It all started with a baby, a baby carrier, and Motrin. Oh, and an advertising agency who probably got their Mommy-messaging more than a little bit wrong. Twitter, the social networking software, helped fuel this uproar in a matter of hours.
 
In what is to-date among the fastest viral campaigns in consumer health — that backfired –well over a hundred of mommy blogs and countless Twitter messages expressed emotions on a continuum from outrage to insult about a new campaign targeted to Moms who carry their babies in on-the-body carriers. The ad begins, “Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion.”
 
The video ends with the promotion for these baby-carrying-mamas to buy and take Motrin for their pain. “Do moms that carry their babies cry more than those who don’t?” the young female mommy-voice asks.
 
You could view the ad on the Motrin.com website. It’s titled, “The Motrin Mom-Alogue.”
 
But this promotional project quickly went from Mom-Alogue to Di-Alogue to Viral Phenomenon. And not in a good way.
 
Among the long list of blog posts to visit, here’s one that brings a lot of the Twitter messages under one video: Motrin Makes Moms Mad, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhR-y1N6R8Q.
 
Health Populi’s Hot Points: I’m so curious to know how this promotion was pre-tested. I’m just an “N” = 1, but I can assure you that as a mom who carried my baby in a carrier (Baby Bjorn, circa 1996-7), I never got a back ache from doing so, nor did I see baby-carrying as a fashion accessory.
 
There are a lot of great reasons to take Motrin, say I, a long-time ibuprofen consumer. Young moms (and us older ones, too) get lots of headaches and backaches — especially blogging at our computers too late into the night (or in my case, too early in the am!).
 
We who work at the intersection of health and social media need to pay attention to these projects. I applaud McNeil Consumer Healthcare for trying out the video broadcast. It’s an important channel for consumers to access — and access it, Moms did! Now’s the time for learning about what worked, and what didn’t, and then bring back another, new-and-improved, transparent, and perhaps even self-deprecating or humble approach.

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