Sunday, November 16, 2008

Babywearing & Motrin

All you have to do is a Google Search: 'Motrin Ad' and you will be faced with many links to outraged babywearers and a general appalled feeling from the mommy community! When I tried to view (and link to or embed) the ad, I continue to get errors. I will keep trying but I am wondering if it has indeed been pulled off by the company or maybe the server is just overwhelmed with so many bloggers!

So thanks to many others who have written the ad out, just in case this happened, here it is. This is a little video on their website front page, which they call a "Mom-versation". It is complete with graphics that really show the pain of parenting.

"Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion.

I mean, in theory it’s a great idea.

There’s the front baby carrier, sling, schwing, wrap, pouch.

And who knows what else they’ve come up with. Wear your baby on your side, your front, go hands free.

Supposedly, it’s a real bonding experience.

They say that babies carried close to the bod tend to cry less than others.

But what about me? Do moms that wear their babies cry more than those who don’t?

I sure do!

These things put a ton of strain on your back, your neck, your shoulders. Did I mention your back?!

I mean, I’ll put up with the pain because it’s a good kind of pain; it’s for my kid.

Plus, it totally makes me look like an official mom.

And so if I look tired and crazy, people will understand why."

I did watch this ad and thought it was just ridiculous for so many reasons but I think the thing that bothers me the most is that someone is taking the act of parenting and drugging it! Whether you believe in babywearing or not, whether it works for you or not, it does not make you an 'official mom' to be in pain AND if there is pain (because we all know there are many pains that go along with parenting) - WE DO NOT NEED TO MEDICATE IT!!!!!!

Here are a couple of video responses to the ad, like I said it has hit the mommy blog world quite hard and there are many opinions and thoughts. I thought these two were well done (I am sure there are many good ones), I just do not have time to watch them all!!!

Stephanie over at Adventures in Babywearing had this to say:

Katja at Ladybug Landing put together this video:

Also skip over to Crazy Adventures in Parenting, Lisa had great points to make!

I enjoy blogging because there are so many opinions and thoughts. I love the passion that many put into a cause no matter how big or small. From my point of view the Motrin Marketing team made a mistake BUT looking at the silver lining I see a movement for babywearing ... an awareness that was not there before, a positive in a negative situation.

So in conclusion I have this to say:

Dear Motrin: I do not use your product or will I start! I also will remember this and voice it to many! But in addition I would like to say THANK YOU, for bringing International Babywearing Week into the spotlight. You have united a great bunch of moms, parents, and people for a great cause ... the well-being of children!


Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

Great post!!:)

Tricia said...

The marketing company obviously didn’t do enough homework because they seem to be alienating the very group of women they’re trying to attract, but I don’t really get the outrage. I'm trying, but I watched the ad and the responses from the videos in your post, and I am kind of at a loss. How is this different than the ads showing a parent with a headache and screaming children in the background, or the calgon take me away type ads? We all know that not every parent with a crying child ends up with a head ache, just as not every parent who chooses a baby wearing lifestyle gets a back ache, so why does this group of moms feel so picked on/outraged? Is it a matter of feeling singled out? If the ad featured a mom pushing a stroller up a hill and then complaining that her back hurt, would it be different because a stroller is more ‘mainstream’?

Motrin is in the business of selling something and as consumers, we're in the business of deciding whether or not we want it. OTC pain killers are fairly normal and Motrin’s marketing has to focus on the different scenarios people may chose OTC meds, back aches would certainly fall into that category. Are you upset because you feel like the ad is making light of a choice some moms feel strongly about, or is it because you don’t believe in OCT pain meds and therefore any marketing of such is against your lifestyle choices? Hummmm. I think I have to think about this more.

Amy said...

Tricia: I agree not great research and timing as it is International Babywearing Week (or was)!

I too wonder sometimes why certain things grabs people! I will be honest I posted about it because it was 'big news'! Makes me just a follower, oh well.

I do disagree with the ad but I also disagree with the bigger picture of it. Like you said it is no different than other ads out there. I have issues with medicating for everything and it seems we live in a society that wants to pop a pill to cure all ailments and that frustrates me. So I would have to say that any marketing of such drives me crazy.

Marketing is what it is ... to make the consumer buy your product, I respect that! I don't always like it but will respect it! I indeed have an issue with the product - not the marketing!

This is exactly why I hope the issue becomes about educating regarding babywearing NOT about attacking Motrin's marketing team!!!!

One last thing ... I do think many take it as a personal attack on 'parenting'. It seems that parenting is such a complex thing (there is no instruction manual and so many opinions) that I think it is easy to feel attacked in these cases!

Thanks for making me think about this!

Tricia said...

The job of a marketeer is to tell a story; to convince people they need or want a particular product or service and somehow our lives will be enhanced by the purchase. The psychology of it all is incredibly curious to me, especially because I work in the field.

You're right that people get so cranky regarding parenting and life style choices, and I have to wonder if that's a bigger part of the outlash. Kind of like all the nastiness that goes around regarding breast feeding. As you said, maybe a result will be that people will gain information they'd not previously had. Information creates choices, and that's real power.

HeatherPride said...

Who knew that one of those goofy slings/pouches would stir up so much controversy!! (and I say that because I love love LOVE my baby pouch - but it does look kind of goofy, in a cute way!)

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

I've had time to really reflect and read a lot of responses, and the major MAJOR thing here is,

a) the tone of the woman speaking. Early 20's, Valley-girl, condescending clique-ish voice over sounding like a high school student selling another high school student on the designer watch her daddy got her, and how it's "so rad"! Uh, no thanks.

b) whoever wrote the piece obviously thought (instead of read, because any research on the campaign would've led the writer to a different conclusion) that women wear their babies to be in fashion, to fit in, to look like a mom, and cuz 'it's good for our kid', never having picked up a single book on the subject, nor any research on the web. A quick look to Wikipedia would've given them ample info on the matter, but they didn't even do that!

c) having not done any research on the actual topic of babywearing, we, babywearing mothers, during the week we celebrate babywearing and all its glory, get their ad shoved in our faces, trying to relate to us, hard-selling us that they 'understand' us but couldn't be bothered to ask any of us let alone research 'us', but had the forethought to put this ad out during our celebration week, though.

I won't beat them over the head with this, I just hope it's a lesson learned to them(and others watching) on what NOT to do. Next time, use focus groups, talk to the people you're trying to relate to, don't talk down to them, and follow up. For crying out loud, it took a reporter calling their house on a sunday at home to realize something was wrong, they weren't even tracking it, at all!

The fact of the matter is, women that babywear do it because it brings us back to a more natural, instinctual, way of parenting. At least for me it is. I never considered doing it as fitting in. In fact, I get a lot of looks and questions about what I'm wearing, how I did that, and people wanting to know more because the store carriers hurt their shoulders, etc. The true art of babywearing using slings, wraps, mei tais,they WON'T hurt your back if done properly, but Motrin didn't know because they didn't choose to know!

Babywearing has been around for centuries. There may be fashionable looking apparatus out there, but it isn't about coordinating with an outfit. It's about bonding with your child, keeping them close to you without breaking your arms doing it and doing what is best for both of you. My newborn can't sleep unless it's on me, he's so used to my heartbeat, hearing me breathe, that you lay him down and it's too quiet for him. Enter babywearing, so that I don't have to carry him place to place, he's safely nestled against me, comfortable, sleeping, happy. Something so beautiful, so helpful that could truly help another mom who doesn't know about babywearing yet, and then she goes and sees the Motrin ad, which turns out to be her first introduction to the term, and as a result, she thinks twice about ever doing it because of the way they spoke about it. You know? Between that and everything else listes, that's what it boils down to.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

Oh by the way, Amy... TAG you're it LOL

Lacey in the Sky said...

I saw this all over twitter yesterday! How dumb are the people at Motrin, seriously?! Good post!!

Honey Mommy said...

I've seen this a couple of places, and I think it's a crazy ad. Do they know how many moms use baby carriers?

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Thanks for linking up and did we ever think it would get this much attention? I say that's great for babywearing!