Motrin is a US pain killer. They have posted a video ad on YouTube from the perspective of a Mom who resents having to carry a heavy infant and is looking for pain medication to cure her back problem. (Why doesn’t she just stop carrying the baby, you may ask.) This is the wrong message (too negative), and the wrong audience (nursing moms). I came across the story because it was the most linked video in Technorati. Motrin are getting a public lynching in YouTube comments. They have withdrawn the ad and apologised.
We were talking to a pharma client yesterday about the rules of online communication. They were discussing how difficult it is to put across “negative” messages, being specific about the problems drugs are supposed to address: back pain, bad breath, period pains etc. This is only an issue with “push” ads, though. Clients should be educated away from using virals to address these kinds of problems. Search is much better. Customers with young kids go to the web to search for the answers to all kinds of problems.
Motrin had a perfectly sensible idea – a Mom with a bad back might need a painkiller – but the way to communicate it was not through a viral ad. They should have created “pull” resources for young mothers, about common problems experienced by young mothers and put the information about Motrin into an FAQ. Their target audience would have found the content through Google and noted the benefits of the practical information about motherhood, as well as the association with Motrin. Positive, warm feelings would have resulted.
Not the current mass freakout by angry Moms.