Marketing Social Networks

Motrin Responds To Online Backlash

Motrin Apologizes

AdAge details a weekend backlash on Twitter that brought down a questionable ad campaign from Motrin. (I missed it; I was at a Soaring Crane Qigong workshop. Update: And Mashable calls it a fail whale.)

You can see the ad, and a great spoof, on YouTube. (And below the fold!) Watch the latter if you don’t get the stupidity of the former.

After reading Motrin-related Tweets today, I think that responses to the ad may reflect a generational — and gender — divide. There are a lot of “Move On” and “Get over it” and “Stop the Hating” comments …. from men and women whose pix suggest that they are very young. Just a thought, and worth a bit more analysis.

What do you think? Tempest in a tea pot? Social media (appropriately) flexes muscle? Something else?

And why do movements like this happen on a weekend? I’m thinking of the first social media scalp, bloggers on Trent Lott.

Controversial Motrin Moms Commercial

Motrin Spoof

Motrin Ad Commentary


By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

5 replies on “Motrin Responds To Online Backlash”

As an ad guy, my first reaction to this phenom of the social networking hammer scaring yet another advertiser into submission is: Dear Gawd, it’s tough enough to get anything provocative through the client’s bland-o-fier these days without having to vet every idea for potential kabooms from every networked, hair-trigger constituency out there.

On the bright side, the Motrin episode has finally inspired the answer to the increasingly frequent client question: “How can we use social networking to sell more widgets?”

1) We do one cheap 30-second spot on local TV that includes a minor element guaranteed to piss off a subculture of ferociously networked bulldogs who aren’t in your target audience.
2) They raise a stink and demand that you immediately pull the ad.
3) You refuse and tell them to get a life.
4) They blog ballistic. You get a zillion dollars worth of free publicity.
5) They can’t believe you defied them and launch a national boycott against you.
6) This has no effect on sales because they never bought your widgets in the first place.
7) You repeat your refusal to pull the ad, but you no longer have to pay to run it because it’s now running for free all over the place.
8) Oprah offers to broker a peace in prime time between you and the head of the boycott.
9) You announce your intention to run the ad on the Super Bowl and offer to pay for your opponent to have a sense-of-humor transplant.
7) You win the undying brand loyalty of the widget-buying silent majority who agree with you.
8) I win an Effie Award for the most sales ever generated from a single commercial. And I finally get an ad on the Super Bowl.

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