Archive for the ‘conscious’ Tag

Momtroversy: That Ain’t Right

In case anyone missed the Motrin Momtroversy, here’s a recap. Skip to the concluding thoughts if this is old news to you.

1. The offending article

2. Righteous indignation

3. Trial by Twitter

4. Parody

5. Apology


I’ll whisper my words here because this whole fiasco has woken up a big, bouncing bundle of ire.

How can ads cause this kind of offence? What causes them to miss the mark? Is there any other recent example?

In the summer, Nike pulled a bunch of ads from their Hyperdunk print campaign. Item A:


In Nike’s case, the campaign at large was well received. But specific executions weren’t – as they were deemed homophobic.

One ESPN basketball blog felt sadness at the loss. Because he believed the campaign had a smart message and was shot down by political correctness.

W+K removed the ads from their blog but the remaining comments show a real mixed reaction, including ardent advocacy.

Compare the two controversies:

Nike got the message right for their target but suffered from a blindspot. The subconscious or implied meaning was offensive to group that, in all probability, weren’t considered as their consumer. Backlash.

Motrin got the conscious message wrong because they spoke directly to mums (moms – sorry, I’m from the UK) about a concern that, for most, is likely to be subconscious and if it exists, a potentially guilty feeling. That ain’t right.

Did either of these ads offend you? And if so, why?