The REAL problem with the Motrin ads…

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Let’s be honest – when a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Indonesia rocks the house, yet pulls up #Motrinmoms as the lead story, somewhere, there’s a disconnect. But it’s a disconnect that, when you think about it, makes perfect sense.

I’m not siding with Motrin. They messed up, granted. I’m ok with that. Companies mess up all the time. They fix the problem, and it usually doesn’t make the radar screen. The problem is, Motrin happened to mess up at the expense, and in the face of, one of the most vocal, quickest-to-blog, “strongest-to-band-together-and-form-one-opinion-like-the-Borg” collectives out there – The Mommy-Blogging community.

Now I am NOT slagging on Mommy-Bloggers. Not in the slightest. Nor, am I saying they’re over-reacting to the commercial, which, by rights, was stupid and patronizing. What I AM saying though, is that Motrin will pay a MUCH bigger price, as opposed to if they’d messed up in front of say, “Construction-Worker-Bloggers.” Mommy-Bloggers are not a voice to be messed with, probably because they’re one of the most clearly identifiable voices on the web. You have a kid? You blog about said kid? You’re a Mommy-blogger. You don’t need an advanced degree in particle physics to see what these bloggers have in common.

So With that said, when you go after that kind of a market, pay attention! Off the top of my head, on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon from the pool at the hotel near the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida… The top four ways to assure your company doesn’t become “Motrined” when going after moms. This can also apply to any other market, just substitute. And you’re welcome.

1) Hire someone who is part of your target market. One blogger out there, Katja Presnal, in what was otherwise an excellent post, suggested a “Chief Mom Officer.” I’m going to pass on that, because I believe the title isn’t professional, and defeats the whole purpose of bringing someone on board to address this market. How about simply a D of M who is also a mother? A “Chief Mom Officer” just sounds like a weak-ass attempt. But – Hire someone in your market. A mom who also has 15-years of Brand marketing under her belt. Why? Because she’ll know to call “BULLSHIT” unless you…

2) Don’t believe EVERYTHING YOUR AGENCY SAYS AND DON’T QUESTION ONE POINT. Who the hell does this? I mean honestly, did Motrin actually hire an agency then not have one thought of “Hmm, the 24-year-old hipsters presenting this ad to us don’t look like moms – I wonder if we should ask a mom what she… Ah, the hell with it, I’m sure it’s fine, these guys are professionals.”

3) Say goodbye to 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 both Motrin and their agency didn’t do it is pathetic. It’s even more pathetic for their agency – that’s in their job description. Way to not do your job for your client, Taxi.

4) Finally, suck it up, apologize, and move on. If Motrin is smart, they’ll a) apologize, b) bring a mother into their team, c) pull the ad, and d) move the hell on. Fortunately, we live in an age of a 140-character attention span. If they do the above four actions, this story will be dead by Tuesday.

And seriously, pay some attention to Indonesia. It’s kind of important, too.

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