Here’s today’s Leo:
“A real idea has a power of its own and a life of its own.” — Leo Burnett
I’ve loved the P&G “Thank You Mom” campaign which they’ve been producing since the 2010 Winter Games. It’s clearly one of the greatest campaigns of the 21st century, and these tiny brilliant films which celebrate the Moms behind the athletes are truly inspired. I can’t get through any of them without crying — there are tear stains all over this post — and it’s so fantastic to see the celebration of the mindset training which Moms impart. It’s a bit of a funny campaign in that it just appears every two years for 3 weeks, and then disappears again — sort of like the Scottish town of Brigadoon which appears for only one day every 100 years — but for me its one of my favorite parts of the Olympics. The selling line is fantastic:
The hardest job in the world,
is the best job in the world.
Thank you, Mom.
Here’s to many more years of celebrating Moms:
Procter & Gamble Co.’s “Thank You Mom” campaign had its beginnings not so much in strategy or creativity as in opportunity.
Toward the end of Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley’s first term in 2009, P&G learned that it had the chance to sign a sweeping sponsorship deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee for the 2010 Winter Games. Rival Johnson & Johnson had locked up much of the sponsorship opportunities in prior years. But P&G had to act fast, essentially making the decision over a weekend, as Kirk Perry, then P&G’s top North American marketing executive and now a top Google sales executive, recounted in a talk to P&G alumni in 2012.
He and former North America Group President Ed Shirley, a Gillette veteran and later CEO of Bacardi, ultimately got Mr. Lafley to sign on to the idea. The normally deliberative company made the decision in that weekend, and in less than a year the program was being implemented.
What was the common denominator for a host of brands that ranged from Pampers diapers to Bounty paper towels and Olay skincare? All had moms as their primary consumer target. And truth be told, J&J had an ad campaign for its Johnson’s Baby brand around a similar concept of showing appreciation to moms of U.S. athletes which ran during the Beijing 2008 Summer Games.
With time short to create a campaign, P&G Global Brand Building Officer Marc Pritchard put out a challenge to all of P&G’s agencies at a summit, and Wieden & Kennedy came back with the winning ideas, he said in a 2010 interview. That resulted in Wieden getting its first major assignment for the company since P&G gave it the Old Spice business four years earlier — handling the corporate brand’s first global effort behind its “Thank You Mom” campaign during the Vancouver Winter Games.
What’s followed has been a series of tear-jerking, award-winning ads in an ever-growing program that far outpaced what P&G—and possibly anyone else—has done around the Olympics, starting with an 18-brand effort P&G put together on relatively short notice for 2010.
“We found a lot of times that when people know a brand is from P&G they feel better about the brand,” Mr. Pritchard said of the strategy behind the effort. “And when they know P&G has all these brands, they feel better about P&G.”
After the hurry-up affair in 2010, what followed was a bigger global effort behind “Thank You Mom” during the 2012 London Olympics that added an incremental $500 million to P&G sales, by its own account. Besides creative awards, that campaign won P&G a Gold Effie and the top 2013 Advertising Research Foundation Ogilvy Award for a research effort that used response to Wieden’s viral videos to help dictate rotation and weight of the TV advertising. P&G research has shown the campaign consistently building the company’s brand awareness and equity scores.
By the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, P&G clearly was blowing away all competition creatively and in public consciousness.
P&G and Wieden had the top four best-scoring ads for effectiveness from the 2014 games, according to the Ace Metrix online consumer tracking panel. And with more than 25 million YouTube views between Feb. 7 and 10, 2014, P&G had more than quadruple the number of the next six Olympic sponsors combined, including Visa and Samsung.
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