MotrinMoms Observations

Attending a PRSA luncheon today it was painfully obvious which PR professionals were tuned into social media and which were not. As I sat at a table with five other PR practitioners the MotrinMoms incident was brought up. Only two of us had heard of MotrinMoms. Coincidentally, we were the only two who had Twitter accounts.

The Motrin Campaign
So what is the MotrinMoms incident? Motrin developed an ad campaign aimed at Moms who carry children in baby slings. The ad claimed that Mom's do this to look like "an official Mom." Adding that baby slings are a great cause of neck and back pain. The solution? Motrin, of course!

The ads were placed online and in magazines. Once Mom's saw the ads they were deeply offended and began posting furious messages on Twitter. They organized and used a #MotrinMoms tag to make their tweets easy to find. To their credit, Motrin was able to respond to the outcry over the weekend and has since removed the ads. To view the ad and Moms responses view the videos below.





The Industry's Awareness
My question is after all this, how did only a select group of PR professionals have any knowledge of the event? The simple (and scary) answer is that many PR professionals are still not tuned into social media. I find this astonishing when social media is talked about at luncheons, at the PRSA National Conference, in news articles, trade publications... Social media appears to be so prevalent in our industry that popular PR vendors (Cision, Vocus and PRNewswire to name a few) are holding Webinars.

If Motrin has taught us anything it's that it is very important to listen to what people are saying about your company online. If PR professionals are not listening their clients will not be able to respond to negative attacks or benefit from this new medium.

The Solution
The only way to get comfortable with these new tools is by using them. My advice? If you don't have a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account get one now. Never heard of Digg? Google it and start learning. The only way PR professionals will be educated about social media is if they invest the time to learn about it, and that means playing with these tools.

If you aren't convinced that Twitter is a valuable tool go to http://www.summize.com/ and put in your companies keywords. It will generate a list of tweets of what people are saying about your company. I urge all communication professionals, old and young, to start learning more about social media. I am confident that failing to immerse yourself in this new medium will cause you to find yourself unemployable.

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