Social media enthusiasts of the world often unite in the wake of internet riots with the “I told you so” speech and blog postings (present company included) about how a company or brand should have reacted to a social media meltdown. The latest debacle was made possible by Motrin with this :30 spot.
Problem: You’ve alienated your target demographic
The speed at which a big brand like Motrin reacted was decent. Rumblings started over the weekend and by Monday afternoon, Motrin had this announcement posted on the homepage of its website (although several hours after the entire motrin.com site was not available):
Not sure what’s distasteful about the ad? Read the coverage:
How can this type of situation be prevented in the future?
In short, it can’t be 100% prevented. At the end of the day, even the best processes and procedures can fail and its why we live in a world of product recalls and warranty repairs. Dealing with a negative reaction to an advertising campaign is similar to a massive product recall — it’s all in how you react to the problem.
How should I react to an internet riot?
I jokingly refer to these types of situations as “internet riots” however I realize they are to be taken seriously otherwise they will spiral out of control — much like a riot.
While mommy bloggers certainly rallied and voiced their opinion to Motrin via blogs, twitter, and other outlets, we have to remember that there are other types of visitors to the site — visitors who, like me, had never seen the commercial and had no idea what “everybody was mad about” this morning.
Plastering an announcement on the homepage of the site is probably “good enough,” but not ideal. Here’s why the Motrin execution falls short:
- The entire homepage announcement is an image and not text. This means Google and other search engines cannot index the contents of the image. This then means the message will not be searchable on search engines. As of this writing, “motrin moms” (the ad campaign’s main message) dominates search results and motrin.com is nowhere to be found.
- The message on the homepage is not clickable — it doesn’t take me to more information on the product, status on when the rest of the campaign will be disabled, or even a way to contact Motrin.
- How long will this message stay on their homepage? What if we need to refer to it at a later date after the initial groundswell as died down?
Instead, the following steps would have been much easier and faster to produce and maintain on an on-going basis:
- Post a blog posting containing detailed information on what the problem is, what you’re doing to fix it, and make sure to have keywords in the article that are found in the referenced blog posts, tweets, and articles (no need to involve IT or web developers to update the site)
- Link to the post on the homepage of the Motrin site (so it can be later removed without eliminating the content of the article!)
- Post a tweet on twitter to the channel of the dialogue with a link to the blog posting
- Openly accept comments (I like the reference to the feedback, although there’s no mechanism to contact Motrin from this message on their homepage)
What can I do to monitor whether or not a riot is brewing?
Posting content to your own site and managing comments on it can help you “steer the ship.” The last thing you want is a situation like Motrin’s that continues to spiral out of control with blog entries and tweets that carry a negative connotation about the product or brand name. By funneling all attention about the issue (good or bad) through a blog post our your website, you now function as the central source of information.