“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.

MySpace — better with Bacon Salt?

mmmmm-baaaaacon.jpgMySpace rolled out the public test of its MyAds system, a service created for small businesses that want to run banner advertising on the online social network. Designed to take advantage of the personal information that MySpace members provide, it’s geared primarily toward folks whose businesses are small enough that they don’t have things like media buyers. (See the e-mail conversation with our friend at Bacon Salt at the bottom of this entry for an example of what I mean.)

You can read the Reuters story that we ran Sunday night, and then check out these other stories, which wrote up different angles on the service:

BNET’S Steve O’Hear offers directions so easy that even someone evincing signs of my legendary tech illiteracy could make it work:

Social ‘nets are nice but where’s the money?

diller2.jpgBarry Diller likes social networks. He says they function as telephones used to: they help us communicate with each other. But one thing they don’t do is make money. Here’s what he told the Goldman Sachs Ninth Annual Internet Conference today in Vegas:

In social networks, the only way you get paid is from advertising and advertising has … on social networks has proved to be not particularly effective.   

That’s not to say things can’t pick up:   

It probably will find ways to be effective but it hasn’t been and so you can’t say okay, lets find widgets and all of these things to put on all of these services.