How Bad Was Motrin’s Response, Really?

November 23, 2008 at 6:00 am

motrin-ad1Well, not that bad all.

So you probably know the story. Motrin posted a video ad on the web that had an attitude. It poked a little bit of gentle fun at moms who carry their babies in slings, and said Motrin could help with any resulting back pain.

Pretty quickly, the ads provoked online outrage. The aggrieved stoked their outrage on the social networks, and pretty soon Motrin was in damage control mode.

By Sunday night, the ad was pulled. By Monday night, tons of social media commentators were tsk-tsking about what a crappy job Motrin did.

Really? Let’s look at the facts. Motrin tried something different. It used a new medium, and employed a slightly different creative approach. (It kept my attention, which says something.) When things got out of control, Motrin pulled the plug. Super-quick. No excuses. It apologized and walked away.

As we used to say in the old media world, “one-day story.” The echo chamber went quiet, leaving us communications geeks to sort it out.

So what exactly is the problem here?

motrin-apology-1Some commentators scoffed that Motrin’s apology wasn’t genuine, but I have no clue how you can tell. It seems OK to me, and anyway, authenticity is in the eye of the beholder. The follow-up message was even better.

If Motrin did screw up, it was in how it conceived and executed the ad. But once the mistake was made, its response was just fine.

P.S. Brian Solis has a good overview of the crisis communications counseling in the social media world. Keep it at your bedside. Sooner or later, you’ll need it.

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Entry filed under: public relations, social media. Tags: .

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