I watched the first shot across the bow from JessicaKnows, one of the twitterers I follow, and I watched the fury grow from there. Soon I checked out the hub-bub, and while I didn't see why the video was that bad, I certainly understood the reaction. Duh.
Yes, I'm late blogging on this, I figured I would wait for the dust to settle a little and see if I have any insights combing through the rubble. Whenever I see good or bad marketing attempts, I like to try and dig into the deep, root cause on why marketing is successful or fails.
I've read a lot of the reaction on this, and much of it centers on the "baby carrier" and "official mom" specifics. But there's a deeper learning here, one that I haven't seen made mention of yet:
Don't trivialize mom or the job she does
It's not just baby-carrying moms that were upset (and no, not all moms were upset), it was a broad section of moms that felt trivialized and talked down to. This is where Motrin failed. And it is such a fundamental principle. I've been at social gatherings with moms in the room, and believe me, we husbands of moms know when to start slowly backing out of the room with our beer and take cover.
The ad looked like something a few 20-somethings put together, with a voiceover from a 20-something that didn't sound old enough to be a mom, with an attitude that came off as condescending. Ouch, a no-no for the most important customer segment out there.
When I was at Whirlpool, we had a saying that guided our innovation: Mom is a tough customer. Amen to that. It kept us focused that we would never be able to pull the wool over our customer's eyes, and forced us to maintain a high bar on our innovation projects.
Don't guess what your target segment's needs and attitudes are, engage them and find out.