In Short: Listen.

So after not quite 24 hours of Motrin’s Twitter Moment (Hat Tip to @Pistachio), some more in-depth analysis of the offending ads and the online response is starting to roll in.

Laura Fitton weighs in with a pithy summary and analysis here:

Even if your brand or agency isn’t ready to engage formally and integrate the business applications of Twitter throughout your campaigns, community building and other market engagement efforts, you need to get clued in — fast — to the reasons, times and ways that you can listen. Maybe you’re not even ready for full-time social media monitoring. That’s your call. But not tuning in while you launch a new tactic borders on gross negligence, in this day and age.

Here’s what Peter Shankman has to say, in part:

Screw focus groups, use Twitter. The moms have been sucking the life-forces out of their children since 4am this morning to use it as a weapon of mass destruction against Motrin. And they’ve been doing it on their blogs, on Twitter, and the like. Not ONE person at either Motrin or Twitter has an alert on this crap, to say, “Hey Bob, maybe we should pull the ads for now and revisit the situation tomorrow morning at 8am in an all-hands?” Hell, I have alerts on my name ping me every 20 minutes on my blackberry because I’m bored! That Motrin or their agency didn’t do it is pathetic.

And this is from Brian Brown at Brand New World:

If the brand gets very real, admits their mistakes, listens, keeps asking questions, lets real moms do the talking, and does a really good job at it, they may just be able to turn this backlash into strong brand advocacy – then everyone would be happy.

Karoli writes:

Had the folks who created this ill-conceived PR campaign thought for half a second, or had a clue about how Twitter works, they would already have been reaching out to the community, asking about how they handled pain, how they did it while nursing, what they most loved about being new moms, what they most wished could be different, what tools they wanted but don’t currently have.

And, at the end of the day, the response from Motrin’s VP of Marketing.

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.

Jeremiah Owyang weighs in on Monday with some lessons learned:

  • Always test your campaign with a small segment first
  • Always have staff on hand to be prepared to respond during the weekend
  • Don’t launch a campaign right before the weekend unless you’re prepared to respond
  • The participants have the power, so participate
  • For better or for worse, more influencers are talking about Motrin than ever before
  • Robert at InfOpinions writes:

    Saying a response withing 24 hours is good … hey, that’s old school. Welcome to the new world. Listening is the key, here. Listening before preparing the ad would have sent out warning flares galore. Listening after it was launched (24/7) would have alerted McNeil and J&J to the potential firestorm. They could have dealt with this faster. PR people, the protectors of reputation and brand, never sleep. Didn’t you folks at McNeil & Johnson & Johnson get that memo? More importantly, they should have dealt with it faster. If you’re going to be online and engaging the masses online … pay attention! Hello?

    And the newly posted website:


    What’s your take?


    3 responses to “In Short: Listen.

    1. Did you see my post at — I am first to reach the ad agency TAXI in NYC — if anyone wants to talk to me via phone — I can fill you in also js.

    2. Well, first off, you can’t please all people all the time. Really though, I think this was more innocent than it appears. I mean, yes, they could have tested, could have avoided some of this, but I am a sling using mom who will now think of Motrin when my neck hurts after a long walk.

      I wager there are plenty of women who thought, “You know, I should do that, I should carry a little something to help.” Because the truth in this ad that moms aren’t talking about is that we do get sore, we do get achey– we just don’t like to think of ourselves as whiney, superficial and talking like valley girls.

    3. Pingback: Motrin Messes with Mommy-Bloggers and Loses - Scott Vandehey's Blog

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