My kids are too old to carry around in slings — I mostly drive them everywhere now — but I can still sympathize with the mom (and some dad) bloggers who are up in arms about Motrin’s latest marketing campaign, which uses “baby-wearing” as a way of trying to appeal to moms as potential customers. The rationale seems to be that using slings and other baby-carrying paraphernalia is mostly a fad, and causes back and neck pain that requires Motrin. Instead, hundreds of moms are criticizing Motrin on Twitter — where they have helpfully tagged their comments with #motrinmoms — and on dozens of blogs as well.
If you’re one of those who believes that “any publicity is good publicity,” or that getting potential customers “engaged” with your product includes pissing them off, then the Motrin campaign probably seems like a great success. And I’m sure there are those who will argue that the critical Motrin moms are a vocal minority, that they are too easily offended by something that was meant to be humorous, etc. That may even be true. But it’s still a problem for the company — a very modern problem. For better or worse, this kind of social-media “flash flood” of negative PR involving Twitter, blogs and Facebook is becoming more and more commonplace.
It will be interesting to see how Motrin responds. Will they take the same road as GM did when everyone used the footage they provided to generate negative commercials for the Chevy Tahoe? Or will try their best to they ignore it? If they’re smart, they’ll run a bunch of the Twitter comments, video responses and blog posts on the Motrin site. Dave Knox, a digital brand manager for Procter & Gamble, says Motrin has a problem on its hands (link via Cyndy Aleo-Carreira at The Industry Standard). Shannon McKarney has some good perspective on the whole kerfuffle here.