P&G’s “Thank You Mom” Olympic marketing program was a brilliant effort to draw on a universal human value to create a program with energy, relevance and emotion that spanned brands and countries. Plus, it’s ongoing with a life beyond one Olympic Games.
In my book, Spanning Silos, I noted that brand and country silos have advantages. They are close to market and product technologies, they promote accountability, and they encourage decisive decisions. But they simply don’t work in today’s environment. One reason is that brand messaging, especially as it is spread through global digital communities, is hard to confine to local markets. As a result, a brand that has different local positions can become confused. A second reason is that the necessary scale of advertising, promotions, and big idea brand building are virtually unavailable when local brand building dominates.
So how might firms deal with the silo issue? The organizational answer is to overlay coordination and communication between silos. The brand building answer is to find driving ideas in the form of human values that are universal, that everyone can relate to. That answer could be found in education, health issues, water conservation or others, but it needs to apply to all silos and be capable of maintaining relevance over time.
P&G’s “Thank you Mom” campaign uses both answers to conduct a successful cross-silo global marketing campaign. Applied at the Vancouver games of 2010 and the Special Olympics of 2011, it made its major push during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It’s all about celebrating what moms do and thanking them for their efforts, their care and their achievements.
The campaign came to life with the short film, “Best Job” that touches the heart and celebrates the role that moms play in raising Olympians and great kids. There were also videos of the moms of some of the 150 athletes sponsored by P&G brands. A mom was shown watching their child excel through an exceptional performance or by medaling an event. The campaign was promoted through a host of media channels. A companion in-store worldwide retailer program was enacted five months before the London games and involved four million retailers. It was tied to an effort to raise over 25 million dollars to support youth sports programs that would aid both the Olympics and moms everywhere. The promotions involved some 34 P&G brands including Tide/Ariel, Pantene, Pampers, and Gillette. There was a “Thank You Mom” app that allowed people to thank their own moms with personalized content in the form of a video.
The marketing program was a winner for several reasons, besides the facts that it scaled over dozens of brand silos and many countries and was estimated to have generated $500 million in sales. It provided the prestige and energy of being involved in the Olympics, plus the “feel-good” aspect of supporting youth sports. Further, the connection with real moms provided a hearty dollop of authenticity and emotion. It’s easy to empathize with moms that have fed babies, provided lunches, supported at swim meets, bandaged skinned knees, attended recitals and shared in the joy of winning gold at the Olympics. Everyone has a mother, and everyone can relate to the best aspects of a mom’s role.
If your firm has the all-too common problem of attempting to achieve synergy when there are multiple brands, most of which also span products and countries, you might look at the P&G “Thank You, Mom” program for inspiration.
MMK (Marina Maher and Ketchum) and P&G
P&G Thank You, Mom Campaign
For the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Procter & Gamble reinvigorated its Thank You, Mom campaign, introducing the world to its Raising an Olympian film series, which chronicled the journeys of 28 world-class athletes and moms.
With one month left before the Olympics, the CPG giant premiered the Pick Them Back Up video ahead of its presence in Sochi. Securing exclusives with Mashable and The Huffington Post, coverage of the powerful clip set off a chain of media placements for P&G.
In Sochi, the company had 17 brands featured in 54 events and moms were treated to 1,200 hours of pampering from brands including Pantene and Olay. Not to feel left out, Gillette, Head & Shoulders, and Braun were on hand to groom dads.
P&G realized that behind every athlete who worked to earn a spot at the Olympic Games, there is a mom who was integral to their success. So, for every sponsored athlete, P&G would also champion their mom at the P&G Family Home, which was the epicenter of content creation for the company’s social media properties and served as home away from home for athletes and their families.
"This program is the most memorable campaign from the Olympics," said one judge.
The results greatly exceeded expectations. Broadcast placements in target-rich consumer media brought the company’s brands to life at the Games as the CPG giant garnered 25 billion impressions and 146 million digital views globally.
P&G enjoyed a 38% Twitter engagement rate during the Sochi Olympics, as well as a 25% uptick in followers on social media across all brands.
Moreover, consumers identified relatively new Olympic sponsor P&G as one of the top two to four sponsors – lagging only behind longtime partners Visa, McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola – depending on the region.
"A terrific effort," noted a second judge. "What better way to endear a company to its primary purchaser than giving thanks to moms."
MSLGroup and P&G/Always
Always #LikeAGirl: Turning an Insult into a Confidence Movement
With help from MSLGroup, Always sought to reach Millennial women by turning the insulting phrase "like a girl" from a nasty taunt to an empowering rallying cry. Combined with a video package – the campaign’s centerpiece – high-profile celebrities including Chelsea Clinton, Sarah Silverman, and Bella Thorne tweeted, leveraging the hashtag #LikeAGirl and lending their support to the effort.
The results were overwhelming as the video garnered 76 million YouTube views and 4.5 billion global media impressions. "This was an amazing effort with so much more potential," said one judge.