TV Crush

Sunday TwitterStorm: Babywearing Parents Slam Johnson & Johnson

11/16/2008 9:05 AM

The nano-second spread of information on Twitter is scary fast.  The latest: babywearing Moms (which is millions of Moms around the world who cart their babies in harnesses, as commonplace as breastfeeding) are infuriated by the latest Motrin ad titled "We Feel Your Pain."

The controversy erupted on Twitter over the weekend.  Motrin is a Johnson & Johnson product - which is a good thing, since J & J executives may need a hefty supply of it in order to cope with their Monday morning public relations headache.

The ad expresses sympathy for all the back pain and exhaustion caused by babywearing, and encourages Moms to cope by gulping Motrin.

Except that Moms have been wearing their babies for centuries.

Click here for the ad…Moms are right.  The ad is condescending and probably inaccurate.  Worse, the ad takes a snide swipe at mothers who carry their babies by implying they do so because it’s trendy.

ETA: the ad was just pulled.  Kathy Widmer (VP of Marketing - Pain, Pediatrics, GI, Specialty) emailed a blogger named crunchydomesticgoddess to say: "…Please know that we take your feedback seriously and will take swift action with regard to this ad…"

Here’s a snippet of text from the ad:

"In theory, it’s a great idea…Supposedly, it’s a real bonding experience….these things put a ton of strain on your back and shoulders…plus it totally makes me look like an official mom…"

Ouch.

A blogger named MamaDivas has the full transcript and links to other blogs.

It’s unclear to me exactly when this ad was unveiled.  It appears to be quite recent.  Ironically, this week is also...International Babywearing Week.

Bloggers say that Taxi, a Canadian boutique agency with offices in New York, may be responsible for the big misstep.

Moms say the ad is offensive, misinformed and patronizing, and "exploits new mother insecurities."  And they organized.  Instantly.  Ferociously. Mercilessly.  On Twitter.  Then, someone named Katja Presnal created this Youtube vid capture of Twitter upset.

ETA:  Ad Age also covered the story, on Nov. 17.  Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder and chief operating officer of BlogHer, called the incident an "incredibly impressive display of the power of social media."

September