Monday, November 17, 2008

#motrinmoms - will @1938media create a Jessica Gottlieb "category 0" puppet?

Last night, I joked that perhaps Motrin had an ulterior motive in providing an ad that angered the mommyblogger community:

[P]erhaps this is a brilliant strategy on Motrin's part to capture the audience who is NOT moms - namely, single men, single women, gay couples who haven't adopted, childless heterosexuals. If so, Motrin has succeeded beyond its wildest expectations.

But I'm not the only person talking about ulterior motives. When Duncan Riley wrote about the furor (furore?), I made a "the customer is always right" comment, and Duncan replied:

I don't disagree with your overall premise, but you also can't please all your customers, ever. I can't, when you find the secret recipe, share it. A couple of self promoters who are now spamming comment thread on this are driving this, not some great widespread, mainstream upswell of protest. I'm betting that Motrin will sell MORE now because of it.

Riley made a similar point in FriendFeed:

What I find amazing about the Motrin story: the woman leading the anti-[Motrin] charge is SPAMMING comments on blogs writing about it with a link to her blog (often adding her link in the comment itself on top of the natural one) I can smell a professional victim...sorry promoter a mile off

Riley then pointed his readers toward an example:

I had one baby who wanted to be carried all the time and one who didn't.

It's not about babywearing, it's about picking on women during the most vulnerable time in their lives.

If you follow the link, you end up at the post Blame Me For Motrin Moms.

If this were just Jessica Gottlieb vs. Duncan Riley, one could chalk it up to a little online disagreement. But Loren Feldman has also weighed in on the controversy, shyly suggesting a point or two.

These Motrin moms are real dopes. Just caught up on story. What's wrong with all you yenta's? Those sling things ARE retarded.

Feldman agrees with Riley that the movement, while vocal, may not be that large:

So this mommy blogger coalition, it's what, like 10/15 bored, dumpy housewives. This is a movement that matters to a brand?

And, in an interesting turn of tweets, Feldman channels Sarah Palin's pajamas comment:

@larakulpa Girls like guys like me, Im not going to get scared over a bunch of frumpy bloggers in housecoats and furry slippers.

So is this thingie a huge deal or a small-scale spammer profiteering drive? It's kind of like the recession; you won't be able to tell until some time afterwards. And once you do want to measure it, Jeremiah Owyang has come up with the way to do so. Owyang's "categorization of brand backlash storms" closely parallels something you might hear on the weather report.

Category 1: Consumer revolt and use social media tools (Twitter, Blogs, YouTube) to tell their story, the brand doesn’t flinch, and there is no mainstream media coverage. Examples: A weekly, if not a daily occurance.

Category 2: The backlash extends beyond just social media tools (Twitter, blogs, YouTube), the brand makes changes based on consumer feedback, and coverage extends to mainstream media and press. Examples: Louis Vuitton brandjacked, Exxon Mobile’s Twitter experience.

Category 3: Consumers use social media tools to spread backlash and there is considerable mentions from mainstream press. the backlash is more severe resulting in significant changes from the brand (hiring, firing, processes, policies or new teams put in place). This becomes a case study for social media books and is often discussed in social media culture. Examples: Dell Hell, Comcast Cares, Kryptonite Locks, Wholefoods CEO.

Category 4: Number three plus short term financial impacts to the brand resulting in reduction of sales, revenue, increased costs, or impact to stock price less than 30 days. Examples: Apple Stock temporarily sinks from blog rumors.

Category 5: Number three plus brand backlash from social media tools resulting in long term financial impacts to the brand including reduction in sales, revenue, increased costs, and most importantly, stock price lasting over 30 days. In the most extreme cases, it causes closure of the business or bankruptcy. Examples: None.

As of this stage, I guess the Motrin thingie is barely in the Category 2 territory. Motrin has clearly changed its practices - the website was down for several hours, there was an apology when it came back up, and Motrin has removed the ad electronically (while noting that it is still in print copies). Regarding mainstream coverage, the closest that I've seen to any mainstream coverage is a mention in a Forbes blog. Whether the universe of Motrin Moms (or alternatively, Jessica Gottlieb and a few bored, dumpy housewives) can get this to category 3 remains to be seen.


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