Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

Marketing 101: Don’t make fun of your target market


It appears there's been a little brouhaha this weekend over a particularly misguided ad for Motrin that the folks at J&J's McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit put out there.  Since they seem to have already realized the error of their ways and have pulled the ad (and I do have to commend them for responding so quickly), I'm not going to go after them for the content of the ad.  

Rather, I'm going to take this as a good opportunity to remind us all that when creating a marketing campaign, it's probably best NOT to make fun of and put down your target market! (If you haven't seen it, it was a campaign aimed at Moms and the pain that can be associated with wearing their babies... only it wasn't exactly coming across in a "we feel your pain" kind of way as much as a "we think you're silly for putting yourself through that in the first place" kind of way).

The sad thing is, this could have gone another way.  Our family is big into baby wearing (between my wife and I, we must have at least a dozen slings, pouches, wraps, side carriers, backpacks, etc. - not to mention the one you can see Noah wearing here).  And, yes, while wearing a baby can actually alleviate many of the aches and pains associated with carrying your kids, there can still be aches and pains associated with it.  We might even represent a non-trivial segment of the market (not to mention representing someone at the beginning of what could be a lucrative lifetime value should they be able to lock us in now as a loyal customer.)  Showing that they sympathize with what we go through could have gone a long way.

Oh - and the next time someone tries to question the business value of Twitter (or puts down your request for a listening strategy for your products), just point them here.


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