It is always a pleasure to highlight some impressive marketing to Moms and even better to be able to identify several important marketing lessons.

Strategically timed, 100 days before the beginning of the Summer Olympic Games in London and in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day in the US, P&G just launched a global “Thank you, Mom” campaign with the following commentary: “At P&G we know that getting to the Olympic Games begins at childhood and that on each of these athletes’ journeys to London 2012, there was one person cheering for them louder than anyone…their moms. P&G is in the business of helping moms, not just moms of Olympians, all moms, all around the world. So we’re using our voice at the Olympic Games to thank moms everywhere.”  

The dollar figures supporting this monumental effort, quoted to be the biggest in the company history, are truly impressive, however, this investment is fully expected to pay off in hard sales. We don’t doubt it.

To clarify, P&G didn’t just launch this effort. The company laid the foundation for a much bigger and, as it now seems, brilliant strategic platform in 2010 during Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.  At the time, the focus of their advertising campaign was on highlighting the role of mothers in grooming an Olympic athlete.  A series of touching ads ended with a powerful tagline: “To their moms, they will always be kids…”  As part of their Olympic sponsorship and one of their many associated initiatives, P&G also helped Moms of Olympic athletes defray the costs of travel to attend the games.  In our practice, we often cited their sponsorship and ad campaign as a great example of a company creating a powerful long term connection with their #1 target audience.

Fast forward two years and P&G has demonstrated that they know how to polish a gem. They appear to have perfected the campaign in terms of its messaging and optimized its reach, not only in terms of number of countries the campaign will touch, but also in terms of channels and tactics being deployed. We especially like the Thank Your Mom app featured on their facebook page, where fans are encouraged to acknowledge their own Mom by “by uploading personalized content in the form of a video, still image with caption or text-based message. Users will then be able to encourage friends and family to do the same, spreading the word to thank and celebrate moms.” It is fun, interactive, engaging and spot on in terms of supporting their strategy.

As marketers to Moms, we applaud P&G’s efforts, even thought some critics point out that the commercial is too stereotypical and lacks in diversity, portraying only stay-at-home Moms doing laundry, dishes and making beds while selflessly doing whatever it takes to support their blossoming athlete. Perhaps. While P&G may have failed to portray a range of Mom lifestyles, they certainly succeeded in showcasing common traits of Moms from many different countries, economic and cultural backgrounds, crystilizing the Mom-reality and commonality that “the best job in the world is also the hardest job in the world.”

We cannot help pointing several broader lessons:

  1. The importance of showing and communicating the appreciation for your customer base, be it Moms or not. Many companies think they are accomplishing this by offering coupons, free shipping or any other cleverly designed promotion, but what we mean is that you need to say it: directly, simply, loudly and clearly.
  2. The power of consistency in deeply seeding a messaging strategy. It is certainly paying off for P&G, but this is important for companies big and small alike.
  3. Going beyond the obvious. A common Olympics positioning is focused on athletes (their struggles, accomplishments, etc.), but P&G thought outside the box and focused on the Mom behind the athlete. In addition to finding a golden key to Moms’ hearts, this move left them playing in the space that has not been touched by competitors.