The concept of a workweek starting at 8 a.m. on Monday and concluding at 5 p.m. the following Friday is cute, but not all that realistic in most cases. Whether you're in sales or engineering, marketing or technical support, there seem to always be tasks that need your attention outside of the listed business week in the company handbook. With the rise of the Web and realtime response and discussion across social networks, managing a brand's reputation is absolutely a 24 by 7 operation. Sometimes, as a groundswell takes on your company, or your products, waiting until Monday to react is simply not an option, for the damage will already have been done.
Today's victim is the pain reliever Motrin, who posted a condescending ad that had many parents seeing red. The ad, posted on their main Web site, essentially stated that carrying one's baby in a sling or backpack would cause undue pain, requiring their product. While delivering a need and solution makes sense, they unnecessarily mocked babywearing as being in fashion, and making you appear like a real mom. The condescending ad ignored the reality of needing to go "hands-free" simply to function, fashion be darned. As a father of twins, I may not be a mom, but I often carry one of the kids around in a sling or a baby carrier, whether to do dishes, or just to type without having to go one-handed. And Motrin's ad was misguided. After my wife viewed it, she said she was surprised the ad got through a series of reviews and passed.
(See the video archived on YouTube)
While not incensed as many mothers said they were, and in a household that didn't have Motrin in the medicine cabinet anyway, we discovered the ad through the power of Twitter, which was ablaze with mommybloggers slamming the campaign. (See: #motrinmoms)
On a weekend not dominated by major news, Motrin's brand got stomped on, and waiting around until Monday to pick up the pieces would be too late. After almost a day of getting dissed, the Web site finally went down tonight, either through exceeded demand, or by way of the company's intervention.
When I talk to brand managers about social media, I recommend three clear steps:
Some basics to get started:
- Twitter Search - to see realtime mentions of your brand or keywords.
- TweetBeep - sending alerts of keywords or your brand to e-mail.
- BackType Alerts - to see whenever your brand is mentioned in comments around the Web.
- Google News search - alerts to e-mail for your brand.
- Google Blog search - alerts to e-mail for your brand in blogs.
And if you were curious to see just how I look wearing a baby carrier, check out the photo on FriendFeed.
Marketing Mystic: In Motrin moms debacle, the winner is Twitter
The Standard: Motrin learns there's a downside to viral advertising