Twitter Case Study: Motrin Moms

This weekend, there was a bit of excitement on Twitter as outraged moms around the world responded to this advertisement by Motrin:

The tone of the ad is conspiratorial. It’s supposed to be a mom talking directly to other moms who can identify with the the pain caused by carrying around her baby in various types of slings attached to her body.

I have not carried around a baby so I have no idea whether or not it hurts. But so far, I’m convinced by the ad. I mean, an extra 7-15 pounds (is that what babies weigh?) attached to my hips, my front, my back…I would imagine that would hurt after a while, no matter how ingenious the contraption.

Apparently, I’m wrong. And that, my friends, is where the value of market research comes in. And if you don’t do the research, that’s where the true value of social media comes in.

Apparently, there are many moms who have carried around multiple children on their back, their hips, their front. They were not in pain. In fact, quite the opposite. They are not happy with the Motrin ad campaign, and they want you to know about it.

Over the weekend moms on Twitter united in voicing their displeasure with the Motrin ad . They used "#motrinmoms" as the tag for the threaded conversation, making it easy for people to follow.

In less than 24 hours, this video was created as a response to the ad that intersperses the Twitter conversation with images of moms carrying their children in many of the states mentioned in the ad. It’s pretty powerful:

Also, you can see that the story was picked up by mainstream media as well and will likely appear in print tomorrow or the day after.

Motrin’s website was crashed by the traffic, and has yet to recover. Not good.

What’s surprising to most people is not that there was outrage over an ad that didn’t resonate with its target audience so much as the lack of response from Motrin (or its parent company — Johnson & Johnson). Either they are not monitoring some of the most important conversation channels for their target audience (mommy bloggers) like Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere, or they have not empowered their advertising, public relations or communications teams to respond immediately.

This is far from played out. There are probably some who will argue this is being blown out of proportion. In some ways, I might agree. But let’s look at some initial lessons:

LISTEN : People are talking about companies and brands every day on a variety of platforms. It is the responsibility of the marketing and communications team to monitor these conversations, whether or not they choose to participate. While its not possible to follow everything, even the most simple tools (RSS, Google Alerts) will catch things like this.

BE TRANSPARENT : When you make a mistake, apologize to the community and learn from it. This is an opportunity for Motrin to better understand its audience and to begin a conversation that probably should have started long ago.

There are many more, and I’m sure we’ll all learn from how Motrin handles this in the coming days.

Further reading: Mommy Bloggers Assimilate Johnson & Johnson , Forbes , Pistachio

206 thoughts on “Twitter Case Study: Motrin Moms

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