AdAge has a case study on the Motrin ad flap today (hat tip Queen of Spain) that characterizes Motrin’s decision to pull the babywearing ad as caving to “a vocal flash mob.”
It has lots and lots of great numbers to show that not that many people saw the ad. True enough, and I urge everyone to bookmark the article for the Twitter stats alone. Twitter isn’t mainstream, and we shouldn’t kid ourselves that it is. Useful? Promising? Trendy? Yes. But mainstream? Not yet. Maybe not ever.
However, from an advertising perspective, the Motrin team did the absolutely right and responsible thing. The ad offended, no matter how small the number. It pulled it. Last week, Vice President of Marketing for McNeil Healthcare Kathy Widmer wrote on JNJ BTW, the company’s corp comm blog and motrin.com:
So…it’s been almost 4 days since I apologized here for our Motrin advertising. What an unbelievable 4 days it’s been. Believe me when I say we’ve been taking our own headache medicine here lately!
Btw – if you’re confused by this – we removed our Motrin ad campaign from the marketplace on Sunday because we realized through your feedback that we had missed the mark and insulted many moms. We didn’t mean to…but we did. We’ve been able to get most of the ads out of circulation, but those in magazines will, unfortunately, be out there for a while.
We are listening to you, and we know that’s the best place to start as we move ahead. More to come on that.
In the end, we have been reminded of age-old lessons that are tried and true:
- When you make a mistake – own up to it, and say you’re sorry.
- Learn from that mistake.
That’s all… for now.
I wish more marketers would be as responsible and responsive to their customers as McNeil has been here.