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Motrin learns about Twitter

November 17, 2008

Hear about Motrin-moms this weekend on Twitter? Seems Motrin did a web ad about carrying a baby and launched it sometime on Saturday (added to YouTube on Sunday, yesterday).This is a post from Sunday called Motrin’s Twitter moment

“The Fuss. Many moms (and dads) who blog and tweet and are fans of “babywearing” are finding this Motrin ad (currently it’s right on the home page) patronizing and disrespectful of the practice of babywearing. It’s kicked up some relatively strong feelings among the community, and a resulting loud racket on Twitter and blogs.”

I’ve linked to Motrin, but the site is down. I guess it has a headache.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Anyway, here’s a handy look at the whole thing, and ruckus. Note, in this link, the sheer number of places where one can look to get an idea of who’s talking. Also note: this ad was released on Saturday. By Sunday night, the NY Times was blogging about it, and there was a 9-minute YouTube video showing off the Tweets about it.

Many people will tell you this is an example of people not listening. In other words, that this blew up in their face is a result of the fact that they weren’t paying attention.

But take a look at the ad.
It’s edgy, fast-moving, tongue-in-cheek, and opinionated. In other words, isn’t the goal here to create some buzz? Calling baby-wearing a fashion choice seems designed to rile up people.

Now, it’s possible that Motrin and the agency went for edgy. They might have even said, ‘this’ll get the blogs talking’. According to one source, the agency is Taxi. But to me, this is an argument for one stop thinking.

Taxi is most likely not the PR agency connected to Johnson and Johnson. The problem is, there was no thinking past ‘lets be edgy”.

There’s nothing wrong with being edgy. In fact, it would be a cool idea to do an edgy spot, then publicly apologize, invite women bloggers to J&J, and really turn it into an opportunity. In other words, attempt to create backlash and have a plan in place to deal.

But these days, the two players (backlash creator and backlash solver) are at different large agencies.

And so, while you’ll read that the real story here is NASCAR blindness or not listening, I think it’s a bigger story about how the internet moves faster than collaboration between a large brands various agencies.

Update: This article in Fast company touches a little on the fact that Taxi did the ads whereas McNeil gets to to clean up the mess.

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