For everyone that missed the excitement: Motrin, a staid J&J brand, had a social media campaign blow up in their faces last weekend. They posted an online video, aimed at mothers with young children, that was perceived by some ‘Mommy Bloggers’ as condescending and preachy.Ã¢â‚¬Â A firestorm rapidly ensued on Twitter, video parodies appeared on Facebook, and the social media cognoscenti emerged to offer their counsel to the surprised brand managers. Motrin, to their credit, reacted quickly, pulling the advertisement and issuing an apology within 48 hours.
To borrow a phrase from State Farm’s ad campaign:Ã¢â‚¬Â Now what ?
Counterintuitively, Motrin is in a great position for its next foray into the social media conversation. The outpouring of customer opinion, albeit negative, has been a fire-hose of feedback on the Motrin product and brand. This feedback can be a valuable resource for Motrin when constructing their social media engagement.
Motrin has the opportunity to use this episode and its unsightly residue in the blogosphere to learn three things that will help their future social media efforts
1. What were people’s initial perceptions of product or brand?
This incident probably generated more text from consumers about Motrin than has been written in the last five years.Ã¢â‚¬Â The insight mined from these comments can be used to help steer future product innovations or marketing planning .
2. Who are the key influencers in the social network?
Knowing how opinions spread, the key channels, and the node influencers, will help Motrin avoid future problems. By understanding whom they might reach out to and give them a roadmap to spread desirable messaging.
3. How long will the damage last?
Motrin will learn how badly this incident has tarnished their brand, if at all. (Personally, I view this as a case of ‘any publicity is good publicity’). Motrin has found itself with a naturally-occuring case study for gauging the ROI of social media investments.. This lesson can help them weigh the benefits of social media marketing, as well as understand the pitfalls.