The Perils of an Echo Chamber

I love social media – it allows me to have interesting relationships with interesting people whom I otherwise might not know. But sometime the send/post/update key is just too easy to tap.

Case in point the recent storm around an advertisement. Motrin is a US brand of painkiller and their (formerly methinks) high paid ad agency decided on a campaign which extolled the virtues of Motrin for parents who use baby slings and in doing so get sore backs. So far so good – I mean the ad concept is kind of lame, but it makes a change from pushing pain killers for period pain I guess.

The ad, for reference and posterity’s sake is below;

It seems however a bunch of mothers (and some father no doubt) see this as an insult, an affront to their front baby wearing preference and an utterly erroneous claim.

Which is fine – they can continue to wear their kids on the front, back or otherwise. They can use another pain killer. They can stop watching the Motrin ad.

Or they can start a social media storm that involved dozens and dozens of blog posts, thousands of tweets and the requisite Facebook page.

Does anyone else out there think that perhaps this is a little over the top?

3 Comments
  • I was thinking that some people have actually said what Motrin did drove them more links and free publicity than if they had executed the Social Media campaign correctly.

    And that’s something to follow up on – will more Brand’s now suddenly “mess-up” to create firestorms that will generate them free traffic and profits, and then suddenly, clean up their act?

    I suspect some companies are plotting some sort of strategy to do the same thing Motrin did by accident – but once people catch on that they’ve been manipulated, there will be a backlash.

    Personally, the Motrin video was innocent enough – the problem came about as much because it happened on the weekend and no one was around to respond and update their landing page – but you know what …. that’s an area most companies still aren’t good at.

  • It’s not over the top to the community of moms involved – it speaks to a one of the core ‘rituals’ that identifies their ‘tribe’ (to get sociological on you).

    However, it is also an echo chamber. People outside that community go ‘so what?’ or ‘what an interesting case study I can observe objectively’ – without being emotionally involved and engaged.

  • This type of thing is not new. What is new is the ease of which one can realise that other people, too, find something offensive or whatever.

    Businesses, organisations, governments, etc. for a long time have either employed a “divide and conquer” approach to people, or at least benefited from the inertia that must be overcome to achive a critical mass of concern (or whatever).

    Seth Godin had some interesting words (briefly) on this particular situation.

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