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November 19, 2008


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David Alston

Hey there Paul,

Great post and thanks for referencing mine. I definitely agree with you - it is awfully similar to the early .com URL rush. Of course the other option would be to do what we do, Dell does, Zappos does etc...unmask the brand and bring the names behind the scenes forward as the many Twitter handles. MotrinSally and MotrinBeth etc... would be my choice after have had a chance to rethink my earlier post.

Great idea with the contest. Hope I win, I love to read about wine without all of the headaches (tho I know Gary would say that's exactly what his book was intended to do completely on its own :)

Cheers. David

Paul Chaney

Thanks David. Glad to see you were listening. :)

Beth Harte

Paul, here's what I am struggling with...this was not a social media campaign. This was a traditional campaign that has been running since September 30th. "Listening" in this sense is watching click-thrus, seeing when traffic spikes on their website, monitoring for an increase in sales at the local Walgreens, etc.

I don't agree that McNeil has egg on their face at all. And I am disappointed that they pulled the ad campaign that was most likely well-researched with their typical market and, apparently, WAS acceptable AND working with their market for SIX weeks.

The voice of a few mommy bloggers that have tools at their disposal to make noise doesn't justify this as a bad campaign or Motrin not listening to their market.

Now, all that said, I believe all companies should be "listening" and in engaging in conversation with their customers/prospects/investors/employees/etc., but the fact of the matter is most are not there yet. And, most moms are NOT on Twitter. We need to help companies like J&J get on board, but not by beating them up. Let's be critical, constructive and helpful.

As for their typical market, I think my sister-in-law is it. She is a mom of three young ones and lost her cell phone at Halloween. Guess what? She could care less. She is too busy. Her biggest thrill? Being able to share pictures of her kids taken with digital camera, uploaded to Shutterfly and then shared with a link via a Yahoo! e-mail. That is NEW technology to her and I can tell you, she is not expanding much past those tools. (She thinks I am a complete lunatic for being online all the time & having a BlackBerry, if that gives you any indication.)

Thanks for letting me share my views Paul, it's much appreciated.

Paul Chaney

Beth, more than happy to accommodate your thoughts. You think like and speak from the standpoint of a true marketing professional. And I'm sure you're right in that McNeil did their typical market research with their typical market. That's the problem, things aren't "typical" any longer. The pile of pooh J&J inadvertently stepped in is just another example.

I like what Shel Holtz said in his comment on Cathy Taylor's Social Media Insider post on the subject: "Build or tap into a community that mirrors your target market and test the ad with them. If McNeil had had a mommy community — a closed one that was set up for them by companies like LiveWorld or an open one in which McNeil participated — they could have shown the ad (or storyboards) and asked for feedback before proceeding."

Personally, I'd love to hear Motrin's story from the horses mouth.

Long story short, in my naive view of things, brands have no choice but to do what Shel and David Alston said. What's typical has to be thrown out the window.

Beth Harte

"You think like and speak from the standpoint of a true marketing professional."

Well...I am. LOL! :) And, please don't say that like it's a disease that eats the brain. Heh.

I agree, companies need to understand that things are no longer typical. Because they are not. You know me and know that I am 10000% behind that. But, I still say that we cannot berate J&J for the opinions of a small, vocal minority.

If I rounded up 100 moms right off the street and said "Twitter, Motrin, Social Media." What do you think their reaction would be? Do you think they'd say "Ah, yes, the J&J debacle!" or do you think they'd say "What is Twitter?" I am going with the latter.

My point is that our typical (social media) is not J&J's typical (traditional). Just not yet...but we are getting there and this will help J&J to recognize the importance of conversation.

For now, they are a Fortune 500 company with TONS o' lawyers and stock holders. We need to be patient.

Paul Chaney

"a disease that eats the brain." No, that's what social media marketing is. :-)

Patience is a virtue but not a luxury these companies can afford IMO. People are holding companies to much higher levels of accountability and, as we saw in this instance, it doesn't take long to set off a firestorm of controversy.

The answer...do what David Alston and Shel Holtz suggested. There's no reason for the J&Js of the world not to embrace a social media mindset now rather than later.


I know that very few folks will believe this, but firstly I've never seen the commercial in question, and secondly, I'd never heard of Motrin. I had to ask what it was.

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