Even before the opening of the 2012 London Olympic Games, P&G’s campaign won the gold medal in the race for the mothers’ hearts. Five unique components of this social campaign
P&G, The global FMCG mega-brand, created successful cause marketing campaigns in the past, such as Pampers' "One Pack = One Vaccine" or Dawn helps Save Wildlife, but the current campaign has a number of unique characteristics. Here is a short review of them:
1. Faster, higher, stronger campaign
The current P&G campaign deals with honoring the mothers of Olympic athletes, and is based on cooperation with the International Olympic Committee. It was launched leading up to the Olympic Winter Games in 2010 and committed to providing sponsorship for the three Summer and Winter Olympics; in other words, this is a long-term move.
The campaign combines 3 distinct types of activity
1. Classic commercial activity, such as providing sponsorship to athletes and broadcasts
2. Classic social investment activity, such as financial supporting local youth sports organizations for kids around the world
3. Social marketing activity, with the aim of creating social awareness and a new global discussion topic. This activity is performed by using short videos (more than 20 million views on YouTube to date), an application for sending messages to thank the mothers, and other additional content, mainly on Facebook, YouTube and other websites.
2. Ingenious originality
The marketing people at P&G succeeded in identifying a “transparent" social issue – the kind that despite the fact that it is significant to a large part of the population, it doesn't receive enough public attention, i.e. it’s "a non-issue".
The issue is the great deal of effort that mothers invest in raising their children, and in the endless work at home involved in doing so – all taken for granted by family members and the society as a whole. After identifying the issue, they focused the media spotlight on it, and created a discussion (that is, they made it "an issue").
The campaign honors mothers for the fact that they “give their entire world in order to fulfill their children’s dreams”. It is almost certain that for many mothers around the world – this is the first time that someone has thanked them for their work, which is taken for granted.
The ingenuity of the campaign lies in the connection between this social issue and the Olympics, by focusing on the athletes’ mothers. Although this is a logical connection, it isn’t a trivial or an expected one, and as such it is so inspiring and moving.
From the moment a brand recognizes a non-issue and raises the flag correctly and consistently – it becomes identified with it, and it can lead the issue for years. As Dove raised the flag of self-esteem for young girls, P&G has raised the flag of honoring and empowering mothers.
3. Empowering consumers
The connection the campaign makes between the dedication and efforts of the athletes’ mothers, and the success of their children, empowers not only these mothers, but each and every mother in the world.
Empowerment is a wonderful way to make people feel good, and to enhance the feeling that somebody cares about them – even if this "somebody" is an FMCG brand.
The Olympic Games is a global event that highlights the uniqueness of the various countries participating. P&G’s 'Thank you mom' campaign is also global, a dimension that gives it incredible power.
It is also expressed locally in 130 countries where the brand operates. The localization is portrayed, for instance, on local websites in 34 countries, by using the local language and by supporting local athletes. The localization increases the ability of mothers from any county to identify with the message (and with the brand that carries that message).
5. A corporate campaign, not a brand campaign
Usually, cause marketing campaigns are created for one brand, in order to distinguish it from competitors, and in order to create consumer preference for it when making purchasing decisions; the Pampers campaign, for instance. The current campaign is exceptional in that it was created for a corporate brand.
Lital Asher-Dotan, Israel Open Innovation Leader and External Relations at P&G, explains the considerations behind this choice: “We understood that people consider it important to know who the corporation behind the brand is, and what values make the corporation unique. Since the P&G Corporation is very familiar to consumers only in the United States, and not in the rest of the world, we saw the Olympics as an opportunity for a glocal event that will enable us to present the P&G Corporation and its values to consumers around the world.”
And if we were so moved by this campaign, it is interesting to see how P&G will set new records of excitement and engagement in the next Olympics Games.