Angry Mothers Against Motrin, or a Sneaky Advertising Strategy?

We've talked before about viral marketing - a technique that's new to the internet, but uses the basic principal of word-of-mouth to help promote an advertising agency's product. Thanks to the speed of the internet, the message spreads fast, like a virus, working better than traditional advertising ever could.

So knowing that, its hard to imagine that the latest internet craze isnt something someone carefully thought up.

If we're to believe what is said on the internets, Mom's everywhere this week got pissed off at an advertisement for Motrin and started a protest via the social networking site Twitter to raise awareness of the controversy.

Here's the original ad, which uses a nifty visual technique called "Kinetic Typography:"



The the ads have been running for almost a month before it was suddenly picked up on the radar of blogger Jessica Gottlieb who voiced her opinion of the campaign on Twitter, where she has over 1,000 followers.

One of those followers was Katja Presnal who collected the twitter rants (or "tweets" as they like to call them) and put them together into a video reply to the ad.

Here's over nine minutes of screencaps of replies and shots of moms carrying their babies mixed with sappy music done as a rebuttal:



McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the maker of Motrin, pulled the ad from the website this week and issued a press release, apologizing for "any concerns raised" by the advertisement. "We have taken immediate action to respond to these concerns and have removed the advertisement from our Web site," says Marc Boston, McNeil's designated mouthpiece.

But here's the interesting catch to all of this: According to her Twitter bio, Katja Presnal just happens to be (wait for it)... a Public Relations / Social Media Marketing Consultant.

Things that make ya go Hmmmm.

"I didn't know the video would make so many people mad. I don't get it," Katja writes from her blog. "Moms simply said their opinions, voiced their feelings, and saying someone's feelings are wrong is as smart as saying it's wrong to like tuna fish or wearing blue clothes is stupid."

Yes, but in the age of viral marketing - where anything could secretly be an advertising strategy - was there really a controversy about this? Were mothers everywhere taking to the streets carrying pitchforks and torches in addition to the aforementioned baby slings?

Or was it just the sneaky creative advertising agency trying to work outside of the box and sell to a jaded consumer base who will then become unwitting pawns in the spread of the brand?

Perhaps it isnt as nefarious as we suggest here. But it could be.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

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