Motrin, a McNeil Consumer Healthcare pain relief product, is feeling the pain after an overwhelming consumer backlash to a video posted online. The video at the centre of the backlash targeted women who carry their children, suggesting they would benefit from the pain relief provided by Motrin. Unfortunately the tone of the video was more critical of the behaviour of mothers than sympathetic to their experience of back pain. This is a response that should have been picked up in focus groups.
“Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion. I mean, in theory it’s a great idea [light switch sound effect]. There’s the front baby carrier, the sling, the schwing, the wrap, the pouch and who knows what else they’ve come up with. Wear the baby on your side, your front, go hands free. Supposedly it’s a real bonding experience [giggle sound effect]. They say that babies carried close to the bod tend to cry [cry sound effect] less than others. But what about me? Do moms that wear their babies cry more than those who don’t? I sure do. These things put a ton of strain [flame sound effect] on your back, your neck, your shoulders … did I mention your back? I mean, I’ll put up with the pain. Because it’s a good kind of pain. It’s for my kid. Plus, it totally makes me look like an official mom. And so, if I look tired and crazy [cuckoo clock sound effect], people will understand why.”
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube
Motrin didn’t take into account the power of Mom bloggers. The campaign was trashed by online mothers who felt patronized and put down by the online and print campaign. (See the Technorati listing of blogs referring to the Motrin brand over the last weekend.) The Motrin fiasco became the subject of scathing conversation on Twitter.
Neither did Motrin anticipate the rage of the industry behind ‘baby wearing’. Baby Wearing International, producers of accessories associated with carrying infants, launched a counter campaign, calling on concerned mothers to contact the marketing manager of McNeil Consumer Healthcare.
McNeil Consumer Healthcare and advertising agency Taxi NY have now responded by pulling the advertisement, as of the evening of Sunday November 16, and placing an apology on their web site. Unfortunately withdrawing a print advertising campaign already out on the news stands is no simple matter.