Seriously? Motringate? Moms, step away from the computer.
Seriously? Motringate? Moms, step away from the computer.
I guess I missed it this weekend, but apparently there was some huge fuss over a new Motrin commercial which has Mom bloggers livid. Motrin aired a new commercial, presumably this weekend when I was hiding under my rock, targeting Moms who are fans of babywearing. You know… those slings and pouches and wraps and so on. My parents had them when Francesca was still an infant. And oh, Lord, the firestorm. Before we go too far, here’s the ad that had Moms up in arms:
My. How shocking. The point of the commercial seemed quite obviously to be that babywearing makes your back hurt. Therefore, you should use Motrin. But apparently, saying things like “supposedly its a real bonding experience” is condescending and wrong. Check out some of the reaction:
Blogher: The problem with the Motrin ad wasn’t really necessarily the ad itself. I mean, yes, in its cutesyness and its attempt to sound hip, the ad missed the mark. It managed to sound both patronizing and critical of a childrearing philosophy that women feel passionate about (namely, babywearing). Was that really the big deal? Not especially, no.
… If Motrin had been listening, they’d know that women are passionate about babywearing. They’d know that there are already debates about it, support groups, that babywearing itself is a philosophy. They’d know that saying things like “supposedly” babywearing is a bonding experience and that babywearing “totally makes me look like an official mom” are not funny. They’d know that any woman who babywears would not find that commercial entertaining.
They’d also know that women hate being patronized, hate it when childrearing decisions are mocked or poked, prodded or marginalized. It’s already tough enough out there for Moms. It’s a hard job and people don’t take it seriously, instead calling Moms (and Mom-bloggers) narcissistic and hysterical and over-reactive and a thousand other unflattering names when they speak up about kid issues. Treating Moms as if their child-rearing decisions are a joke is automatically a bad idea for a company who wants to get Moms on its side, and even worse when those same Moms have been telling these companies how to approach them for years and companies so obviously can’t be bothered to pay attention.
Alpha Mom: Motrin’s commercial fell flat on many levels, but perhaps the most egregious was equating babywearing to a fashion, albeit, painful statement. Akin to wearing stilettos. I am so tired of babies being equated to accessories. The mainstream media (which is generally out of touch) is forever doing this. ANY implication is just downright insulting. Yes, there is a baby boom happening in this country but it has nothing to do with Brangelina. Parents are not having babies because it’s fashionable. It’s because Gen Y is a much larger generation than Gen X. Do the math.
Moreover, I remember back when I first launched Alpha Mom, just a few years ago, babywearing was not as ubiquitous as it is today. In fact, babywearing was seen as an “alternative” parenting style (and not always portrayed positively) as opposed to today when it’s just another common and practical decision most moms make. Kind of like, am I going to use Motrin or Tylenol to reduce fever? So, when Motrin comes out and says that babywearing causes back pain? Ooooh, that’s not only wrong, but also re-opening a sore spot.
Karoli: Here’s the thing: These moms are pissed, and they’re pissed because it was a stupid ad that obviously wasn’t run by anyone they hoped to target. Further, these are smart, savvy, network-connected moms who understand exactly what voice they have, particularly as consumers.
To quote Jessica again, they’re using their “outside voices”. And they mean it.
Had the folks who created this ill-conceived PR campaign thought for half a second, or had a clue about how Twitter works, they would already have been reaching out to the community, asking about how they handled pain, how they did it while nursing, what they most loved about being new moms, what they most wished could be different, what tools they wanted but don’t currently have.
Instead, these geniuses launched a program to run on National Babywearing Week (I kid you not), designed and created to be insulting and derisive to the people they want to reach with their product.
Jessica Gottlieb: I’m not in marketing and I don’t have an MBA. I’ve got two kids and and an outside voice. Is this for real? Are marketing folks that dumb?
I’m also aware that Motrin is a brand and not an actual product, the product is ibuprofen and with the horrible economy, generic might be a better choice.
I am deeply and profoundly offended. My kids are big, I no longer wear them so Motrin (Johnson and Johnson) didn’t hurt my feelings specifically but they broke the #1 rule of comedy and satire.
Don’t pick on the weak.
New mothers are fragile. Motrin has proven, irrevocably that they don’t understand that Mothers are the ones in the grocery stores. Mothers clip coupons and build brands with discussion. Mothers get together and uplift one another.
So when you pick on a few new mommies, you get all of us.
The #MotrinMoms of Twitter will never buy Motrin again. Babywearing is best for baby and companies that support our babies get our dollars.
And then there’s the Twittering Moms. And when I was reading all of this, I couldn’t help but think, seriously? Are we really this pathetic and humorless?
I know, I know. I’m not a mom. I’ll get at least one e-mail from someone saying, YOU DON’T HAVE KIDS! YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND! And maybe I don’t. I don’t know, but I don’t think that as soon as you become a mother you become a humorless bore who gets this riled up over a freaking Motrin commercial. Most of the new moms I know with infants on their hands have better things to do with their time than bombard Twitter with shrieking outrage over a commercial.
Oh, but it’s condescending! Babywearing isn’t a fad! It’s a necessity!
Um, yes it is. This is entirely new. My parents didn’t carry me around in a sling, and neither did their parents. I’m not saying that babywearing is bad or wrong, or that it was never done before in the history of mankind, but it is something that has become newly fashionable and has taken the nation by storm. And it’s insulting to say that because… ? What? It’s bad to say that babywearing is trendy? Why? And look, I’m not saying that babywearing is bad in the least. I’ve seen firsthand how great it was for my mom to be able to go grocery shopping while babywearing as opposed to having to lug the baby around. I know that it’s convenient. I don’t know about the whole bonding experience thing, but I’m not going to begrudge it from anyone. I know that Francesca greatly enjoyed chewing on the front of it, but I didn’t see any increase or decrease in her regular crying levels. The point is, saying that babywearing is a fad does not mean that it’s suddenly a horrible, awful thing to do. Why so defensive, Mommy Bloggers? Is it because, as one blogger put it, new mommies are fragile?
And on top of that, yes, babywearing does hurt. I’ve worn the harness contraption thing, as have my parents. And it definitely caused back pain, albeit more for them than for me. A lot of the responses seemed to be along the lines of, “Babywearing didn’t hurt me, so if it hurts your back, you’re doing it wrong.” When I read those, I wanted to add on a petulant, SO THERE!. I could visualize a childish sticking-out-of-the-tongue accompanying a lot of those statements, too. Seriously, because babywearing doesn’t hurt your back, it must not hurt any mother’s back? That is just ludicrous.
The point of the ad was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek video that empathized with babywearing moms who loved carrying their babies but didn’t love the back pain — so use our product, and you can keep babywearing without the pain.
Bottom line, this whole controversy did not make me angry at Motrin. It made me think that the moms freaking out over this were people that needed to get a life. They don’t like being called narcissistic and hysterical, then maybe they should stop acting so narcissistic and hysterical. Do none of these moms who are so angry not see even the slightest overreaction here? I mean, good Lord — is it really that vital that you spend this much of your time protesting a freaking pain reliever commercial? It frankly makes the moms who are up-in-arms about this look kind of pathetic, in my opinion. Seriously, you’ve got nothing better to worry about than how condescending Motrin was or was not? Regardless of how stupid the ad is or is not (I’m not going to argue that it was brilliant, because it wasn’t), is there any point in getting so riled up? Honestly. Take a deep breath. Step away from the computer. And realize that you can do whatever the hell you want and Motrin will not care. And no one else will, either. Live your life and forget about some stupid ad. If this is the worst thing you can get outraged about, then consider yourself blessed and stop bitching.