I gave a workshop this weekend on blogging and social media, and this inevitable question was asked: ‘how does social media work?’ It’s a great question. I only wish it had been asked today instead because while I had several, perfectly good examples/answers at the ready, this weekend offered up the ultimate case study.
At some point on Saturday, a woman saw an add for Motrin. And it pissed her off. You can watch it below – but the gist is that they mock babywearing as a passing fad that ‘supposedly’ helps you bond with your baby and they belittle the mom experience.
In fact, babywearing is an age-old practice that:
- promotes the baby’s health and well-being,
- (and the mother’s because she can have a life and move while still maintaining contact with her child),
- supports and energizes all life systems (neurological, respiratory, digestive, etc.),
- helps develop strong trunk and leg muscles (babyworn babies stand and walk earlier),
- stimulates the brain with real life learning as the view and activities change consistently as opposed to staring at the mobile attached to a car seat or playset,
- encourages independence by establishing a sense of trust and safety (being close to mom) during the totally dependent months
…I could go on for days, but this isn’t my point. And yes, I wore both of my babies. Here’s the ad:
And, here’s how social media worked – in both big and small ways:
- Word spread like wild fire through Twitter, a group was organized with the hashtag ‘#motrinmoms’ (On Twitter, hashtags are identifying tags making tweets searchable and findable).
- An onslaught of complaints hit the Motrin site.
- Many blog posts were written across the blogosphere (like this one) bringing attention to what was done wrong (and sometimes going against the women upset with Motrin because everyone gets a voice).
- Because of the discussions, a countless number of new connections were made – people found new contacts on Twitter, readers found new favorite blogs and these sparks will undoubtedly roll into hookups on other social networks.
- The case against Motrin took to social bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious and Stumble – spreading the word even further.
- The case against Motrin took to the social media sites when the ad appeared on YouTube and blogs.
- Motrin took the ad down within 6 hours. (Now it only lives on YouTube and blogs).
- Motrin took it’s entire website offline (as of Sunday night, still down at the time this went to ‘press’).
- Moms who complained to Motrin directly received emails from the marketing company in charge of this campaign with an ‘we meant no harm’ apology.
- A Motrin boycott was launched.
- PR professionals, such as Sarah Evans and Peter Shankman are rolling out smart plans for Motrin to come out of this alive – other companies would be smart to take note of these plans and USE them to avoid the same fiasco. The fallout for people like Sarah Evans and Peter Shankman to get work from their insights are high.
- Personally, my conversations and tweets about the #motrinmoms with people on Twitter have led me to multiple exciting contacts (including one with a magazine I’ve always wanted to write for), interactions that will benefit some of my clients and some follows from some folks on Twitter that I deeply admire.
- What happened is, I’m sure, being replicated over and over and over.
- As this story gets picked up, I can only imagine that it will bring a broader understanding and acknowledgment of social media and it’s potential to bring change, or at least shake things up.
- Increased awareness of babywearing and why proper fit and position is critical to avoiding motrin and mom tears.
- Backlash…just wait…especially when women speaking out are involved, it always rears its ugly head.
One situation, huge results and effects -that’s how social media works.
I’m positive there were more results than I could possibly know…feel free to use your imagination and add your thoughts in the comments below (and play nice, of course).
Update: Motrin’s mis-step makes a perfect reminder: * It’s still International Babywearing Week (Nov. 12-18). * There are still needy mamas out there who don’t have slings to help them hold their babies close. If you felt Motrin’s misdirected ad was worthy taking the time to complain about, don’t forget to take a positive step, as well: donate a sling to a needy family.