A Twittering Headache for Motrin

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Over the course of an afternoon, Motrin's latest ad campaign was undone by tech-savvy mothers using twitter who were offended by the ad's tone. Virginia Heffernan, The Medium columnist for The New York Times Magazine, explains how new technology is changing the way consumers and companies interact.


Virginia Heffernan

Comments [18]

Jonathan from Brooklyn

The Motrin ad rang true to me - even though I'm a dad not a mom. I'm a stay-at-home dad of three.
I couldn't carry a child in a Bjorn over the weight of 10 pounds. My shoulders were killing me. If a child needed to be comforted and carried around, I did just that; carried her around. Strange, my arm could handle it but not my shoulders.
I could have taken offense that the target was moms and not dads. But admit it, dads as primary care takers are still a rarity. When I refer to the parents at play group, I say, "Me and the other moms."

Nov. 25 2008 10:18 AM

Amen, Dave from Brooklyn! These breeders obviously have way too much time on their hands after having dropped out of the job market to procreate. Now they're asking for a mom position at corporations? Good to see them using technology to take on the big social issues.

Nov. 18 2008 07:18 PM
Abby from Redding, CT

It's a good thing the self-appointed "Interwebz Mom Police Squad" is taking this important issue so seriously. The Great Internet/Twitter Mom Revolution surrounding this stupid, misguided ad campaign TOTALLY speaks to MY ISSUES AND NEEDS.

Please!! Get a grip. I'm a mom of 2 kids under 5.... and yes, I "baby-wore" my 2nd, who was colicky and tended to scream until purple for her first 6 months of life. Yes, constant babywearing DOES strain the back and neck... believe me, for those six months I was not the Life of the Party, although I'm guessing I was _still_ more fun to be around than most members of the Mom Twitter Squad.

How about we, as moms, spend our clout and political capital on something that actually matters.... like achieving universal single-payer healthcare for all Americans, young and old? Or reforming our broken education system? Trivialities like the Twitter/Motrin-ad "issue," and the call for CHIEF MOM OFFICERS to prevent such travesties in the future, just make us look like a bunch of twits. (See also: "Natural" birth vs. epidurals; Breast vs. Bottle; Attachment Parenting vs. Kids-on-a-Leash at Walmart; etc.)

Nov. 18 2008 01:31 PM
real human

Is this serious? People are upset because marketers decided to target them? These twit moms need to redirect their anger they get from parenting and direct it in a more responsible way and start parenting. Thank god that foolish public outcry usually results in more exposure than the ad campaign would have ever garnered. Motrin execs are sitting back right now laughing and thanking the self-important twit moms for their dim-witted objection.

Nov. 18 2008 01:09 PM
"real" mom

So are these "Twitter Moms" saying that to be a "real mom" we have to love the pain? That's crazy. I have small kids and being able to get rid of the pain makes me a more attentive, more present, and basically better mother. These
"Twitter Moms" need to get over it. Not enough people acknowledge the pain that goes into being a Mom. I think it's good that motrin noticed the whole demographic and it's too bad they're in trouble for it.

Nov. 18 2008 12:24 PM
lc from NJ

Two funny things about this ad: 1) who are they targeting? The ones whose parenting style is to be primarily trendy or fashionable are not the ones who really babywear. They will pop pills, but the will not put their baby in a mei tai for a nap. The ones who really use babycarriers would not typically stand around complaining about the burden, nor would they take drugs to alleviate the minor aches and pains of daily life. And 2) Man, a two-year-old in a good carrier can be comfy on me for hours. Same kid in my arms won't last twenty minutes before my arms fail. And infant in a sling weighs nearly nothing; an infant in a bucket is next to impossible to carry without looking like an idiot. And forget carrying that stroller up the steps!

Seems like they test-marketed the ad with super-mainstream moms, and didn't think about the large minority of AP moms.

The Motrin marketing team was asleep at the wheel.

Nov. 18 2008 12:02 PM
Elizabeth Errico

As a mother of a 3 year old and an 8 month old I can say that I've experienced quite a bit of back pain, and wrist pain, and hand pain as a direct result of carrying around my children. So much so that I've been to a chiropractor, an orthopedic surgeon, gotten a prescription for physical therapy, and had massages to deal with the pain.

Pain and childbearing go hand in hand and to sweep in all under the rug with a "I do it for my children therefore I love it" delusion is part of the martyrdization of mothers that actually hinders the feminist movement and the attempt to get meaningful respect for motherhood not just "Hallmark" placating.

Mothers do not deserve to be in pain because of their children. Neither is it a badge of honor to be in pain because of your children. It is a medical fact that caring for children takes a toll on the body and that caregivers need to have their bodies cared for too. And yes, that means sometimes taking Motrin.

I love both of my children as much as any mother does. But no, I do not love the pain and will take Motrin to combat it.

Nov. 18 2008 11:59 AM

just when i'm ready to give up on smug-lic radio a dave from brooklyn comes along!

Nov. 18 2008 11:52 AM
dave from Brooklyn

These annoying mommies make me want to buy a case of Motrin.

I'm really sick of these modern whiny parents who are so easily offended by little things like these ads, and feel entitled to some heightened degree of respect because they have procreated. Yay! You're fertile! You get a tax break (an odd thing, for adding a burden to society) for your spawn - isn't that enough? Be grateful, be quiet, and stop allowing your brats to roam free in restaurants!

Nov. 18 2008 11:49 AM
O from Forest Hills

This is a family program, let's keep spanking out of it.

Nov. 18 2008 11:47 AM
hjs from 11211

thank you for spanking corpo-america.
they need more of that

Nov. 18 2008 11:43 AM
Mark from Brooklyn

Not having read the tweets, seems like the most offensive part of this ad is the line "It makes me look like an official mom." As an official dad, I would be offended by the idea that we have child for fashion or superficial reasons, too.

Meanwile all the comments on this that I've read are 1) that's women for you 2) get over yourselves, mothers 3) must be the hormones.

Looks like feminism is alive and well on the internet.

Nov. 18 2008 11:42 AM
Jill from NYC

The power of the 'mom mob' is pretty cool though

Nov. 18 2008 11:40 AM
stay at home moms

but would the chief marketing mom still have time to twitter?

Nov. 18 2008 11:37 AM
Jill from NYC

If you are going to attack this add you should also attack the pushing of cescerians over natural birth in hospitals, formula over breast milk, hospital births over home, disposable diapers over rags...Really, I am sure there is some truth in this add...heavy object on body all day equals some back pain (for me at least). It is an ad which equals witty selling.

Nov. 18 2008 11:14 AM
Leshka from UES

I was commenting to my husband on the bus stop Motrin ads the night before I heard about the Twitter moms. The ads have the phrases "High Heels" and "Heavy Handbag". Whatever happened to "comfortable shoes" and "leave your stuff at home"? No, we should pop pills instead.

Nov. 18 2008 10:56 AM
hjs from 11211

i wonder if the motrin's corporate parent owns a giant stroller maker.

how big do those stroller have to be. carrying one of those up a set of stairs will kill your back, i bet.

Nov. 18 2008 10:31 AM

Yeh, for some reason working as a copywriter at an ad agency isn't the type of gig that naturally draws zillions of twitter mommies. Obviously the ad agency needs to change that or they'll end up on...twitter.

Nov. 18 2008 10:06 AM

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