Thursday, November 20, 2008

Was Motrin’s Baby Wearing Ad a Failure?

Last week, Johnson & Johnson’s video ad for Motrin caused a lot of uproar in the media. There were a few moms, dads and media upset with this ad and voiced their opinions on blogs, twitter and other social media. But there were also many who voiced their opinion on the social media and said they did not see any issue with the ad. It was amazing to see how the negative voice of few people carried such a huge weight (as it does most of the time) that Motrin was forced to remove the ad and post an apology on the home page of

So should we say that this ad was a failure? It sure does seem like it, doesn’t it?
However, in my opinion, there are several ways to look at it. Let’s look at various KPIs and see if the Motrin ad was a success or failure.

  1. Number of Video Views – I think this was huge, way more than Motrin or their agency ever imagined. If Motrin calculates the percentage increase in actual v/s anticipated video views of this Ad then I am pretty sure they will find it that this ad was a huge success. (Related Post, Video Analytics)

  2. Buzz created – Huge. A lot of buzz was created. The blogosphere, Twitter, Social Media, TV, Newspapers - everybody was talking about it. Honestly, I never even considered Motrin when I was looking for pain killers, but now I know it is another option made by Johnson and Johnson. Also, some people have told me why Motrin might be better than the other pain killers I have been taking.

  3. Buzz Sentiment – Yes, there was a lot of negative press about this ad that forced the ad out (there were a lot of positive sentiments as well) . I am not sure if opinions about an ad from Motrin would really impact Motrin’s brand image that much. A lot of people I talked to did not view this ad negatively, but also did not voice their opinion in any social media so their sentiments were not taken into account. Yes, all sentiment measures will show an issue, but is there really an issue with the product or was the issue just with an ad? If you just look at the buzz sentiment in isolation then this ad appears as a failure.

  4. Brand Awareness – A lot of people, like me, who never even considered the Motrin brand before, became aware of it. I think this is a huge positive.

  5. Change in visits to the site from pre-video launch- I am sure it was a great success. I am sure a lot of people went to the site to see what all the fuss was about and to read the apology by Motrin. The apology got the blogosphere and social media world buzzing again driving even more traffic to Motrin’s site.

  6. Change in Motrin Sales – This will really tell us if the ad and this backlash had any negative (or positive) impact in Motrin or not. As I asked above, was the backlash against Motrin, or just against the ad? If it was the ad then they apologized and took the ad away. The product “Motrin” did not have any negatives attached to it. As mentioned above, a lot of people might have to gone to the site. If you look on Motrin’s site there is a link on the top called “Special Offers”. You click on that link and get a coupon with the option to forward the page to a friend. I am sure that this increase in traffic would have resulted in an increase in coupons being printed and forwarded to a friend. This in return will possibly drive more sales. This seems like a success for Motrin.

In the future when Motrin comes up with a new ad they’re automatically going to get some additional coverage. I think that also makes the Baby Wearing ad a success. Free publicity; what more can you ask for?

So what do you think was it a success or a failure?

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Technical Consultant for Internet Marketing and Web Analytics at Unica (Waltham, MA)<