An Opportunity for Twitter, Recognized as Aching Mothers Band(wagon) Together

I swore that I would not jump on the Motrin bandwagon myself and talk about how awesome it is that all of the moms came together to rally against the big bad advertisement.

So, I won’t.

Most people are observing the groundswell, sharing the videos, talking about how powerful Twitter is, and the voice of the consumers really is.

I say that’s only partially true, and to be honest, the voice of the consumers was only effective to a point–and then largely ineffective.

Yeah, I said it.

I think the voice of the “Motrin Moms” did a great job of “getting their way” and getting the advertisement pulled.

And Motrin did a great job of saying, “We heard you” to a select handful of people who are a small margin of the users of the web, but who have the power of Twitter, the blogosphere–and may, or may not, actually sell a few of those damned slings that seem to get everyone so riled up to begin with.

But, as Gabby Hon poetically said:

“Okay motrinmoms, now that you’ve “won”, so what? What did you honestly achieve via your twitter tantrum?”

Anyone who’s dug a little deeper into this blog will know how much I love the “So What?”, so I’m totally hearting what Gabby’s saying.

Michael Rivera takes things a step further and makes suggestions (which, by the way, seem to be in short supply out there–lots of criticism, but few people trying to be part of the solution) for what Motrin could do:

  • Build the Motrin Mom’s Advisory Board
  • Own the idea of “mommy ergonomics”
  • Co-brand with a baby sling manufacturer and send out free, and branded, baby slings to all the offended twittermoms, with an invitation to join the Motrin Mom’s Forum.

Good, solid suggestions–for Motrin.

In fact, I’ve been saying all day that this whole fiasco is a brilliant opportunity for Motrin!

I mean, OMG! Like, thousands of “Motrin Moms” all started twitter-screaming at the top of their lungs that this is ridiculous! This is hurting my feelings! Motrin doesn’t get moms!  Slings are totally FTW!

All. Weekend. Long.

Oh–for an ad that was released on September 30th of this year, for what it’s worth.

Somewhere out there, one rather vocal–and rather popular–twitter/blogger/etc. social mom got her feathers ruffled and shared those feelings outward and the pond rippled from there.

But, as Gabby says:

So what?

This is where the Twitter opportunity comes in to play.

The joke I made today about all of this to Cindy Chastain was:

Twitter was great to allow them to bully and megaphone their way into getting attention–from Motrin to the New York Times to David Armano, Jeremiah Owyang and anyone else who could catch on.

Good for them.

Bad for Twitter.

The reason this is bad is because this group of “Motrin Moms” had a somewhat collective voice–they were all pissed off. Most likely, this was all for similar reasons, however, there appeared to be no true leader identified–regardless of who posted what first to uncover this egregious ad that had been out for nearly 1.5 months.

They had no Jesse Jackson of their own.

They had no single point of contact to make some demands, to stand up as an organized mob and get more than just an ad pulled down.

So, to a point, they achieved an unknown–yet mutual–objective. But, now, they go away.

Fade…fade away…

(Oh, and thanks for all of you standing up and providing Motrin with an idea of who all the right people are to talk to–seriously, you just made it really easy for them, and I would personally relish that opportunity if I were them!)

So What?

So, Twitter, your opportunity is here. Allow the disorganized mobs to organize. Allow them to find their leadership and voices and share within their sub-communities inside of your Twitterverse.  Allow new communities to form, grow and thrive with focus and purpose.

Heck, I bet you could even make some money at it.

8 Responses to “An Opportunity for Twitter, Recognized as Aching Mothers Band(wagon) Together”

  1. Nice to see something different written on this…

    While we give twitter and social media a TON of credibility when things like this happen, you kind of have to wonder how big the impact is and if it really matters in the long-run.

    While the voices are vocal is their impact lasting????


  2. Good point, Krista.

    And I think that, right now, the answer is that the impact here isn’t for the individuals–it’s for the brands.

    The brands can monitor the individuals, and that is reciprocal, but the brands actually have the power. The brands can *do* something–look at Frank @ComcastCares and how powerful Twitter can be for a brand.

    But look at these individual moms… they’re kind of powerless now that the ad has been pulled.

    Unless they’re engaged by Motrin as part of the “repair” process, in which they may perceive that they have some power and influence, but they’re really just aiding the brand.

    Unless Twitter changes, the power seems to still remain with the brands.


  3. It seems that some issues evolve from crowdsourcing to mob mentality very quickly. I read through hundreds of posts of #motrinmoms and at LEAST 80% of them admitted to not using the brand. So, after the company apology, how much harm was done to the brand? Negligible. For every one PO’d mom there were thousands who were not offended and commented they liked the ad. And, rightly so, they felt no compulsion to come to the rescue of a generically available brand. Russ, you hit the nail on the head. There was a large backlash, but without a clear leader and organization it was but a wave or two lapping upon the shore, never to be seen or heard again.


  4. Russ,

    I have no background in marketing, but it seems to me like this process has also elevated the brand name of Motrin.

    Stripping out other factors, it would be interesting to see a sales chart of Motrin from the time the mommy twitters started to a few days after they pulled the ad and posted an apology.

    I’m wondering if the campaign has actually had the opposite effect the mommy twitters were looking to achieve? If sales increase during this slamming of their ad campaign, they’ve failed. Have they not?



  5. Russ:

    Right on. I showed my wife, who is a mom, the ad and asked what she thought. Other than saying, it is a bad advertisement with the voice of a complainer, it is not worth the weight it has been given. To me, if a rebel rouse is to be raised, Twitter should be used as a bullhorn to bring attention to important causes.

    If we are going to raise our voices, which are now very loud because of the tools we now have, we should choose our battles carefully, otherwise the messages will be lost, and companies will stop listening with such intensity. We will be looked at like the complainer in the Motrin ad.

    We have a responsibility to do better.


  6. Glad I wasn’t the only one who got drawn into the debate despite not wanting to give the story oxygen. And I live in the UK and had never even heard of Motrin until yesterday!


  7. It was an upsetting ad because being a mom is hard work, and we try to do the right thing by our kids, and suggesting something that was _maybe_ good for kids (when it clearly is, by research) but we do it for fashion (yeah, but we don’t wash our hair for days, that jibes) and it ends up causing us physical pain which is a lie was just stupid and inaccurate. If motirn had talked about how being a mom is hard work, and we try to do the right thing despite all the conflicting advice, and it gives us a headache… that might have been good. Or if carrying a baby with your arm on your hip can give you mom’s wrist, and have you in a cast for months like I was eating motrin like candy… oh, wait, now I know why they don’t like slings. hurts sales!

    Anyhow. Russ is right. Twitter allowed a mob to have a voice, but never let them do more with it. Time for a meetup mashup?


  8. Russ,

    I think the point you bring up about the movement not having a leader is an insightful one. Twittarchy?



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