Discuss: Motrin’s Mommy Ad

Is this a great ad, or the greatest ad, you’ve ever seen for a pain reliever?

Here are backup copies of the same ad: one, two.

Oh, but I jest. Here’s the full text in case the video becomes unavailable. The ad was pulled from Motrin’s website, but magazine ads have already been published. The bolding is my own emphasis.

Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion. I mean, in theory it’s a great idea. There’s the front baby carrier, the sling, the shwing, the wrap, the pouch and who knows what else they’ve come up with. Wear the 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 its 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.” Motrin. We feel your pain. Use only as directed.

To recap, mothers who carry their babies are:

  1. Doing so to be fashionable.
  2. Are skeptical baby wearing is a great idea.
  3. Are skeptical it’s a bonding experience.
  4. Are unhappier on whole than mothers who don’t carry.
  5. Refer to babies as “things.”
  6. Wear their babies to look like official moms.
  7. Realize wearing a baby actually makes you look tired and crazy.

Number six is just silly. The only way you can identify an official mom is if she flashes you her membership card. And, only if she flashes you both her cards. She has two of them.

Alright, that was my wife’s joke. I should stop reading her my drafts.

Okay, so, as a father, I have one question for you. By “you” I mean mothers because most fathers who read Thinga are weenie lurkers.

Ahem, a question for mothers and non-weenie fathers… Can a pain reliever be pitched to baby carrying mothers in a non-offensive manner? What would that ad be like?


20 Responses to “Discuss: Motrin’s Mommy Ad”

  1. RobMonroe says:

    Yeah, this ad has caused much uproar online. All I can say is that my wife AND I are proud baby-wearers and have never had back pains because of it. We did the National Zoo with an infant in a carrier without problem, too!

    It doesn’t seem like a good commercial overall – moves too quickly and is a bit all over the place. Probably should have stayed away from this subject.

    November 18th, 2008 at 5:37 am

  2. Bill says:

    They could have reworded this one pretty easily to at least not be offensive. Of course, I never found wearing my kids to hurt my back, but I might have gotten lucky. Plus, I have no boobs to weigh me down. Well, man-boobs yes, but boob-boobs, no.

    “Wearing your baby is a great idea. I’ve got the front baby carrier, the sling, the wrap, the pouch and a million other options. I can wear my baby on my side, my front, and go hands free. It’s a real bonding experience, and 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 carriers can 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 its a good kind of pain. But carrying my baby without the pain is even better.” Motrin. We feel your pain. Use only as directed.

    November 18th, 2008 at 5:40 am

  3. silver says:

    I think the worst part about the commercial is that (1) a good carrier doesn’t put strain unevenly on places, so it doesn’t cause pain and (2) carrying your baby *without* a carrier is sure to cause way more pain that is longer lasting.

    Yesterday, I took my 24 lb son to the doctor’s office without a sling or stroller. We missed the bus to go home. So I walked to Walgreens to hang out until the next bus. I probably carried my son about a mile yesterday, I’m still sore. I’ve never been sore with a baby carrier. Go figure.

    November 18th, 2008 at 5:52 am

  4. Ticia says:

    I thought it was funny. It’s a sarcastic comment on the current fad. That is not to say that baby wearing doesn’t have benefits, but I think some women are doing it because it is the current in thing. In a few years the correct way to raise your baby will chanbe again, and baby wearing may not be the thing.
    And maybe I didn’t have the right way to wear my baby, but eventually it did give me a backache. I prefered to cuddle them for a little extra time after I was done nursing. Besides, none of my babies were great fans of the baby wearing.

    November 18th, 2008 at 6:31 am

  5. Tiffany says:

    I think the whole uproar over this ad is just another example of some folks just failing to see an attempt at humor. Personally, I thought it was funny and a good ad. And yes, we did wear our son often in a Baby Bjorn (but the new one with the waist strap- my back only hurt sometimes…). Some people just need to lighten up. They’re like the ones who castigate other people because they don’t breastfeed or use disposable diapers or something. Add 10-20 pounds anywhere on your body and you’re going to want some Motrin after a while. Especially if it involves climbing up and down the stairs in Japanese subway systems… (not an ADA-country, that one!) I think maybe the ad company probably should have screened the ads in a community outside NYC- perhaps a city where humor is a little less cutting and facetious and they’d have figured out this wouldn’t play as funny everywhere-

    November 18th, 2008 at 6:59 am

  6. Kimberly says:

    Clearly the mom in the ad needs an Ergo!

    I think people are mad because it mocks their reason for choosing to babywear. They feel a bit like they are being made fun of. We seem to get so defensive of our parenting choices these days.

    As an “official mom” (i.e. babywearer) I am not offended. My back doesn’t hurt. And I hope I can wear my baby until he’s 30.

    November 18th, 2008 at 8:06 am

  7. julianne says:

    Well, I live in NYC, am generally appreciative of sarcastic humor, and I was pissed off by this ad. The ad’s timing coincided with International Babywearing Week, when groups around the world were trying to get the word out about the value of this ancient parenting tool. A snarky ad suggesting that babywearers are crazy, fashionista martyr-types. Thanks, appreciate it.

    Yeah, the Bjorn-style carriers do hurt almost everyone, even the ones with a waist strap. (Why do you think there are so many available on craigslist?) That’s why there are the Ergo, the Beco, other soft-structured carriers, wraps, mei tais, ring slings, pouches, and so on. So you can find one that doesn’t hurt.

    Current fad or not, babywearing is a centuries-old practice with proven benefits for mother and baby. It reduces the incidence and severity of PPD, helps with bonding, helps with breastfeeding, helps with colic, etc. It’s also a great way for dads (and other people–my father loved wearing my daughter when we visited) to bond with their children.

    Mocking vulnerable new moms, nice. And seeing this ad, they’re gonna think, Oh, yeah, so I guess baby carriers hurt and are for annoying twerps, well I’m a twerp, so I’ll take drugs for that. Unlikely. I’d more likely be thinking, well if baby carriers hurt enough to need drugs for the pain and are in fashion with such twerps, I won’t use them.

    I have used a stroller five or six times since my thirteen-month-old was born, preferring my carriers for convenience, comfort, and cuddliness. My daughter prefers them too. I haven’t needed to take pain-killers from carrying her all over the city, and up and down the subway stairs.

    If it hurts, you’re doing it wrong.

    November 18th, 2008 at 8:10 am

  8. Natalie says:

    My first thought was that it was a stupid ad, but I was also irked by the condescending tone. Silly women – they just want to be fashion victims and martyrs for their babies!

    Anyway, they could have tried for a more universal appeal – parenting is hard work and it can be hard on your body. Wearing your baby, carrying him/her in an infant car seat or in your arms can cause back pain, add a heavy diaper bag to the mix (gotta schlep spare clothes, extra diapers, wipes, a bottle of water for mom, toys, and whatever you used to carry in a purse). And then there is the leaning into a car to secure your precious yet heavy and wiggly bundle of joy, pulling a stroller up stairs and over curbs, etc. etc, while juggling the rest of your life….

    November 18th, 2008 at 8:27 am

  9. JMo says:

    Well said julianne. I was a babywearer (moderate – not hard core), and I find the ad insulting. I particularly don’t like it mocks the bonding of babywearing.

    I wear my baby b/c it’s practical, not b/c it’s cool. At 2 years old, I still wear him when him in the Ergo frequently. For example, if he’s fussy or demanding while I’m trying to make dinner, I will wear him in the Ergo while I cook instead of plopping him down in front of the TV.

    Also, most babywearing moms are breastfeeding as well, and wouldn’t be likely to taking Motrin anyway.

    November 18th, 2008 at 8:37 am

  10. Stephanie says:

    I’m gonna just say exactly what I think… Of all the issues new mothers go through… this ad is the least of our problems.

    I didn’t wear my baby even though we had the Baby Bjorn because my baby didn’t really find it comfortable. But I wasn’t completely unaware of every babysling, baby carrier, etc. that was on the market and being shoved down my throat at every moneymaking opportunity. It does seem to be the fashionable thing to do, even though traditional cultures have been doing it forever. But the honest reality is that carrying a baby here, there and everywhere does do a number on a woman’s body. Motrin just wants to give women relief to that pain. Targeting the baby carrier itself maybe wasn’t the best idea, but really, is this really worth getting into a tizzy about when there are far more serious issues out there? Like, I dunno, postpartum depression, maternity leave, paid sick leave, women’s health, insurance, discrimination… why don’t women yell on YouTube about that stuff?

    November 18th, 2008 at 10:25 am

  11. Mark says:

    Can I speak up on behalf of the lurking weenies? Tempest in a teapot. This whole uproar screams of modern parenting taking itself just a bit too seriously sometimes.

    November 18th, 2008 at 12:05 pm

  12. Stephanie says:

    I agree with Mark. Well said, you lurking weenie.

    November 18th, 2008 at 1:25 pm

  13. Tracy says:

    I also agree with Mark. And something tells me that Motrin got exactly what they wanted out of this ad… a lot of free publicity.

    November 18th, 2008 at 4:24 pm

  14. Jen says:

    I remember when I went for a walk with my 1 month old in the front carrier, I was stopped by a couple (to admire her of course!), and the lady made a comment or question along the lines of “isn’t it heavy to have the baby in the carrier like that?”
    I said “It’s a lot less weight than i was carrying in front a month ago!”
    (when i was still pregnant) 8 lbs of baby vs 25 lbs pregnant belly. hahaha!!!!

    November 18th, 2008 at 8:22 pm

  15. Magda says:

    I just thought the ad was silly.

    As someone who has metal rods in her back from scoliosis, I find that I exercise my core muscles properly when I wear my baby, so I have less of a need for pain-killers. When I get a headache trying to figure out why my son is crying … then I’m tempted to go for the pain meds … but they don’t address what happens to my breast-fed child when I take their medication, so I’d rather do without. (Also, I have a darned good baby, so once I figure out what he needs, he stops crying … so far.)

    The ad reminds me of irony of watching the ads for whatever shampoo asking whether motherhood was “ruining your hair” … when I was getting all the postpartum hormones so that my hair had never looked as nice!

    November 19th, 2008 at 8:43 am

  16. Cordately says:

    Feet! Babywearing is great for backs, necks, arms because it spreads that weight out over strong parts of the body. It also cuts down on the lunging that really kills my back. Ultimately, the weight of the child, no matter how well spread across the upper body, must be suppported by the feet, ankles and knees.

    That is where I would target the ad if I was Motrin. I would also broaden it out to target all mothers of small children who are busy chasing and picking up and loading their children into safety seats regardless of whether or not they choose to wear and nurse their babies.

    November 19th, 2008 at 9:37 am

  17. anjii says:

    Pain with carrying can absolutely be avoided, if you use the right carrier for the right situation. I have a lot of carriers, but at our current stage (15lb, 14 month old) I mostly use a pouch for quick trips, or places where he’ll be in/out, up/down frequently, and I use a mei-tei for longer periods, or when I expect him to sleep. I can wear him in an MT (or wrap) for HOURS with no pain. (Although, I personally preferred the wrap when for the first 6 months or so). At a wedding last weekend, I used a pouch (for in/out, up/down), but then he got sleepy. Silly me, instead of going to the car and switching to my MT, I just put him in a cradle hold in the pouch and when he woke up 2 hours later, I would have GLADLY taken some Midol, lol. (And by the way, JMo, Ibuprofen IS safe to take while nursing).

    But as for this ad, it does tick me off, for making babywearing sound almost like a deragatory thing… I prefer Bill’s wording, but even that might turn people off of babywearing a bit, as it still sounds like all babywearing hurts…

    November 19th, 2008 at 9:47 am

  18. Pippin says:

    I was unable to carry my baby in any type of sling or carrier– I had a badly broken wrist when I had her, and a cast over my elbow, down over my thumb (no use of thumb, as it was stuck out at an angle), and I managed fine without a sling.

    Oh, I did get the “better than thou” looks from the sling users. I got the “It’s really so much better for bonding” snarks, but guess what, I PHYSICALLY couldn’t have a sling. My baby is fine, thank you.

    I take more offensive by the parents who looked down their noses at me, and were downright rude than some goofy TV ad.

    November 19th, 2008 at 10:54 am

  19. Jen says:

    I was going to start advertising babywearing as the latest fad diet because seriously, hauling Kale’s butt around in his Beco carrier has made me lose more weight than three years at a gym ever did. I think this ad has caused so many problems because they didn’t cater to the lowest common denominator – they assumed people would get the joke and the sarcasm.You know ass-you-me and all that jazz.

    November 20th, 2008 at 7:07 pm

  20. sara says:

    parenting, whether you wear your baby or not, is painful. period. i put my son in his ergo for our two mile walk every day. why the ergo and not the stroller? well, ’cause i’m also trying to wrangle an 80+ lb dog. wearing him is MUCH easier when i need to walk the dog. and even wearing him for two miles every day, up and down hills, wearing him does not cause pain. good work out, for sure. but not pain. however, bending over to get him from his crib, lugging around in the car seat, picking up and setting down on a play mat on the floor, and carrying him around all day are what leave more sore. the baby wearing is one of the few things that doesn’t hurt. i would target the add to all the things parents have to do that can result in pain…all the bending, lifting, lugging, carrying, and crying and cleaning. not only is it less offensive, you increase your target audience to all parents, and not just a subset of moms.

    November 29th, 2008 at 12:07 pm