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Johnson & Johnson provided an unanticipated demonstration of the increasing influence of social media this week, when it pulled an ad for its Motrin pain reliever from the brand’s website — and a marketing VP issued a statement apologizing for the ad. The reason? Some blogging and Twitter-ing moms had denounced the Motrin ad campaign — which suggested that carrying a baby in a sling or carrier is fashionable yet might cause back pain — and a video of mothers’ critical comments appeared on YouTube. Not exactly the kind of viral marketing companies aim for — but nonetheless a cautionary lesson in the increasing power of social media to cause corporations to change course. As Advertising Age reported in an article about the controversy:
“We now have indisputable proof that online marketing, YouTube and Twitter and all that it encompasses is meaningful and has arrived,” said Gene Grabowski, chair of the crisis and litigation practice at Levick Strategic Communications.