Monday, November 17, 2008

Anatomy of Motrin's PR disaster

OK, let's get today's Motrin controversy out of the way. (Well, I guess it started this weekend, but I wasn't wearing my baby, who now weighs just under 45 pounds; we were cleaning the house.) Although there are about 400 links one could choose from to outline the controversy, I'll do it for you here in three simple visuals. One, the ad about "baby-wearing" that got a lot of mothers tied up in their Baby Bjorns:



The offending ad, probably not conceived (forgive the pun) by a mother, was from Taxi NYC. Now, here's one of the many YouTube responses about the ad, a nine-minute montage, mainly consisting of tweets expressing outrage about the ad, to the strains of, inexplicably, "Ol' Danny Boy." (Watch about 45 seconds, and I assure you, you'll get the point.)



Finally, the letter that was posted sometime today on the Motrin Web site:











I'll admit I don't really know what to make of all this since this silly little ad isn't the kind of thing that gets me all excited, even as the mother of the two greatest children in the world. Someone poisoning the Tylenol? Now that's a problem. Was the Motrin ad snarky? Hell, yeah. But the angry response to it seems out of line with what it represented. Had it not rained all weekend--at least on the east coast--would the outcry have been more muted because more of us Moms would have been at the playground instead of hanging out on Twitter? Maybe what Motrin is learning here, and what other marketers will as well, is just what can happen when you put production and distribution tools in the hands of everybody. When everybody gets mad, they don't know when to stop.

2 comments:

The PR Lab said...

I can't see what the fuss is about. My wife carried three babies in pouches and she agrees. She wouldn;t see it as a slight against her. Or is it a clever way of Motrin getting some free publicity. Who has contacted these mothers to see who they are? It seems a little too slick and quick that such an ordinary product would attract this amount of controversy.

Mark said...

Well, ads can be really offensive some times. Do you remember the viagra online advertisement on 2008? Same thing! Too offensive, but still they don't care as long as it sells products!
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