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The case of Motrin and the angry moms

My kid is 4 months old and I scarcely find time for blogs anymore, but couldn't let pass this Motrin commercial. The spot basically takes a jab at the recent (in the US, anyway) vogue for babywearing and offers up Motrin as the solution for the backaches that result.

I'm not sure which is more hilarious: the fact that people working for Motrin thought this was a good idea or the overwrought backlash by moms pissed off about it. This "answer" video, for instance, denies that babywearing hurts your back or is anything other than a blissful experience... which makes me wonder what its author is smoking. Practically every new mom I know wears her baby but often it's as a last resort — once the little darlings are beyond the newborn stage, carrying them can be onerous and cumbersome. It's no coincidence that perhaps the most popular carrier in Brooklyn these days is the Ergo, a carrier designed specifically to reduce back pain.

Which isn't to say that the commercial is not offensive. It is, I think, but not for the reasons some of my peers suggest. It's offensive not because the claims about babywearing are entirely wrong, but because of the way Motrin pitches itself as your friend: by deriding babywearing as mere fashion in order to offer up Motrin as the solution.

Shortly after Motrin's misdeed made the rounds online, the company behind the brand, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, withdrew the spot and issued an apology. (Hear hear!)

But maybe they'll like my idea for their next campaign: promote Motrin as a headache remedy for parents whose kids scream mercilessly when they put them in the stroller. Hell, they can come to my place to shoot that one....

(Via Buzzfeed)

Posted by carrie on 11/17/2008 | Permalink


my biggest complaint about this ad is a stylistic one: i'm getting tired of the quick, jumpy, "text being typed out while the voiceover reads it" thing. totally unimaginative, self-important, and boring. and besides: any smart parent knows not to let the baby carrier do ALL of the work. as george carlin reminded us, "it's not camping equipment, it's a baby. TOUCH the little prick now and then; he'll thank you for it later on."

Posted by: john Montagna | Nov 21, 2008 11:51:18 AM

Hi, Carrie. I didn't know you had a baby. Congratulations!! Regarding what you wrote above, I found babywearing blissful with both kids. But once they can walk, there's not much reason to carry them. In the first year for each kid, I found the carrier much easier than the stroller. (We used an 8-foot-long cloth that can be wrapped around and tied.)

Posted by: Andrew | Nov 24, 2008 9:53:58 PM

I'm annoyed that the assumption is that only moms wear babies. I had to deal with a lot of condescending crap being a stay-at-home dad, so I should be over it now, but I'm not. Because my back ached from wearing my baby in the Baby Bjorn as well!

Posted by: Evan | Nov 26, 2008 3:05:51 PM

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