As told by Ad Age, here is a fascinating account of the brouhaha over a recent — now deceased — advertising campaign for Motrin, the painkiller. It’s left some executives at Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit consuming a lot of their own medicine!

The ads were an attempt by Motrin to connect and show empathy with moms … but some moms were instead insulted and incensed. And a backlash that ignited via blogs and Twitter on last Friday caused J&J to pull down the campaign by the next Monday! That’s quite a result.

Here’s the apology they posted on the front page of the Motrin website


But it’s not easy to "pull" an ad campaign these days. Try googling "Motrin" and you’ll see how much backlash was triggered … and still lingers!

To see what the fuss was about, go to the Ad Age piece to view the online video ad, which is accompanied by a print ad campaign. What’s your reaction?

This episode provides a great case study for issue advocacy of the future. If the right hot button gets hit, in an age of amazingly powerful and infectious social media, watch out!


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