The sky is falling! How to handle the blogosphere when the roof caves in.

February 5, 2009 at 5:01 pm | Posted in Web 2.0 Strategies | Leave a comment
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Were you on Twitter the day the music died for Motrin? In November 2008, Motrin posted an online ad on their website, chronicling the phenomenon of “baby wearing.” Using one of those little kangaroo pouches no doubt puts some strain on a mother’s back and neck, so what’s the problem?

The last line in the ad: “so if I look tired and crazy, people will understand why.” So….mom’s look crazy with their baby sling on? Not such a good idea, Motrin- don’t, I repeat: DON’T piss off the mommy market.

What ensued afterward was an all out uprising of mommies all over the Internet. Within hours, the most tweeted subject was #motrinmoms. Videos of outraged moms appeared on YouTube. Bloggers asked followers to boycott the brand. Did I mention this all occurred within a few hours?

#motrinmoms spread like wildfire across the Internet.

#motrinmoms spread like wildfire across the Internet.

When the ad agency who created the video ad was questioned, they admitted they didn’t know much about Twitter. Essentially, they had no idea that the brand they represented was being torn to shreds by the public, simply because they were not in tune with technology.

motrintweet

A Word to the Wise: Know Your Audience!

Motrin obviously knew that Moms are part of their target audience. What they didn’t know was that Moms have become ever-present on the Internet as of late. They blog about their children, they connect with other mommies on Twitter, and they start groups on social networking sites. Motrin made a tremendous mistake by not knowing this- they were not able to be prepared for what happened.

The Internet has dramatically changed the world of public relations, and more specifically crisis communications. The Web has given everyday people a platform to speak their opinion, find like-minded people, and wage an all-out war against companies. This doesn’t mean that all companies need to be terrified of Web 2.0. It simply means they need to be aware, and prepared.

Understand that the blogosphere and the world of social networking allows information to be exchanged instantaneously and to many people at once. Re-tweeting, posting to Digg, and linking in a blog can spread information faster than a, um, “cold” in a college dorm. Google Alerts and RSS feeds add to the speed at which news travels on the Web.

Bottom line: technology continues to evolve, and if marketers and public relations practicioners do not get on board, they’ll be left in dust wondering what in the world just hit them.

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