Sunday, November 16, 2008

Oy, I’ve got such a Motrin headache

Jessica Gottlieb is a smart and very busy woman. She writes 4 blogs, one on sustainability at Celsias as well as Green Options, pop culture at National Lampoon and her own blog about parenting. Yesterday, this busy woman saw an ad for Motrin pitched to new mothers that rubbed her the wrong way and a viral movement started. As Jessica states, a few hours and several tweets later, MotrinMoms is the #1 search on Twitter, eclipsing SNL for the first time since Obama was elected.


The campaign has certainly gone viral, but not in the way Motrin had expected. Katja Presnal, created a video on all the tweets that is getting lots of visibility on YouTube. She is also collecting links on her blog. There are currently over 50 blogs that have written about the #MotrinMoms controversy.

geekAs Lucretia Pruitt states, pissing off your target audience is not a smart strategy. Jessica explains why the ad campaign had such a pronounced impact, “Don’t pick on the weak.

New mothers are fragile. Motrin has proven, irrevocably that they don’t understand that Mothers are the ones in the grocery stores. Mothers clip coupons and build brands with discussion. Mothers get together and uplift one another.

So when you pick on a few new mommies, you get all of us.

The #MotrinMoms of Twitter will never buy Motrin again. Babywearing is best for baby and companies that support our babies get our dollars.”

Laura Fitton blogs about the missed opportunity and how Motrin should have listened to its audience on Twitter, both before the campaign to understand their target audience and during the campaign to get a feel for customer’s reaction. They still have not responded on Twitter, any blogs or on any of the other social networks. Reputation Management guru, Andy Beal explains in his blog, Taking a look at the negative Twitter conversations surrounding #motrinmom demonstrates that Motrin is, in just a few short hours, facing a huge reputation disaster–initiated by the very audience Motrin hoped to target, “Mama Bloggers.”

This episode further supports the research that we recently completed that Twitter members want to engage in dialog with their brands. Just think how quickly this issue could have been addressed and resolved, if Motrin had first listened to its target audience and then engaged with them during the campaign. Instead, they’ve got a headache that will require something much stronger than Motrin to fix.

November 17th Update:

The Groundswell continues….It seems like everyone on Twitter has written a blog post. The VP of Marketing for McNeil Consumer Healthcare issued an apology on Katja’s blog. David Armano has an insightful post looking at the impact on Google search results and offers great advice to brands that may be faced with a similar situation. Jeremiah Owyang’s post demonstrates the impact that the Motrin controversy has had using Twitter analytics and shares lessons learned. It will be interesting to see if there is more response from Motrin today or the issue just blows over as some are predicting….Stay tuned.

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Michelle Evans said...

Wow did this thing ever blow up. I've never seen this happen. As a marketer I'm very interested in watching how this all plays out.

Warren said...

Michelle, I agree, it will be very interesting to see how Motrin gets out of this problem. You would think they would have been more careful, since parent J&J had their own problems with Mommybloggers last year. Never underestimate the power of the Mommyblogger!

Jessica Gottlieb said...

Obviously I'm enormously flattered but it's less about me than you'd think. It's about women coming together and how strong our collective voices are.

I'm a pretty cruddy feminist most of the time, but I'm fiercely protective of other mothers and every choice they make.

FYI I'm running out the door to the launch party for the (where I also write).

Anonymous said...

I guess I am missing the origin of this. Was Motrin already consulting moms on Twitter? Why would they run their ad ideas by Twitter Moms first? Is that the new process?

If it was a bad as everyone is making it, Motrin will pay for their blunder in lost revenues if MotrinMoms actually punish it by not buy their product. But we've seen this sort of situation before. Does anyone remember the baseball strike. The whole country was angered yet, baseball survived, err, THRIVED after that. So, let's see. Making a company take down an and which has "rubbed someone the wrong way" is certainly a statement of class power. Let's see if they can really make them pay - in the bank account.

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