Whenever I counsel clients about the use of social media, I always advise they speak to their target audience and figure out what messaging (and channel) would appeal to them.
I’m not sure if the manufacturer of Motrin followed that advice, but judging by the enormous backlash the company is facing over it’s new Motrin “Mom-Alogue” video, I suspect they didn’t speak to a single mother (at least, they didn’t speak to any that use Twitter).
Taking a look at the negative Twitter conversations surrounding #motrinmom demonstrates that Motrin is, in just a few short hours, facing a huge reputation disaster–initiated by the very audience Motrin hoped to target, “Mama Bloggers.”
Just look how fast this online reputation crisis came to a boil:
Now, it’s possible that there are many mothers that find the ad to be fun and light-hearted, but they’re the vocal minority–heavily out-voiced by those that took offense at the video.
What should Motrin do now? Perhaps follow my 3 steps for apologizing: be sincere, be transparent, and be consistent. Motrin needs to quickly apologize–before this reaches the mainstream media–and then do some damage control–perhaps find the most vocal detractors and bring them on board to quickly story-board an alternative video.
What can the rest of us learn from this? Never assume you know your target audience. Never assume that just because you’ve created something “viral” that the sentiment will always be positive. And, always build your social media campaign with some input from those who represent ALL your target audience.
(Thanks to NextInstinct for the tip)