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COLUMN: Proctor and Gamble nails another #ThankYouMom ad



Proctor & Gamble recently released its #ThankYouMom ad for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympic Games. 

This short video was focused around the theme of “love over bias,” highlighting mothers who have supported children through their differences — whether it be race, disability or religion. 

Past “Thank you, Mom” commercials have highlighted strength, tough love and unconditional support as themes of motherhood. 

Every time one of these ads comes out, it highlights mothers of different nationalities supporting children in their respective sports. Ingeniously, the theme of these commercials subtly triggers connections to Proctor & Gamble's products. 

This sweet spot among promoting Proctor & Gamble's brand, targeting its primary customer base and making a social statement is something few firms have been able to achieve successfully. The “Thank you, Mom” campaign achieves a rare heart-tugging, socially aware message that other companies should look to emulate. 

Proctor & Gamble's focus as the “sponsor of moms” serves two important functions. First, everyone has or has had a mother. Appreciation for the selflessness of mothers is a concept that a large amount of people around the world understand and identify with. 

People of different creeds, colors and family structures can largely relate to or understand the strength and sacrifice of motherhood. 

Secondly, many of Proctor & Gamble's brands target the mom demographic as their target customer base. Proctor & Gamble owns brands such as Pampers, Pantene, Mr. Clean, Downy and Febreze.

By championing the work of mothers, Proctor & Gamble catapults itself into the good graces of its primary customer base, therefore advertising for almost all of its products in one commercial. 

Proctor & Gamble also makes social statements through these commercials without calling one group out or staking a political claim. 

The company has released campaigns such as “like a girl,” focusing on gender inequality, as well as a more controversial ad called “the talk,” focusing on their #MyBlackIsBeautiful campaign. 

While these have been criticized for pushing a political agenda, the #ThankYouMom ads put its social message in the background and focus more on the relationship between mother and child. 

The most recent ad clearly sends a message celebrating diversity but is focused more on mothers’ love than prejudice and bias. The “tough love” commercial for the 2014 Paralympic Games highlighted the harsh reality those who are physically disabled face, but it champions mothers who push their children to succeed, regardless of their needs. 

This combination of celebrating the differences and common truths of motherhood, paired with subtle societal commentary, engrosses viewers to the point where people wait for Proctor & Gamble to release these Olympics-centered ads. So, congratulations to Proctor & Gamble for striking this fascinating marketing balance.

It will be very interesting to see if another company is able to find this creative sweet spot.

ccarigan@indiana.edu
@carmesanchicken
 

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