You know, even when I was a young girl I felt different. I wasn’t into the same things as a lot of the other little girls—skipping about in their little dresses and pigtails. I was a loner. I enjoyed reading and writing my own little stories; I could spend hours drawing and not even care whether I saw another human face (other than the one I’d just sketched). I always thought I was a bit of an odd-ball—not that there’s anything wrong with that! So from my somewhat unique vantage point, it’s interesting to me to see how this whole ‘Motrin’ debacle has been playing out.
I watched the commercial (on YouTube, of course). Interesting look. Somewhat condescending. But it didn’t really offend me in any particular way. I’m a mom. I had one of those front carriers (not that I used it much, to be honest). But ultimately, it’s just advertising. And, unfortunately, it seems that much of the advertising out there (traditional, in particular) that’s geared towards women is often misguided (don’t get me started on ‘feminine hygiene’ commercials, etc.). I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat there thinking “Who came up with this sh**? Who is this supposed to appeal to? Must have been a guy who did it.” And perhaps it wasn’t meant to appeal to me. Despite the “married mother of one” thing, I’m not really your typical girl. Now that I’m all grown up, I’m a little bit of goth, a pinch of heavy-metal chick, a whack of comic book geek and whole lot of moody, cynical artist, wrapped into one 5 foot, 4 and a half inch package (don’t forget the half inch!!!).
That being said, here are my 2 cents (or is it 10 cents now with inflation?) regarding the Motrin situation:
Do I think that some women have WAAAAY overreacted to a 40 something second commercial that will eventually fade away within a few months? Yes.
Do I think Motrin did the right thing in pulling the ad and apologizing? Maybe—hey, the squeaky wheel and all…
But in the end, even though I personally find the furor surrounding what I consider to be a rather innocuous, occasional amusing, sometimes “what were they thinking?” spot to be a bit knee-jerk, I believe that it’s a fascinating case study for the power of the internet.
It’s a living, breathing, evolving example of why advertisers have to listen. They can’t just assume anymore. They can’t pretend that they know their customers—that they TRULY understand where they’re coming from. And that’s why they need to start taking advantage of social media and networking. The “mad moms” are doing it…so why aren’t they? It’s time for them to get engaged, instead of sitting behind 2-way mirrors watching the artificial interactions of focus groups and assuming that all moms/women/customers are the same. They need to take advantage of what the net has to offer and develop strategies that allow them to take the pulse of the people and figure out what ails them—before they wind up choking on their own bitter pill.
Have you seen the Motrin ad? If not, check it out and let us know what you think.
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