Friday, November 21, 2008

Moms on Drugs

Have you ever considered your "choice" ache and pain reliever? Are you an ibuprofen brand snob, finding yourself partial to Motrin, or Advil? Or perhaps even Walgreen's brand? Do you choose Tylenol instead? Does it all really matter?

Last week, a highly vocal and organized force appeared out of the Internet to say vehemently, "Yes! It does matter!" Oh. It does?

Let me get you up to speed if by chance you only read here for the Hawklet pictures, and you couldn't care less what happens in the world of marketing to moms.

Over the weekend, some moms who have a megaphone called a blog or a Twitter user name came across an online video advertisement for Motrin. Have you ever had a conversation with someone about Motrin? I'm guessing not. Because Motrin is just one of a host of options for general aches and pains. It's not something ground-breaking, sexy or controversial. Like Viagra. Right? So, for something like Motrin to spark a controversy is kind of a big deal. Well, that's exactly what it became thanks to said moms with digital megaphones.

These women were PUT OFF by the snarky sarcastic tone of this particular ad, which likened "baby wearing" (you know, wearing your baby on your body via a front pack or sling) to two negatives: 1) causing horrible back and shoulder pains and 2) serving as an accessory that allows access into a sacred club. "I am now officially a mom because I am wearing my baby." Whoops. Motrin apparently didn't consider the fact that babywearing moms are not in the mood for snark. Nor do they believe babywearing is the root of these evils. Rather, it's a wonderful bonding experience and convenient way to hold baby close while having your hands free to tackle other more meanacing issues, like dishes. (No snark intended! Dishes don't do themselves!)

Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Consumer Healthcare division markets Motrin, and its VP of Marketing made the decision to pull the ad - a month after it was first posted - because of the explosion of angry moms blogging and tweeting in outrage about this otherwise unknown online ad over the course of a couple days. In other words, using social media, passionate moms took on a healthcare giant, and won.

So while this has been a fascinating case study in the power of the momfluential, and specifically in the social networking space, what I don't get is why these moms aren't as passionate, as organized, and as vocal about things that I dare say matter more than the tone of an online ad. Why not get this organized about children without healthcare insurance? How about contaminated drinking water? There happens to be an economic crisis going on - how about organizing around that? Or, hey, even the fact that Baby Gap doesn't have a motorized door? Have you ever tried to hold a giant glass swinging door open with your foot while using all of your weight to maneuver and push a loaded double stroller through it? Hello, Baby Gap??

Now there's something to get tweeting mad about!

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