Motrin Moms Take it to the Street

If Twitter is social media’s living room, then the conversation and uproar over the new Motrin ad is now spilling out into the streets — moms upset by the ad have created YouTube video responses, Flickr groups, a CafePress Shop, and many, many, many, many blog posts in response to the ad.

Last night I wondered how long the ad would remain on the website.  This morning I wonder how common it is for brands to actively listen to social media over the weekends, nevermind have the systems in place to respond quickly during off-hours.

Most of the uproar seems to be at the condescending tone and content of the ad, mainly the idea that:

  1. Moms wear babies in slings as a fashion statement, or to be trendy
  2. Wearing babies in slings is a new thing
  3. Moms are crazy

Although the ad doesn’t come right out and say it, I think another underlying message is that moms secretly resent having to carry kids.  The implication that caring for her kids causes a mom so much pain that she needs a pill to solve it makes mothering itself seem like a disease that requires treating.

Some twitterers are looking thoughtfully at the ad itself, wondering if it had to be this way:


Could the ad have been designed in such a way as to still target new mothers, but without the condescending tone and widely perceived insults?  It’s certainly true that new mothers, and mothers in general, are a valuable target market for a brand like Motrin.  What could they have done differently?

(Ed: here’s a suggested rewrite of the ad, suggested on the #MotrinMom thread.)

TJ Sondermann (@sondernagle), creator of the flickr group already mentioned, sent me this tweet late last night:


What do you think?

(ed: Here’s an interesting take on the mixed message of the ad, given the potential risks of using ibuprofin during nursing, by a former pharma rep for Motrin.)


12 responses to “Motrin Moms Take it to the Street

  1. I don’t see a problem with the ad at all. I carried two babies around in a Björn and I can tell you that yes, I can cause back pain as the kids age.

    As far as the “crazy” nonsense, it’s just that. The typical “crazy” new parent is funny and relate-able. Believe me, I’ve been there.

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  5. Dave, that’s fine if you don’t see a problem with the ad. I think you could argue it either way.

    My point is not whether or not the ad is offensive — to me that is entirely beside the point. What interests me is why the brand wasn’t monitoring Twitter (or blogs, or YouTube) and so wasn’t present to respond.

    Not listening to social media just isn’t a luxury brands can afford any more.

  6. Hey there, just wanted to clarify, the response from the Pharma Rep is not in the video, but instead here:
    The video above from Lauren/Dreamtattoo is from a mom, wife of the Pharma rep.

  7. Whoops, thanks for that. I’ve moved the link to the blog post by the Pharma Rep to the bottom of the post, so there won’t be any confusion. I inserted that link a while after writing the post, and didn’t notice how it might be misleading or confusing.


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  9. “Not listening to social media just isn’t a luxury brands can afford any more.”

    Now I agree with that 100%.

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