Motrin Pulls Babywearing Ad Campaign After Twitterstorm
Recently, Motrin released an ad promoting the product for relieving the presumed pain of babywearing – problem is, they framed the activity as merely fashionable, as “supposedly” a bonding experience, as so unpleasant that mothers must be asking, “what about me?”
Suddenly, folks were talking about the stupidity of the campaign online, especially via Twitter. See #motrinmoms in the Twitter search for a bit of the discussion. I also saw comments yesterday on FriendFeed, and this take by David Rothman pretty well summed up the reaction:
1. It discounts years of legitimate research on carriers being good for babies for the sake of shilling ibuprofen. It is not just a fashion any more than car seats are.
2. It suggests moms (they don’t mention us dads) use these because they feel they are SUPPOSED to (not because they are good for babies or awfully convenient).
3. The “what about me” is appalling.
4. Carriers cause less pain than trying to carry a baby without one.
5. “It totally makes me look like an official mom” – again, as though one uses it to LOOK like a good parent. For they record, we use an Ergo baby carrier. I have chronic back pain problems and it doesn’t hurt my back. Simon loves it.
Oh yeah- and I resent all of the advertisements that act as though moms are the only caregivers. – David Rothman
Just a couple of days after the flurry of attention began, the campaign has been pulled. According to a piece in AdAge, “their impact was felt by J&J last night. McNeil Consumer Healthcare took down Motrin.com, and VP-Marketing Kathy Widmer started apologizing to bloggers via e-mail.”
The rest of the AdAge piece is a great summary, and Pharmalot has this additional commentary “I’m sure they didn’t expect these babywearing moms to be extremely tech savvy and attacking them online with viral boycotting campaigns…they underestimated their target market.” I know, companies and advertisers underestimating their audience of women – shocking, right? Johnson & Johnson has issued an apology on their official blog.
The discussion has also apparently drawn attention to a campaign to donate slings to needy families through a group called “No Mother Left Behind.” Although, ahem, perhaps they should call themselves “No Caregiver Left Behind.”