Posted by: emilyhowardprincipato | November 10, 2009

Happy Anniversary Motrin – Have you learned not to mess with the Mommy Blogger?

Motrin MomsOn Saturday in mid-Novemeber 2008, a Groundswell erupted online from a video advertisement that Motrin posted to their website.  They posted the short video on their Web site and ad stressed how painful it was to carry a baby around in a sling, but moms are doing it because it is fashionable and cool.  The backlash Motrin received after introducing the new advertisement will change the way they target, monitor and view the digital marketing world.  

Here is the crisis by the numbers.

Motrin introduced the advertisement to target moms and show sympathy – hoping the moms will buy Motrin and that will help with any pain that may occur from carrying their baby.  The reaction from moms everywhere was extremely hostile.  Now, I am not a mom but I could see why they would be offended. 

The way this ad exploded on the internet and through blogs was astonishing.  This proves that social media has the potential to be a match next to gasoline.  It spreads so quickly and unless you are prepared for the fire, it will take a very long time to extinguish.

There were thousands of comments on Twitter and Katja Presnal created a nine minute YouTube video of some of the Twitter comments she found using along with pictures of moms.  You can find more feedback at TechWorld.

The storm hit on Saturday and by Sunday, the video was taken off of the site and Kathy Widmer, the VP of Marketing, issued a formal apology to bloggers that was later posted on the Motrin website.  Motrin acted quickly to the situation, even though they were not prepared for it.  Kathy did a good job connecting to the audience, showing sympathy and made sure people knew who was responsible for the situation. 

What companies need to do in a crisis: 

  • SEM – purchase keywords you think people are searching for so your content comes up first
  • Own their domain names of their products/subsidieries
  • Own their brand online (Twitter handles, facebook pages, etc)
  • Research – focus groups or online polls to see how the message is received
  • Dark page on their Web site (the site was shut down for a couple of hours during the crisis)
  • Push out video of a credible source from your brand to get YOUR message out

It is almost the one-year anniversary of this crisis and I know it is not a hot topic anymore, but I think it is a great case study and applicable to what I have been stessing – social media is VERY powerful.



  1. Might not be terribly recent, and certainly isn’t top of mind for folks these days, but you’re right – it should be. Great example of the whirlwind that can hit a brand or company without the smallest notice. Great post.

  2. […] more I learn about the ethos of social media, the more baffled I am when I read examples like this one that Emily recently blogged about.  I mean this is Johnson & Johnson making this mistake!?  I […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: