Motrin’s Misfire: Women up in Arms


Motrin's Homepage Apology

The marketing nightmare for Motrin this weekend could possibly serve as a summary lesson of things I have been discussing on the She-conomy blog for months. It is a perfect case study of what not to do.

To review:

  • Know the power of the female market
  • Listen to the female market
  • Understand the female market
  • Connect to the female market (if you don’t know how, find a woman who can)
  • Know the power of social marketing
  • Find out where your female market is online
  • Understand the many options including Blogs, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
  • And most importantly, know how YOUR female market will respond to YOU online.

Unfortunately, Motrin found they had forgotten these points the hard way. But the value of a case study is the ability to review how our theories play out in application. Within 48 hours Motin’s online video campaign created such an avalanche of negative tweets it was pulled and apologized for due to the outcry of thousands of very angry and offended moms over a very busy Twitter network.

Their biggest mistakes? The same ones I have discussed here. These are ads written by men, who don’t understand women and positioned by marketers who underestimate the power of social networking.

As I have surfed the Internet and found a gargantuan amount of blogs, tweets and articles about this debacle over the last 48 hours, I am amused to read the ones who think this is all about nothing. Not surprisingly, the few of these that do exist have primarily been written by men. Even with such an incredible outcry, that Motrin felt inclined to apologize as well as pull hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of advertising, there are still men arguing that women should have a sense of humor.

But you decide. Watch the spot below. Then, ask yourself the following questions:

Do you feel it connects with women?

Would you have approved it?

Do you feel it has all been blown out of proportion?

Do you feel Motrin buckled to pressure unnecessarily?

Would you appreciate this humor from your ad agency?

Do you think Twitter is silly?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you may want to go back and review some my previous  posts on She-conomy. The purpose of this blog is to help make you aware of the power of women as purchasers and networkers as well as enlighten you on the importance of connecting with them appropriately. The more knowledgeable you are in these areas, the less likely you will experience the PR crisis that Motrin’s marketing has irresponsibly bestowed upon its own brand.

So, to summarize – it does not matter how women “should” react, it is all about knowing how they “will” react.

In just three days there have been thousands of blog posts and articles out there on this topic, but a few that I feel would be helpful for you to review are:


Stephanie Holland is President and Executive Creative Director for Holland + Holland Advertising, Birmingham, Alabama. Working in an industry that is dominated by men, she is one of only 3% of the female creative directors in the country. Stephanie works mostly with male advertisers, helping them successfully market to women. Subscribe to She-conomy by Email

8 Responses to “Motrin’s Misfire: Women up in Arms”

  1. […] LOVE to network using the likes of Facebook and Twitter, among others.  Let’s not forget Motrin’s recent fiasco. To summarize, social media is an excellent opportunity to be innovative in reaching women and […]

  2. […] Keep in mind, this is now a two-way conversation. We have gone from monologue to dialog. And if you simply feed the Internet with your hyperbole, women will eat you alive. […]

  3. […] social media only compounds this. If you screw up, admit it and move on. And DON’T be like Motrin, who shockingly took 18 hours to respond to the flurry of negative Twitter activity it sparked by a […]

  4. […] social media only compounds this. If you screw up, admit it and move on. And DON’T be like Motrin, who shockingly took 18 hours to respond to the flurry of negative Twitter activity it sparked by […]

  5. […] Gone are the days of you telling the consumer what they need. They are telling you. Just ask Motrin or […]

  6. […] want to be insulted. A good example of how to do this in the wrong way would be Della (Dell) and Motrin. I have to say that Dell quickly made changes to their site based on the immediate responses of […]

  7. This is just the type of trype that companies are allowing to get put out there in the market cause they’ve let go of their more seasoned professionals and turned their creative over to 20 somethings who only remember how to be snarky (college days)…..and think its cute.

    Reminds me of some of the customer service I’ve been running into lately.

  8. I really like and appreciate your article.Really thank you! Really Cool.

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