What happened to Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare division over the weekend is a perfect example of the power that social networks have.
J&J’s Motrin brand was running a spot showing how mothers have back pain because they carry babies in slings. See it for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mztymu72l7c. Are you kidding me? Who is their agency? I know that advertising today is all about creating buzz (which this spot has done) but didn’t someone say “don’t f*** with mom’s and babies”?
Anyway, the point of this post is to show the power of the new online “media”. As soon as the spot started airing, the protests started in a big way. But unlike the old way of holding up signs and marching outside J&J’s corporate office, it was protesting on the web. Blogs started complaining. Social network members in Facebook and Twitter started spreading the “boycott” word. YouTube was spreading the video (see above) to get viewers fired up. It was a very quick “spreading the word” response. So quick that J&J pulled the spot right away and tried to apologize using typical corporate wording. As a marketer, imagine what you can do with this new online power if you harness it correctly.
Social Networks Are Media
In yesterday’s online version of Ad Age there was an article about a speech that Ted McConnell (General Manager of Interactive Marketing at P&G) gave to an ad club group. In his speech he questions the use of marketing products on the social websites. He wanted to know who called social networks media? He claims that media has inventory, it has blank spots. He said these are sites for people to talk to each other. Who am I to argue with a top marketing guy at P&G, but I disagree. Webster’s defines “media” as “a channel or system of communication, information, or entertainment”. Don’t social networks and other online channels do this? This is a great opportunity for us marketer’s to not only reach are target market but “really” reach our target. He gave an example where one of his colleagues did a FaceBook search for someone who was a mid-20′s, female, worked at P&G, lived in Cincinnati, who liked sex and Coco-Puffs. He was able to find such a person. Now that is pin-point marketing. McConnell has a problem with this. He feels it is invading. Why is it ok to see P&G commercials in a movie theater? I paid for the movie. I go to the movies to escape. As the line in the movie Spiderman says; “With great power comes great responsibility”. I know this is hard to do for some marketers but we need to try. Being able to market to the bulls-eye of the target is what we all strive to do.
Tags: Ad Age, boycott, Facebook, Johnson & Johnson, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, media, Motrin, online protests, P&G, pin-point marketing, social media, social networks, Spiderman, spread the word, Ted McConnell, Twitter, Youtube