It’s the weekend so a large company is going to get trashed on Twitter for a social media gaff. This week’s winner is Motrin.
Katja Presnal has a great summary (and the video that caused the uproar) on her blog and Mashable has a post by Sarah Evans giving some additional commentary on what went on but let me give you the short sentence version.
PR-advertising agency Taxi NYC made a site-promotion for Motrin targeted at mom’s who “wear” their babies (that is using a sling, snugglie, etc) that used a video clip that came off dismissive and patronizing at the same time. Twitter exploded with commentary last night, and it’s still going on today (check out this Twitter search for “motrinmoms”). Commentary is the polite way of saying “had their ass handed to them” because whoa I would not want to be the account manager for Motrin right now. Like Katja tweeted today:
“Motrin will take a lesser hit than their PR agency” by @skydiver
8 minutes ago from web
Yes, McNeil hired Taxi NYC for the campaign, and they signed off on it (they had to and agency can’t blow their nose without three levels of regulatory approval when doing a pharma project), but I don’t place the place on the Motrin product managers. They don’t have time to figure all this stuff out, that’s what an agency is for. Yes, gut feel is important. Yes, I’ve seen projects get tanked by PMs because it was too close to the edge, but I think the blame rests firmly on Taxi for this one.
While this isn’t a social media campaign per se it became one as soon as it lit the Twitter-verse on fire. So where is Taxi in all this? There is a MotrinMoms Twitter account but as far as I can see they aren’t clued into the conversation about the campaign. There is no discussion with the thought leaders who are tweeting and writing about. The tweets are just, I don’t have a word for how bad, like fiddling while Rome burns.
There are so many great lessons here that I know I won’t catch them all, but here’s a good go at them:
- If you are the product manager at a company it’s time to have some basic education about social media
- When hiring an agency their social media savvy is a must check- must have.
- Agencies, you must be on point and monitoring the social media world from the moment a campaign goes live. You have to be read for anything
- If things are starting to go off the rails, reach out. Find the players and influencers and connect with them one-on-one. If they are big enough to have influence, they will be easy to find and contact.
- Agencies, if you don’t have social media specialists (or at least experts) on staff, time to hire some. Yesterday.
Dave Knox echoes these points in his post: “Congratulations Motrin. You just proved why every brand needs to understand Social Media ” and reminds me of Brian Solis’ post on crisis communications (which I can’t find at the moment). You can’t be blissfully ignorant of social media anymore. Brand managers, product mangers, agencies, you all need to step up and get a handle on the world of social media and how you work within it.
Go to a conference, check out a Third Tuesday, heck hire a social media consultant for a day or two for workshops (I’m available), because if you don’t you’re going to have a Monday like the folks at Taxi NYC and the Motrin brand team are going to have. Yeah they’re going to need some Motrin tomorrow.
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