The Motrin Moms Backlash by the Numbers

If you weren’t following what was happening online this weekend (yes, yes, ok you’ve got a life) there was a Groundswell against Motrin’s latest viral advertisement that was rejected by mothers in Twitter, spread to blogs, and YouTube. I’m not a mom, so at first glance I didn’t understand the offense, but apparently, it was condescending to moms who perceived wearing babies in a sling as ‘fashionable’ accessory, and who didn’t wanted to be labeled as an ‘official mom’. The original video, which was trying to lean on the light side, took to many generalizations with mothers and resulted in a revolt capped by this backlash video.

To learn more about the story, read Laura Fitton’s summary, Dave Knox of P&G is taking note, has made it to the NY Times Parenting Blog, and the VP of Marketing representing Motrin has apparently responded (I can’t confirm this). Update: Motrin has now apologized on their site (see screenshot below) and there’s MSM pickup by Scientific American and Computerworld (of all places)

As much as I’m interested in what folks are saying, allow me to provide an aspect that most others aren’t: short term numerical numbers. (it’s the analyst in me)

The Motrin Moms Backlash by the Numbers
I watch the twitter storm start on Saturday (thanks zsazsa), and watched it carry on through the weekend, I’ve taken snapshots of various analytics and social media tools now on Monday morning.

Motrin gets bump in mentions
Above Screentshot: Twitter stats indicate bump in mentions of “motrin” and “motrinmoms”

Twitscoops shows mentions for "motrin"
Above Screentshot: Twitscoop’s Twitter Analytics shows peak for “motrin” notice there’s no mention before the ad.

Motrin Moms shows peak during weekend in Twitter
Above Screentshot: Twitscoop’s Twitter Analytics shows peak for “motrinmoms”

Over 6000 views on Motrin Mom Video
Above Screentshot: 6,000 views on Youtube Video: Motrin Ad Makes Moms Mad

Search results in YouTube for "Motrin"
Above Screentshot: As a result, 3rd result for “Motrin” in Youtube is to the mother video

Motrin tagged on Delicious
Above Screentshot: Although there are only a few tags for “motrin” on delicious, most point to brand backlash is down
Above Screentshot: The website is down, likely they are removing the ad and reverting to a previous website

Google Results "Motrin moms"
Above Screentshot: Google search results for “Motrin Mother” (I found an adjacent term to measure the impacts) are mainly to brand backlash

Motrin SERP not impacted by blog storm
Above Screentshot: Brand backlash has not impacted Google search results for “motrin”

Update: Nov 20th, It’s finally hit the search results pages of google for “Motrin”, the 9th link down is to the NYT times blog.

Above Screenshot: The site is back up on Monday 11am PST, after being down for a few hours, with the public apology –which I think is handled well

Conclusion: It’s not as bad as it looks…yet
In summary, there were some major blips in social networking tools like Twitter, (it was the top trending topic over the weekend, meaning many saw it that weren’t directly involved) however it’s not likely to cause enough of impact search engine results for “motrin”, be a mainstream press story, or cause damage to stock price.

Overtime, these search results may fade away, depending on how Motrin reacts, and how mothers decide to press the situation.

Although brand backlash certainly wasn’t intention, I’m sure that some at advertising firm who created the campaign will chalk this up as a success (it got influencers talking about the brand –who previously weren’t), although the PR group certainly has been dealing with this firestorm all weekend.

Lessons Learned

  • Always test your campaign with a small segment first
  • Always have staff on hand to be prepared to respond during the weekend
  • Don’t launch a campaign right before the weekend unless you’re prepared to respond
  • The participants have the power, so participate
  • For better or for worse, more influencers are talking about Motrin than ever before
  • I’d love to hear your comments on the fiasco, what short term and long term impacts does this have to the brand? Update: more stats from Freshtakes