18 Nov 2008

Top 7 Things We Learned From Motrin Moms

Unless you slept through Sunday and Monday this week, you were either involved in the conversation about Motrin Moms or you tried to ignore it.  Besides wasting diverting a lot of people’s time with the discussion/debate, what did we learn?

  1. Don’t mess with moms.
    Moms have been a huge target demographic for quite some time. After all, they tend to be the ones who do the shopping for their families. Anger your target demographic, and you’ll suffer the consequences. I doubt many babywearing moms are going to suddenly start using Motrin after this whole fiasco. (There may be a run on generic ibuprofen, though, to deal with the aftermath.)
  2. Do your research.
    The moms wouldn’t have been angered if someone would’ve just done a bit of research about the babywearing crowd. Sure, not all moms are into the whole babywearing thing, but the ad targeted the ones who are. And the babywearers are serious about it. It’s not about fashion, and even a lot of non-babywearing moms (like me) understood that it was condescending to insinuate that it was. Was the outcry an overreaction? Maybe it was, and maybe it wasn’t. But it happened. Moms aren’t silent anymore; the mom community has grown very vocal, especially with the advent of social media. Moms are passionate because there’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” dynamic where they get criticized no matter what parenting decisions they make, and they’ve gotten very used to being on the defensive. I know this firsthand. The babywearing crowd may be a little more “hardcore” than I am about this whole mommy identity thing, but the marketers would have realized this if they’d done better research.
  3. Twitter really is a big deal.
    Seriously. It’s in Forbes now: the power of Twitter to affect business decisions made by Really Big Corporations. And while some people think this was much ado about nothing, consider the possibilities now about things that really matter to a broader audience.
  4. Bad news travels fast.
    The ad was posted on Saturday. I wasn’t doing the whole social media thing on Saturday night, but by the time I signed onto Twitter on Sunday, my mommy friends were going wild! It was Monday before the apology was posted. The folks at Motrin really needed to have someone working the weekend shift when they launched the ad. Had they headed off the criticism early on, it may not have morphed into the big huge deal it did. Mommy bloggers are mostly online when their kids nap and go to bed, and when the daddies are home on the weekends. If you’re pushing out a new ad campaign that targets moms online, you have to be around to respond in real time, good or bad.
  5. You’ve gotta be sincere.
    Even non-moms found Motrin’s apology lacking. It’s kinda like saying, “I’m sorry you’re so overly sensitive that I offended you.” Hardly the apology you need to hear when someone has hurt your feelings. And hardly the right words to gain back potentially lost customers.
  6. No such thing as bad publicity?
    So the folks at Motrin likely didn’t make any new customers out of the babywearing/mommy sympathizer crowd, but what about everyone else? The Internet Marketing community was playing fast and loose with this whole #motrinmoms thing on Twitter and in the blogosphere on Monday. Anyone who hears about this in the mainstream media probably couldn’t care less about whether or not the ad was offensive; they just heard about Motrin in the news. Will Motrin see an increase in sales because of the publicity? That remains to be seen. It would be interesting to follow the story to see how their sales fare next quarter.
  7. Irony is a funny thing.
    Who knew that a headache medicine would be the cause of so many headaches?

Oh, and also, don’t mess with me. In my other life, I’m a mommy blogger… and I Twitter. ;-)