A 50-second online ad for pain reliever Motrin, which targeted moms with sore backs, blew up in the company’s face this week.
The ad seems to imply babies are an annoyance and that mothers are crazy—at least that’s what I learned from reading Twitter. After seeing the ad on the Motrin Web site, offended moms voiced their anger on Twitter and that was the gist, well, that and lots of moms have apparently sworn off Motrin.
Take this fuming Twitter message, which made it into an Associated Press story about the incident: “I can't even count the ways I am offended right now. Taken aback! This is a serious screw up for such a major company.” (Read all the comments.)
Here's the ad:
Here’s how it happened. The video was posted to Motrin’s Web site Saturday. By Sunday, so many people had chattered about it on Twitter—and then watched it—that the Motrin Web site crashed Sunday night.
On Monday, the drug’s maker, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, issued an apology. Kathy Widmer, McNeil’s VP of marketing, issued a statement that said:
We certainly did not mean to offend moms through our advertising. Instead, we had intended to demonstrate genuine sympathy and appreciation for all that parents do for their babies. We believe deeply that moms know best and we sincerely apologize for disappointing you. Please know that we take your feedback seriously and will take swift action with regard to this ad. We are in process of removing it from our website. It will take longer, unfortunately, for it to be removed from magazine print as it is currently on newstands and in distribution.
Days later Twitter is still burning with comments, although on Tuesday they were mostly about the power of social media and people asking, “What’s the big deal, anyway?” Meanwhile, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and Forbes have run pieces on the incident.
Of course, this might be a good thing for Motrin—getting the word out there. No press is bad press, right? The again, take this message from a Twitter user: “had no idea what the heck ‘Motrin’ was until today, now, thanks to the collective, I know enough to avoid them.”
Read more about the background of this supposed PR-gaffe.