“Motrin moms” and the perils of social media marketing
With the fallout from the so-called “Motrin moms” debacle still echoing around the Web, it seems an appropriate time to highlight, once again, the perils of social media marketing. Of course, this is not the first time that a big corporation has managed to arouse the ire of the online masses, and it sure won’t be the last. But the Motrin case is notable for the swiftness and ferocity of the response, not to mention all the angry “tweets.”
In case you missed it, a Web video ad for the painkiller Motrin was cooked up by the folks at McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a unit of Johnson & Johnson. The ad was targeted at mothers and talked about the physical pain involved with carrying an infant in a sling. Watch for yourself and see what you think:
It was apparently intended to show empathy for the young mom but the tone was a bit too flip for some. A groundswell campaign on the popular micro-blogging site Twitter took off over the weekend, with thousands joining its ranks, tweeting angrily about the Motrin campaign.
Equally swift was the company’s response, which came on Monday. J&J blanketed the front-page of Motrin.com with an apology, stating – in case anybody missed it – “We have heard you.”
“We are parents ourselves and we take feedback from moms seriously,” the apology said.
With more and more companies turning to social media to market their products, you can expect to see more stumbles from corporate giants. Web ads, blogging, social networks and all the tools afforded by the Web are still uncharted territory for many companies, and many are still struggling to understand how to use them effectively.