This is a little off-topic for CG at least, but I’m actually amazed at the audacity of Motrin in drumming up their little social networking play aimed at Mommy bloggers. The video itself looks like they took something from column A that could cause pain (“Baby slings!”) and added a body part (“Backs!”) and got Motrin. The easiest equivalent to this I can think of off hand would be something like “You’re a Japanese woman and you wear a kimono with those crazy wooden shoes! Ha! You’re crazy and sleepy! It sure is hard on the back! Take Motrin.” The reasons behind the kimono and the baby sling are far more detailed and varied than Motrin implies and, in reality, a baby sling isn’t that bad nor is a Kimono nor do you wear both every day. Try getting your hand trapped in a fold down stroller one evening and then we’ll talk pain. Also, try pushing a baby out of your hooha, but I don’t know much about that.
The fairly big but the company does deserve to be taken to task mostly because this kind of thing isn’t fair to companies who actually do a good job at social networking. By good job I mean they take it one step at a time and they have a real message, not some drummed up animation made by an associate at the ad agency who happened to really like MySpace. The best and only example of social network marketing I can think of is Obama. That’s it. I’ve seen others try and succeed on a limited scale, Samsung Mobile being a notable example, but remember: social networking is about “social networking.” It is perceived as a way to keep your friends up to date on what’s going on and I hardly consider Motrin a friend. I’d consider it a troll until proven otherwise and that process requires a building of trust.
I’ve been on a lot of calls recently with PR folks trying to help them figure out this whole social media thing. In fact, they consider an email with HTML a “social media” message. It’s thinking like this – the idea that if it has more than one color it’s premium content – that is helping marketers create social media explosions in the blogosphere rather than the dull roar they’re looking for.
What could Motrin have done? As MarketingPilgrim notes, they could have sent the video to some blogger moms who could have told them that it was condescending. The blogger moms would have had some say in the message, Motrin could turn their gimlet eye to fixing the ads, and the campaign would have subsumed itself into the background noise of the Internet and, interestingly, could have turned moms to Motrin. Now, however, I doubt any baby luggers, male or female, would consider Motrin an option. After all, generics are cheaper.