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Motrin’s ad causes pain for some moms

Last weekend, the blogosphere was in an uproar over a viral ad posted by Motrin, the pain medicine manufacturer, on its Web site. The ad follows in the footsteps of several slightly snarky, not-really-funny ads aimed at moms Motrin has been releasing. This one in particular talked about the theory of babywearing, where moms wear their children, either in a sling or a wrap or somehow otherwise affixed to their bodies, and how it can be painful. There has to be some pain involved, after all, since the point of the ad is to increase sales of Motrin.
But the real pain came for Motrin in the form of some very angry mothers who take babywearing very seriously and weren’t happy to hear their chosen child-rearing philosophy likened to a ‘trendy’ way to make moms appear ‘official’ and give an excuse for why they may look ‘tired’ or ‘crazy.’ Those are all words lifted from the ad itself, and I have to wonder, what were those Motrin ad execs thinking?
Now, I’m not a mother, so maybe I can’t comment as fully on this as others, but I’ve been on the same side as Motrin, saying things meant to be playful and a league of moms have gotten their kicks out of cursing my name after they decided those things were inappropriate. Moms, especially that online force of mothers known as Mommy Bloggers, are easily angered and quick to action. Twitter, a Web site where users can upload sentence-long comments on any subject, had thousands of ‘tweets’ uploaded regarding MotrinMoms, those who agreed with the angry moms and a scant few who didn’t.
On the one hand, it’s a great example of something that was totally viral. The ad was online and so was the backlash; none of it ever happened in our physical world, just on the Internet (though there are print versions of the Motrin ad in magazines, I think). But that in and of itself brings up the question, if the ad had been released to television, would the reaction have been so negative? Is it because of the Internet that the mob-mentality overwrote the mom-mentality?
Because, honestly, isn’t it likely to think carrying your 10-, 15- or 20-pound child on your chest all day might cause some additional aches and pains? The ones that might be remedied by Motrin?
Overall, the moms who got their feelings hurt just needed a sense of humor. Things aren’t always as serious as we make them, and it’s inevitable that something you hold dear is going to be the source of fodder for someone else. It’s better to let things roll off our backs than cause us to stress out, tense up and constantly be on the defensive.
And if all the tension gave you a headache, take a few Advil instead to ease your pain.