“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 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.

Is MySpace dreaming of a music device?

    Step right up and take your best shot. Think you’ve got a digital music player that can compete with Apple’s iPod? Bring it. Go ahead. Others have. Look what happened to them.

Think Microsoft’s Zune or Sandisk’s Sansa.

But one of these days somebody, somewhere is going to come up with a device that trumps the iPod. It’s only a matter of time. The question is, who will that be?

Well, one contender might just be News Corp. Its MySpace could eventually be interested in developing a player to go along with the big music venture it recently launched, it seems.

No election hangover at Time Warner

Today’s a key day for Time Warner. Despite all the worries about a downturn in advertising and consumer spending, the media company managed to post higher-than-expected results. What helped? The summer blockbuster “The Dark Knight” for certain, as well as CNN.

Strength at CNN shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given the closely followed U.S. presidential election. But some of the numbers are nonetheless pretty impressive: for example, yesterday saw 27 million unique visitors and 276 million page views. Compare that to normal traffic of about 35 million page views.

Here at MediaFile, we just wish we could have demonstrated all of this noteworthy news with a Magic Wall or Hologram.

Seeking good media news, finding Police shows

Perhaps the business outlook for most industries is bleak thanks to the global economic crisis, but there’s a strangeness to the media industry’s troubles, since it has to report on its own undoing. And there is plenty of undoing to report.

Today’s pain? Advertising Age says a “Shakeout” is in the offing among publications. And Mediaweek suggests both buyers and sellers of ads are cutting back, with some marketers “cutting print budgets as much as 50 percent.”

Moreover, there is only one more day of election ads.

Perhaps the solution lies in Police TV shows, which, according to the New York Times, has helped CBS attract viewers in the advertising sweet-spot: 18-49 year olds.

A big name in advertising with a big idea

In advertising, you don’t get much bigger than Procter & Gamble — or much smaller than a start-up with your name on the door. But it seems Jim Stengel, the former P&G global marketing head, figures he can make something big out of the small company he’s launching on Monday, Jim Stengel LLC.

Indeed, in the release announcing the new venture, which wasn’t a very well-kept secret, he says the goal of the company is “to accelerate a movement to deeply rethink and transform the roles and meaning of marketing and branding.”

Now that’s big.

Basically, Stengel’s philosophy is that marketing should be purpose-based, meaning advertising should address the fundamental question of how a company helps make a customer’s life better.

More bad news in advertising outlook

If you were looking for any positive signs from the advertising industry, perhaps as vendors try to drum up business amid the rough economy, forget it. Times are tough there too.

On Tuesday, France’s Publicis said it expects to see weakness in mature markets and traditional sectors and a “marked slowdown” in the ad industry next year.

And Interpublic Chief Executive Michael Roth said clients’ spending plans were under pressure from the financial crisis.

Take my savings — but not my mediocre TV shows

No doubt about it, the financial crisis has been tough on the media business. Just ask Sumner Redstone, the folks over at the Associated Press, or anyone on Madison Avenue.

Then there are some of the poorly rated television shows to consider… The Hollywood Reporter writes that thanks to the economic downturn, the broadcast networks could play it safe and order full-seasons of some low-rated programs rather than replace them with new series.

There are a number of reasons for this, one of which is that it costs money to order and market a new series.

Financial Times adapts to financial times

It looks like The Guardian was the first to report that the Financial Times would cut up to 60 jobs in its editorial library and managing editor’s office, as well as its advertising sales, finance, IT, conferences and marketing departments. The Guardian might have overplayed things a bit, as we hear no one has decided on final numbers and that plenty of cuts could come through leaving some jobs unfilled and various other humane means.

If the FT shed 60 non-newsroom employees, that would amount to a little under 4 percent of its total staff (1,600 positions, with about 550 in editorial). As FT chief John Ridding says in the memo, it’s streamlining, not fallout from the financial crisis. In that respect, as Ridding has told us, world economic pain has been good to the FT so far. Still, it probably won’t hurt to batten down the hatches before the advertising market starts taking on water.

Here’s the memo:

Dear All,

As I have said in our staff presentations and business updates we are continuously looking to streamline our organisation, to make it as efficient as possible and to adapt it to the rapidly changing media industry.

Anyone care to bet on World Series TV ratings?

rays.jpgThere’s been quite a bit of hand-wringing over this year’s World Series, which starts this week. It boils down to how Tampa Bay vs. Philadephia doesn’t exactly have the sex appeal of Los Angeles vs. Boston.

But those killjoys are thinking about it all wrong, a number of experts say. What Fox and advertisers really want is a long, competitive series, regardless of who is playing.  ”What gets overstated is the importance of the matchup and what gets understated is the importance of volume,” Fox Sports spokesman Lou D’Ermilio says in an article we just posted.

What’s more, Jeff Gagne, a vice president with MPG North America, responsible for national sports negotiations, points out that this Tampa Bay worst-to-first story is pretty intriguing. It all comes down to the Tampa Bay story. “If that storyline can see itself over a long series, the ratings should actually do okay.”

Reviews mixed on first Google-powered phone

andriod.jpgThe first Google phone may not be a stunner to look at and it doesn’t come packaged with as much hype and glamour as iPhone. However, reviews say G1′s signficance is that it still represents the first real alternative to Apple’s popular touch-screen phone.

But to call the reviews mixed is putting it mildy.

David Pogue of the New York Times calls the phone’s appearance “ungainly” and says “Nobody looks at G1 and says, “Ooooh, I gotta have that.”

But the same review also proclaims that device’s user interface is “polished enough to give Windows Mobile an inferiority complex the size of Australia.”