Motrin’s email response to the onslaught of complaints over babywearing ad

I just received an email from Kathy Widmer, Vice President of Marketing for McNeil Consumer Healthcare, responding to the feedback I left on Motrin’s website last night. Here it is:

Dear Amy –

I am the Vice President of Marketing for McNeil Consumer Healthcare. I have responsibility for the Motrin Brand, and am responding to concerns about recent advertising on our website. I am, myself, a mom of 3 daughters.

We certainly did not mean to offend moms through our advertising. Instead, we had intended to demonstrate genuine sympathy and appreciation for all that parents do for their babies. We believe deeply that moms know best and we sincerely apologize for disappointing you. Please know that we take your feedback seriously and will take swift action with regard to this ad. We are in process of removing it from our website. It will take longer, unfortunately, for it to be removed from magazine print as it is currently on newstands and in distribution.


Kathy Widmer
VP of Marketing – Pain, Pediatrics, GI, Specialty
McNeil Consumer Healthcare

What do you think about this response? I’d love to hear from you.

If you have no idea what this is about, please read my previous posts on the subject:
* Motin’s new ad attacks babywearing, insults moms
* We’ve blogged and tweeted the Motrin ad. What can moms do next?

Also, check out the New York Times article: Moms and Motrin

Update 11/17/08: As of just a bit ago, Motrin posted an apology (see below) on their web site, which is now back up after it was entirely taken down for the night.

“With regard to the recent Motrin advertisement, we have heard you.

On behalf of McNeil Consumer Healthcare and all of us who work on the Motrin Brand, please accept our sincere apology.

We have heard your complaints about the ad that was featured on our website. We are parents ourselves and take feedback from moms very seriously.

We are in the process of removing this ad from all media. It will, unfortunately, take a bit of time to remove it from our magazine advertising, as it is on newsstands and in distribution.

Thank you for your feedback. Its very important to us.”

Kathy Widmer
Vice President of Marketing
McNeil Consumer Healthcare

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We’ve blogged and tweeted the Motrin ad. What can moms do next?

The blogosphere and Twitterverse are all a buzz with Motrin’s condescending ad regarding babywearing moms. If you missed the hullabaloo, you can read my post from yesterday about it.

Women control the household spendingMoms might be wondering, apart from spreading the word about this (which we’ve already done an awesome job of) and contacting Motrin, what else can we do?

According to 2005 Wow! Quick Facts Book —United States Census Bureau: As women, we control 80% of our household spending and even more relevant in this case, women buy 75 percent of all over-the-counter medications.

Here’s my suggestion, you can start by boycotting Motrin, but before you reach for a bottle of Tylenol instead, read on. Johnson & Johnson owns both Motrin AND Tylenol, so if you truly want to boycott them, you need to avoid both. My suggestion is to buy GENERIC. I use generic Ibuprofen for my migraines and it works just as well as a name brand…and it’s cheaper! Saving a few dollars here and there is something everyone can appreciate in the current economy. If you buy generic, READ THE LABEL. It’s possible that a generic drug could be made by the same company that makes the name brand, but the only way to verify that is to read the fine print. I just checked my bottle of “Wal-Profen” and it says right on there, “This product is not manufactured or distributed by Wyeth Consumer Healthcare, owner of the registered trademark Advil Tablets. Distributed by Walgreen Co.”

Another alternative is buying Advil (which is also Ibuprofen), although then you won’t likely save any money. I just did a quick check of Advil’s site and although they definitely target moms in their advertising, they say Advil can be used for “Backache from carrying the baby,” which is arguably different than backache from wearing the baby, which Motrin espouses.

Motrin didn’t do their research before they ran this ad, but we will do ours and we will vote with our dollars.

Edited to add: I received a few comments from women who suggested contacting your local and national media outlets as well. I think that’s good advice and I encourage you to do that. Let’s spread the word further and hopefully affect some change in the way companies market to moms.

Update – Motrin responds and removes online ad: Motrin’s email response to the onslaught of complaints over the babywearing ad. In light of Motrin’s quick response and ad removal, I’m no longer advocating for an all-out boycott. If individuals choose to do so, fine, (and I’ll keep buying generic meds) but I’m not trying to organize a boycott at this time.