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At first glance I thought this ad was fairly humorous -- but then again, I'm not the kind of woman this ad is targeting. If I were, however, I'd scoff at Motrin's lack of insight (and obvious lack of research) on its target. Berating the ridiculousness and "trendiness" of something your target enjoys, and then pushing your product? Whoops. That said, I like the construction of the ad, and I'm sure there's a way it could have been a hit -- maybe by basing the humor/commonality of experience references to something your target actually responds positively to, for a start. I guess the answer to all stratcom questions really is research.


Motrin should have made some more research before approving the ad. By the way, i saw an article about out-of-home marketers using tray tables on planes, resorts or cruise ships. These venues, once largely ad free, are becoming the specialty of a growing number of marketing communications agencies like Brand Connections. Here's the link http://adage.com/video/article?article_id=132580


I think the ad did a great job of pulling the viewer in. The creativity in the design of the ad is definitely something that is aesthetically pleasing for viewers. Even if the viewer is a woman without a child it peeks their interest and thus they continue to watch. So maybe they could have done more research, but many women suffer from back pain with or without carrying a child.

Michael Slawin

Great post--the lesson really is to use focus groups....or at least ask a few women!

http://she-conomy.com/ is the blog of an Alabama based agency (full-disclosure: I have no relationship with these fine folks other then we follow each other on Twitter--I'm just a big fan!), that blogged about the Motrin-Mess on Nov 18. They also point out that 85% of all brand purchases are made by women and but only 3% of creative diretors are women.

Seems strange-seems sexist AND seems bad for biz.

Leah Thrasher

Motrin certainly did not conduct proper research. I think the two biggest problems with the campaign was not identifying with the target audience, and not properly identifying the source of mothers' pains. The social media attack on Motrin primarily highlighted the lack of connection with the target audience. The ad's tone was much too casual and almost patronizing. Many new mothers do not respond well to sarcasm.

I liked your presentation of the facts and the links to relevant stories. I think you should definitely check out the following parody and consider adding it to the blog:


The video is made in the same format as the Motrin commercial, but with a comical twist.

Thank you for your blog. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


We talked about this ad the other day in one of my journalism classes. From what I am told Motrin did do focus groups and research. The people all responded the same, that it was the way that a lot of moms felt but did not want to admit that it was how they felt. It started out on one Twitter that a women was so upset about the ad and got a lot of other women upset about it as well. Motrin should have responded in the same way through a Twitter or a blog and deafened the ad instead of pulling it right away. I am a woman, still in college so not their target audience, but I still did not find the ad overly offensive. Was it a good ad? probably not. But was it a terrible add that deserves this much commotion? definitely not.

Lauren M

We learned in our journalism classes that the number one most important thing to do when you are working on an advertisement is research! I don't necessarily think that they did a terrible job with the research because it is true that moms have back pains. A common cause could clearly be that by holding their children, they have more back pain. We live in a creative world where consumers are wanting to see things that are more creative than just a regular commercial. I think that's what Motrin was trying to do by this ad. Maybe it wasn't the smartest idea, but I don't think that it was terrible.


It seems like an easy mistake to make honestly. When I watched the ad the first time i couldn't find the problem. in retrospect, however, it seems much more obvious. It makes sense that moms would be offended that the ad implies that they are "wearing" their kids just because its in fashion. The as could have been executed much better.


It seems like an easy mistake to make honestly. When I watched the ad the first time i couldn't find the problem. in retrospect, however, it seems much more obvious. It makes sense that moms would be offended that the ad implies that they are "wearing" their kids just because its in fashion. The as could have been executed much better.

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