Twittering moms take down Motrin...and McNeil acts responsibly

I really wanted to like the online Motrin ads that caused so much fury among mothers last week. Living in Park Slope, I have seen many pretty innocuous matters get blown out of proportion. So I went to YouTube to watch the ad. And you know what? The moms were right. The ad is dopey.For those who haven't seen it, here's a synopsis. The ad focuses on moms who carry their babies in slings, Bjorns, carriers. The ad's theory is that women who transport their children this way tend have more aches and pains. To begin with, the concept is flawed because if the carrier fits well, then you won't have such problems.

The ad starts off in a smarmy way poking fun at the whole mommy transport system with "Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion," and goes downhill from there. Here are my favorite lines:

  • "They say babies carried close to the bod tend to cry less than others. But what about me? Do moms that wear babies cry more?" [BE note: Believe me, I cried a lot in the early days but it wasn't because of my Baby Bjorn."]
  • "Plus it totally makes me look like an official mom." [BE note: What's up with the Valley speak?]
  • "So if I look tired and crazy you'll understand why." [BE note: crazy? OK now.]

twitterThere are many things wrong with the ad but they've been covered admirably on Twitter and blogs. In fact it was because a number of women on Twitter balked at the ad that its offensiveness was brought to McNeil's [maker of Motrin] attention.

But there is more to it. McNeil has not gotten much positive press about acting responsibly once the Twittering and blogging started. So I'm giving them some. They took down the ad, apologized via JNJ BTW (J&J's corporate blog), and basically did the right thing by owning up to their error. How many times does that ever happen in real life?

I encourage you to read Kathy Widmer's post on JNJ BTW. Kathy is VP marketing for McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Here is one excerpt:

jnjbtw"On behalf of McNeil, I’m sorry if you found this advertisement insulting. We are are in the process of removing it from our website. Unfortunately, it will take longer for us to remove this advertisement from magazines as several are currently on newsstands and in distribution.

One bright spot is that we have learned through this process - in particular, the importance of paying close attention to the conversations that are taking place online. It has also brought home the importance of taking a broader look at what we say and how it may be interpreted."

So power to the people, power to social media and power to doing the right thing!