued, I had to find out what this was all about. I discovered:
Last night, Motrin put this video ad on its web site.
And the floodgates opened. #motrinmoms is still number one, 24 hours later. (While writing this post, another 35 messages have been tweeted.) The total number of tweets on the subject is more than 2,000.
A spoof of the ad, mocking the ad agency, appeared on YouTube.
Finally, 20 hours after the offending video went live, the VP of Marketing for MacNeil Consumer Health Care, the parent company of Motrin (itself a division of Johnson & Johnson) took its site down and issued an apology.
Yet #motrinmoms is *still* number one on Twitter Search.
As Laura Fitton said, this is going to be covered extensively in business media, as a negative case study, for a quite a while.
There are many who don’t understand what the fuss is about. I will admit that when I first read the transcript of the ad, I didn’t find it terribly offensive. But after watching the commercial, I understood the concern much more clearly. Notice that there is a “cuckoo” sound effect that occurs directly after the line “tired & crazy.” But anyone who thinks this is overblown is missing the point. The point is not whether or not you personally find the ad offensive, or think that mommy bloggers/twitterers are overreacting, the point is that the ad HAS offended a significant portion of the target audience, and that this entire mess could have been avoided if a.) the ad agency had any empathy with moms and had a mom write an ad to promote the product to begin with or b.) was monitoring the blogo/twittersphere for mentions of its name.
Takeaway: whether or not you launch ANY sort of marketing campaign (but especially if you are), monitor your brand name in the blogosphere (using Google Alerts) and the twitterverse (using Twitter Search).
Update 11/17 12:50pm: The New York Times has an article this morning, Moms and Motrin.