Ok, the makers of Motrin made a mistake. They put up an advertisement that they thought was amusing and apparently sympathetic to moms who wear their babies in slings or backpacks or in front carriers, suggesting they might need pain relief after wearing their kids all day.
Ok, the ad was a stupid idea. I’ve watched it a few times and, while I’m not outraged or even very much offended, am not about to run out and buy a bottle of Motrin because of it. It’s mildly, although somewhat uncomfortably, amusing even — in a mean-spirited stand-up comedian kind of way.
Granted, I’m not a mother of young children anymore — my teenagers are too big to carry around in slings — but I was. I used backpacks and front carriers on a daily basis. Sometimes at the same time. Even while hiking in Yosemite. It was easier than carrying them and it made all of us happier. I could cook dinner or clean house and be with my infant and toddler at the same time.
But, this part of the ad was true — it was painful. The stress on my shoulders and back made the occasional pain medication necessary to get through the day. What did I take for it? I don’t remember. Maybe Motrin. Maybe Advil. Maybe Tylenol.
So, while I understand that the mommy twitterers and bloggers out there are unhappy about the advertisement, and their collective outrage made a point, continuing the outrage is overkill. The company has apologized and promised to remove the advertisement from their website immediately
(which they must be doing now because the website is inaccessible at this writing). [edited: The Motrin website is back up with apology notice.] They’ll also remove the ad from magazines and newspapers, but said it would take more time for that since they are already in circulation.
I’m hoping that the baby-wearing moms who twitter and blog and vlog out there will realize that the makers of Motrin did the right thing by apologizing and removing the offending advertisement and not demand blood from the company. Moms can be unrelenting when it comes to their kids — I know from experience on both sides — as a mom and as a former teacher.
I think, what’s going to come out of this, is not so much the satisfaction of social media savvy women with children (although hopefully that will be the case), but a deeper understanding of how important social media has become. It’s going to be a highlighted example of what social media can do.