Motrin Retracts Ads After Babywearing Mamas Protest

So, Motrin made an ad trying to target babywearers, that is, parents, who wear their babies in a sling. The ad spoke with winking and jaded knowingness about how babywearing was a fashion statement and caused various back pains that could be alleviated with Motrin. Unfortunately, it seems they never tested the ads before actual babywearing parents. That knowingness? Yeah, it wasn’t actually based on knowing anything.

According to some of the vocal feedback, particularly on Twitter (just search #motrinmoms), babywearing is neither fashion statement, nor does it cause any particular pain. In fact, a number of women say they do it because it is a less painful way to carry around your baby. In response to the uproar, Motrin posted an apology on its website and has pledged to excise the universe of any and all brand material associated with the campaign. Good luck with that, Tornado Girls, because the shit is already in magazines on newsstands. The controversial ad surely soon to be removed from YouTube, inside…

Motrin Mania Ignited on Twitter, Mad Moms Mobilize [AdRants]


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  1. humphrmi says:

    LOL. This is a sure sign that ad companies are desperate for revenue. They’ve run out of ideas to sell their clients shrinking, price increased products and now they’re flailing around, trying to come up with the next big ad that ensures their jobs for another six months. And they don’t have the backbone to tell their clients that the only real way they’re going to gain market share in a recession is to either invest in R&D and come up with a newer / better product, or cut their prices.

  2. MrsLopsided says:

    LOL. “Tornado Girls”. (That Ugly Betty episode is less than a week old and “Tornado Girls” is already sticking).

  3. thewriteguy says:

    I’m a little baffled here — are the “babywearers” offended by the campaign, or have they just been pointing out to Motrin how silly and inaccurate it is?

    I am finding it hard to understand why anyone would be offended.

    • krunk4ever says:

      @thewriteguy: Agreed. Unless they’re really wearing it for the “fashion”, and felt threatened being called out on it.

    • kenboy says:


      You’d be surprised at how politicized child-rearing is these days. People are VERY oversensitive to anything suggesting they might be doing it wrong.

    • kathyl says:

      @thewriteguy: It’s the tone of the ad, which seems to be wink-wink, nudge-nudging that the babywearing is just for parent street cred and not because there are benefits that specific people who choose to do it see.

      I don’t see having an ad that supposed to be targeted as you coming off more as making fun of your decisions as oversensitive. They missed the mark. The ad was meant to coincide with national babywearing week in the US, and the very people that would care about that are the ones who felt the ad was condescending. Agree or disagree with that, but you have to admit that they failed miserably on reaching their intended target audience for the ad.

    • Anonymous says:

      @thewriteguy: You’d have to be a babywearer to understand why it stings so much. As a mother who chooses to wear my baby in a carrier for hour at a time, I’ve gotten a surprising amount of flack from my family as well as total strangers about what a strange practice it is. They say it is weird to have your baby “so close” to you, how I’m “spoiling” my baby by carrying her, etc. I recognize that babywearing isn’t for everyone but it makes me bristle to see well known medicine claiming that babywearing is painful or only for fashion. It is not for fashion. It serves a practical and loving purpose — it allows me to carry my child in various ways. She is a baby who is simply happier when carried. I believe in babywearing as the best way to hold my high needs child close for her development and for our bonding. Were I to hold her in my arms all day (and believe me, she’d love it), surely my arms would ache! But by carrying her in my carriers, I have arms free to go about my day, while she is happily attached. Babywearing is part of my daily life and something that makes me and my child very happy. That is why I am so offended by the commercial; it attacks and belittles a very important part of my life.

      • MaxAgron says:

        @ZahidCragus: Really? Wow, people are ridiculous! I don’t have a baby, but it always seemed to me that the baby slings just looked easier — baby’s comfortable, depending on the position baby can see what’s going on around her, and the parent’s hands are free. Just made sense to me.

    • postnocomments says:

      @thewriteguy: I’m offended by how annoying the commercial is.

    • marsneedsrabbits says:


      I am finding it hard to understand why anyone would be offended

      Because the people who make Motrin is telling mothers in the ad that they are silly, inconsequential people who follow fashion rather than what is best for their children.

      Let me take it straight from the ad:
      Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion.

      They’re telling us we aren’t doing it because it’s rational, and we’re not doing it because we care, or because we think it’s best for our children. Motrin is saying we’re doing it because, in their words, it’s in fashion. They are going out of their way to demean our decision making.

      From the ad:
      Supposedly, it’s a real bonding experience.

      It isn’t supposedly a way to bond. It’s a way to bond. And a way to feed the baby. And a way to get the dishes done. And a way to get from here to there without carrying the baby in a cold, plastic car seat by the handle. Again, it implies that mothers are incapable of rational thought – that we make major child rearing decisions on whims.

      From the ad:
      These things put a ton of strain on your back, your neck, your shoulders. Did I mention your back?!

      If worn correctly, it doesn’t. If it does, find a different one, or wear the one you have differently. Or ask for help.

      Their apology is slick, weak, and unconvincing. It notes that “we are parents ourselves and we take feedback from moms very seriously“.

      Perhaps they are parents, but that makes it even more puzzling why they would go out of their way to make fun of mothers.

      • tvh2k says:


        Baby wearing is an amusing fad — I think it’s hilarious that mothers aren’t willing to admit that popular culture got them into the trend. My mother let me cry without picking me up and sleep on my stomach and put my head between the crib rails and I think I turned out just fine. Fad fad fad.

        Moms, go on the defensive and criticize Motrin all you want, but the next time I’m buying ibuprofen I’m reaching for the orange bottle thanks to this clever ad.

        • Skipweasel says:

          @tvh2k: I wore both our kids, but then at 6’2″ finding a pushchair that a) had high enough handles and b) wasn’t so close to my feet that I destroyed it by kicking the back of it when striding out, was impossible.
          Anyway, I /liked/ having the kids snuggled up close. They both went from sling to backpack to shoulders to walking very easily.

      • lihtox says:

        @marsneedsrabbits: And a way to get from here to there without carrying the baby in a cold, plastic car seat by the handle.

        Talk about things which will give you a backache! I hated carrying the infant carseat around, it being as wide as it is. Sling for the win!

  4. EhnoValemount says:

    Seriously can anyone explain to me what was so horribly offensive about this ad?

    • unobservant says:

      @EhnoValemount: I don’t know about the “baby wearers” (not being a parent myself), but I’m usually offended by smarmy voices and pretentious graphics claiming that they can peer into my very soul with their “amirite” attitude. No, we’re not in this together, toots. You and your overpaid creative department are on your own.

  5. TangDrinker says:

    Well, if it hurts to “wear” your baby, you’re either not doing it correctly, or you should try a different type/technique to fit your body size/type. I think that’s part of why people are offended.

    They ought to advertise this product to moms of toddlers who have outgrown the carriers.

  6. MrsLopsided says:

    Motrin would do better promoting itself as the recommended pain med for breast feeding mothers. []

    • "I Like Potatoes" says:

      Yes – not only because it’s the recommended pain med but also because breast feeding tends to hurt my back. It’s probably because I’m leaning forward too far while nursing but there really doesn’t seem to be a position that doesn’t leave me aching afterwards.

      • Anonymous says:

        @changed my name:
        Have you tried putting your feet on a stool? I had the same problem, but once I raised my lap, I leaned over less.

        And oh my god, if they start saying breastfeeding is fashionable, I’m going to scream.

  7. floraposte says:

    Wow. I’m much more creeped out by the cheerful “I like crippling myself to feel close to my child” approach than I am about the specific babywearing thing.

  8. Serenefengshui says:

    It’s more that Motrin has no clue what babywearing actually feels like. Carrying even a 25 lb kid in a sling beats toting a tiny infant in a bucket carseat. Carrying a kid without a sling is painful–it throws your hip off center.

    Yeah, desperate is the right word.

  9. Davan says:

    Is it just me or is this commecial a blatant ripoff of those new Ford F150 commercials with Dennis Leary doing voiceover? Not sure how to imbed a youtube video here but if I did it would be down here

  10. MightyCow says:

    I think this just goes to show that baby wearers are not only fashion conscious, but pretentious about their baby fashion.

    Methinks they protest too much.

  11. Charmander says:

    As a former babywearer, I’m not offended, but I think that the implication in the ad – that people do it because it’s fashionable and so you can feel like an “official mom” – is way off base.

    And, I might add, that depending on big your baby gets, it is not unrealistic to imagine that there might be some sore muscles after a while if you are carrying the baby for a long period.

  12. Sanveann says:

    I found the ad somewhat offensive. It implies that I use a carrier so that I look like an “official mom” and that it’s so painful it makes me cry, but that we all just soldier through it for the sake of some mystical bonding experience.

    The reason a lot of people are so ticked off is that the ad is just very misleading. I very happily used carriers with my son until I got too pregnant with the current bun in the oven … they were a lifesaver! My husband and I have worn our son in various carriers to zoos, museums, dog parks, airports, etc. Neither of us ever experienced any sort of pain unless we REALLY overdid things.

    The fact is, a lot of folks could benefit from using a carrier. Some babies — well, a LOT of babies — just like to be close to Mom or Dad, and it’s VERY hard to get anything done. The concern for a lot of us was that this ad campaign could discourage people who might really be able to use a carrier from ever trying one.

  13. MrsLopsided says:

    The F150 ad:

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @MrsLopsided: This is just a design trend – like the “grunge” graphics, too. It’ll go out of style eventually – its just what’s hip now.

    • Brazell says:

      @MrsLopsided: I wish that bourbon was cheaper than gas because then I’d run my car on bourbon. $2/gallon for bourbon? I’m an Irish Whiskey guy, but for that price…

  14. Nicococure says:

    You’re right–strangely similar ads targeting 2 totally different consumers

    • shepd says:


      I bet ads like this will become more popular as more people get PVRs that don’t allow commercial skip, but rather, commercial fast-forward. Even without sound, the ad gets its message across.

      I’ll make mine a MythTV.

    • postnocomments says:

      @Nicococure: I don’t doubt the F-150 commercial and the Pulp Fiction clip were done by the same guys.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        @postnocomments: Check youtube – there’s tons of people doing design projects like this. Its relatively easy with After Effects and some other post-processing programs.

        It’s just a style, like the “grunge” thing – it’s having its day right now, tomorrow will be something different in the design world.

  15. Vegconsumer says:

    This is offensive, and I’m not even a mom. It’s implying that women or men who baby-wear are only doing it for looks. It’s just really bitchy and sarcastic as well.

    • picardia says:

      @Vegconsumer: Yes, this. Combined with the increasing trend in pop culture/advertising to assume that there is no reason any woman would do anything except because of appearance/fashion concerns, the ad just grates. It’s not the most wildly offensive thing I’ve ever seen by a long shot, but Motrin deserved the smackdown.

      • polyeaster says:

        I think that the commercial was in poor taste, seemed o mock women who carry their babies. I don’t have a baby to carry, but I would consider it as a convenient option, not a fashion statement. If I wanted to make a fashion statement, I’d buy one of those high end expensive other-wordly looking strollers to show off to the world.

  16. Torley says:

    Nice use of type-in-motion, reminiscent of earlier videos like:

    Creepy how at one part it refers to babies as “these things”. (It could be interpreted otherwise, I know.)

    Mothers have been carrying babies since near the beginning of being able to walk upright. Native and indigenous people don’t do it for fashion, it’s a means of transport where strollers don’t exist.

  17. banmojo says:

    I’m gonna wear my baby like a human necklace!! ARRRGH!

  18. fall_farewell says:

    So the ad is wrong. Do people need to really go crazy over being offended by it? No.

    Oh so a Motrin ad makes you look bad, big deal. I am certain Motrin’s sales wouldn’t be hurt a bit if the “babywearers” never bought it again.

    Motrin should just keep the ad and alienate baby wearers. Maybe I just want to see a company give the middle finger to an overly offended group of people for once. Motrin should release a more offensive ad in spite.

    • TangDrinker says:

      @fall_farewell: I don’t think people are up in arms about the tone – it’s just plain stupid. It’s like advertising Motrin to a group of people who wear flip flops all the time because that’s the style (remember the flop over the volley ball team that wore them when they had their portrait taken with the President?).

      They’re creating a negative image where there really shouldn’t be one. Most ads are stupid to begin with. Targeting the babywearers incorrectly is just plain scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    • picardia says:

      @fall_farewell: Apparently Motrin considered babywearers a consumer block worth going after, so if that block rejects them, it must matter to the company. I know that sometimes corporations are too quick to kowtow to offense — remember the ridiculous cancellation of Rachel Ray’s Dunkin Donuts ad because she wore a paisley scarf that sort of resembled, if you squinted, an Arab scarf? But when a corporation strongly targets a specific demographic group, they should try not to do it in a condescending way; if they flub it up, they have to take the hit.

    • squrl says:

      @fall_farewell: Motrin also makes baby Motrin, and lots of other products for infants and toddlers, not just the adult Motrin. I think that baby-wearing moms make up more of their market than you may think. I am more offended by the dumbed down language – the word “totally” in particular. Is this what mom’s who wear slings are supposed to sound like?

  19. Anonymous says:

    As a non-babywearing non-mother who tends to mock silly trends trends herself, I thought this was another case of a people getting their feathers ruffled over some imagined slight.

    Then I watched it.

  20. exconsumer9 says:

    Yeah but . . . it’s still a load of weight that’s offcenter from your body. It’s going to cause pain or strain somewhere eventually. It’s inevitable unless you’ve got a daily exercise routine that can straighten you back out.

    My backpack is the most convenient way to carry some of my heavy stuff, and it distributes weight pretty well, but it does not make it disappear. I can feel full well that I’m off balance.

    If you’re carrying your baby, and you get some back pain, and you want some painkillers for it, get over yourself, and take some.

  21. illtron says:

    Dumbest thing to get bent out of shape about ever.

  22. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    It might not be a huge deal but does that mean people shouldn’t complain about it at all? It’s not like they were carrying torches and pitchforks in front of corporate headquarters. They complained on Twitter.

  23. bdsakx says:

    As a graphic designer, I must say I really enjoyed watching the narrative typography animation in this video. Forget the message — that was a cool video!

  24. slymaple01 says:

    The ads maker should have looked at asian countries where this is not a fashion but rather the norm. It is the most convenient way to carry your baby second to pushing a stroller. And no, motrin is not the number one pain reliever sold in those countries.

  25. morganlh85 says:

    I thought the ad was kinda cute. Maybe in reality those moms’ backs hurt so bad they have become more easily offended.

  26. says:

    i’d imagine that there are some people that do it for looks, the same way many people have taken up yoga and “don’t eat red meat” because it’s trendy.

    • eukaryote says:


      As for the story are you telling me that a small “group” of people bitched on the intertubes about a pain pill add. .

      Honestly unless you make fun of people for something they can’t change (race, ethnicity, gender) I see no reason to apologize.

  27. WorthingtonBanks says:

    I have to say, I babywear all 3 kids in various carriers, and it is much easier on the back once you are used to it than a stroller is. It’s also much easier to get around in stores and what not. I haven’t watched the ad, but it seems to be a stupid business practice to focus an ad at a specific group and then not preview that ad to that group before sending it to mass media.

    Just my $.02 anyway.

  28. n0ia says:

    I’m offended because it implies that moms are the only parent that wears the baby.

    I used to carry my son around all the time in a Snugli carrier. I didn’t feel any pain though. In fact it was quite comfortable.

  29. dgsaunders says:

    Howabout instead of ranting… just… don’t buy Motrin! Sheesh…

  30. failurate says:

    Maybe their target was the people that make fun of the people that wear babies? Seriously, which is a bigger group? It would be a waste of money to target just baby wearers with a national campaign.

  31. Anonymous says:

    There is nothing in this world more annoying than a privileged yuppie baby factory with a cause. For chrissakes, it’s a shame Darfur didn’t say something vaguely annoying about breast feeding – somebody might have given a crap.

    Then again, getting all butthurt over a pain reliever ad is a better way to spend your (apparently abundant) spare time than stopping a machete massacre anyway. Those things are depressing. Oh look! BRIGHT SHINY OBJECT!

  32. MercuryPDX says:

    Parody vids… right on schedule.

  33. Failsafe says:

    National Baby Wearing Week? Really?

  34. LintySoul says:

    I’m glad to see that ‘wearing’ a baby is becoming the hip and popular thing to do. I’m all for everyone wearing their respective babies until they are just too damn big to wear anymore.I’m also for the breast feeding anywhere anytime until baby or mom wants to stop.
    Maybe if we overly shower babies in attention and physical contact they won’t grow up to be insecure and then become easy prey for bizarre advertisements that manipulate people.
    And I’d rather go get a massage than pop some strange pills.

  35. tweemo says:

    Unrelated to the ad but, carrying your baby in a sling may be the best way, but calling it “babywearing” is creepy. Much like “attachment parenting” and “pillow angel”. The world is getting really bad at naming things.

  36. Brazell says:

    Too bad this commercial got that reaction, it’s a good ad and probably appeals to a lot of down to earth new moms. It’s the ones who literally think that holding your baby in your arms is turning them into malcontented businessmen, as opposed to their new age happiness message, that are ruining what is an otherwise well done and clever commercial.

  37. Anonymous says:

    The problem with the Motrin ad is that they advertise their idiocy. Anyone who practices any form of attachment parenting (of which babywearing is one aspect) can recognize the ignorance of the Motrin ad a mile off. The problem lies in that Motrin is advertising that they have insider knowledge about a particular lifestyle, and they really don’t. That’s offensive. It would be more offensive if it weren’t so stupid, but it’s so painfully obvious that whoever wrote it has never been pregnant (far more discomfort that babywearing, LOL), much less practiced attachment parenting. We have a word for that kind of thing around here: POSER. And people who are posers in order to get in your wallet are rightfully considered despicable….

  38. dumblonde says:

    I just think the ad is horribly annoying

  39. Meathamper says:

    So… they made an ad for their own product…and they don’t know how it works?

    What’s next, selling me a car without testing if the airbags don’t kill me?