Was The Motrin Moms Campaign Really A Failure?

Like a lot of other folks, I felt the Motrin Mom "sling baby" campaign really missed the mark.  It was yet another example of good strategy, but poor execution.

Or was it?

In her article, Using Social Media to Listen to Consumers, Abbey Klaussen had this to say about the campaign:

Last fall, Johnson & Johnson's Motrin broke creative of a mom complaining that wearing your baby "in fashion," via a sling, can cause back and neck pain. It offended some in the social-media sphere, and an army of Twittering moms got the brand to yank the ad and issue a mea culpa on its site. But, according to a Lightspeed Research survey, almost 90% of women had never seen the ad. Once they saw it, about 45% liked the video, 41% had no feelings about it, and 15% didn't like it. Even fewer, 8%, said it negatively affected their feelings of the brand, compared with the 32% who said it made them like the brand more. Was Motrin's decision to yank the ad and apologize the right one — even if it made the problem go away?

Wow – what's going on here?  How could the Lightspeed Research survey produce such a different response from the moms in the social media hemisphere?

Not all women think alike

I would love learn more about this survey.  Where was it done, who participated, how were the questions worded?  Were the participants truly engaged? 

I'm not necessarily saying I disagree with the results.   I just wonder how you ended up with such opposing views to the same campaign. 

Some ideas on why the reactions were so different

In my work at Future Now we looked at campaigns through the eyes of the four different types.  Looking at the campaign through these four filters might shed some light.

Methodicals – These women are the keepers of the traditions, the values, the rules.  They tend to be practical and want to do what is "right." (They have very strong feelings about right and wrong.) They focus on others and abhor anything that appears selfish.  They are often caretakers. 

The ad really ticked off the Methodicals by focusing on the baby sling as a "fashion item."  Verbiage like "but what about me?"  and "it totally made me look like an official mom" really rubbed the Methodical the wrong way. 

Methodical moms feel that you wear a baby sling because it's "what's right for the child" and because it is practical.  

Humanistics– Humanistics are very relationship oriented.  They're all about inclusion, communication and connecting.  They are also very focused on authenticity since they have an unusually sensitive BS meter.  They can tell when something is authentic and when it's not.

Humanistics didn't care much for the campaign either, complaining about the "tone" of the ad.  They felt it was misleading, disrespectful, and that "instead of relating to us, you patronized us."  They also complained that it was obvious that "you didn't consult real moms when making the ad."   One final complaint was that it could make moms who don't wear their babies feel bad.  Humanistics,people pleasers that they are, wanted to send the message that if you don't want to or can't wear your baby, that's ok.  

Spontaneous – Spontaneous folks are focused on living in the moment.  They are fast-paced with a shorter attention span.   They believe in living life to the fullest, and are focused on style and self-expression.   They might actually look at a baby sling as a fashion accessory.  

I think this group liked the ad.   It was kind of fun, with lots of quick edits and graphics flashing everywhere. They tend not to read too much into situations, so they probably accepted the campaign on it's face value.

Competitive -  Competitives tend to be type A personality types. They are very driven to succeed.  They are focused on getting the best outcome possible. 

Competitives might look at the advantages of a baby sling vs. not using one, and might appreciate the logic of – if you're in pain, take action to stop it. They might respond positively to the verbiage "it totally makes me look like an official mom" since they want to make the right impression.  But that line just so reeks of insincerity, I'm not sure anyone would really buy it. (Yes, I'm a Humanistic).

Conclusion

Not all women think alike.   I think Motrin could have made some tweaks in this campaign so that they could appeal to the Spontaneous and Competitive, but also appeal to the Humanistics and Methodicals.   Some verbiage tweeks and a more authentic voice over could have made a big difference in how it was received.

There is an important lesson here – test your campaigns with a wide audience.  Make sure you're speaking to all the types.  As we saw with this campaign, if you get it right with some, but blow it with others, your whole campaign can go down the tubes.

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Marketing strategy, Persona development and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Was The Motrin Moms Campaign Really A Failure?

  1. I also agree that baby slings have been quite an aid to help those busy moms carry around their babies with ease, but Motrin did not depict the real picture for it.

  2. Yes,
    You right any aid moms carry their babies. This is best option promote any site and launch marketing to women online

  3. I think people overreacted to the Motrin campaign. I’ve been carrying my kids around in infant carriers for years. Occasionally, I’ve had some neck pain from it, because let’s face it, it will put some strain on muscles when you wear a sling sideways across your body and around your neck. But I think the trade off of being able to keep your baby close and having your arms free is worth it – and the occasionally neck or back pain from using infant carriers doesn’t last forever.

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