“It takes someone strong, to make someone strong”
Proctor & Gamble (P&G) have just launched their Olympic advertising campaign, Strong, 100 days out from the start of the games. This is the third instalment of their Thank-you Mum campaign, with the first commencing at London 2012 following a successful first outing with the Olympics in Vancouver 2010 (Manca, 2015).
P&G’s Thank-you Mum campaign employs an Affective Advertising Strategy aimed at affecting emotions to enhance attitudes and positive associations about the brand (Iacobucci, 2013).
A mother’s love is a universal emotion (Machleit – cited by Coolidge, 2014), relatable for everyone. While previous campaigns have showcased the sacrifice and effort mothers have put in to support their kids sporting endeavours, the current campaign focuses on them being rocks for their kids, not just in sport but beyond in everyday life showcasing later how this transfers to the athlete’s ability to perform under pressure at the highest level of sport (Nudd 2016).
In making the media decisions regarding this campaign P&G would have considered the standard questions of ‘When to Schedule?’, ‘Which Media?’ and ‘How Much to Spend?’ and they seem to have hit the nail on the head with all their answers.
To run a campaign targeted at women that has a sport focus such as this, the Olympics is a natural choice. Olympics have the highest viewership of females than any sporting event and make up 50% of the total viewers over the games (Elliott, 2008). And while they released it exactly 100 days out from the games, it conveniently coincided with Mother’s Day for another little pull on the heart strings.
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is the guiding principle companies follow when communicating with their target markets, it attempts to create a cohesive message across the various elements of the promotional mix (Boone & Kurtz – cited in Mangold & Faulds 2009). With the rise of social media, consumers have changed how they access information and consume sport, therefore companies needed to evolve and spread their advertising messages across multiple platforms of media utilising more than ever IMC. Since entering the social media arena P&G have “carefully crafted their communications with the marketplace to consistently reflect their organisational values” (Mangold & Faulds 2009). This campaign continues their consistent while appearing across multiple channels including TV, YouTube & Facebook.
Mangold & Faulds claim that social media has two interrelated promotional roles in the marketplace, firstly it opens communication between the company and the consumer and secondly it facilities conversations between consumers (2009). The latter is what has worked in P&G’s favour with the ‘Thank-you, Mum’ campaign capitalising on the concept of things “going viral”. Within two weeks of posting online the ad has had over 13 million views on YouTube, to go along with another 1.5 million views and 30,000 shares on Facebook.
The other strong elements of this campaign worth discussing is their Public Relations (PR) & partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Publicity is effectively a ‘free’ communication tool, however the negative is the message can’t be controlled. With the launch of this campaign a number of publications and online media’s picked up on the story and sung it’s praises (click here and here for examples).
P&G’s sponsorship of the Olympic Games is the final important element of this campaign. Corporate sponsorship of sport is increasing in attraction in certain countries due to the importance the culture places on competition, entertainment and accomplishment (McCook – cited by Mason, 2005). Sport raises irrational passions for sporting teams, competitions and athletes (Hoye et al 2006 p.4) and sponsors aim to link the positive emotions around sporting events with their brand in what is referred to as the ‘halo effect’ (Mason 2005).
There is no doubt this is an emotional campaign that would bring tears to the eyes whether run in a sport context or not, however the added emotions of sport and excitement around the Olympics makes this a gold medal winning campaign.
Elliott, S 2008 ‘Olympics Draw High Percentage of Women Viewers, and Ads Intended for Them’, New York Times, 18 August, retrieved 9 May 2016
Coolidge, A 2014, ‘P&G aims for moms’ heart with latest ‘Thank You’ ad’, USA Today, 8 January, retrieved 9 May 2016 < http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/01/08/pg-olympics-thank-you-ad/4380229/>
Hoye, R, Smith, A, Westerbeek, H, Stewart, B & Nicholson, M 2006, Sport Management Principles and Applications, Elsevier Ltd, Burlington.
Iacobucci, D 2013, MM4, Student edition, South Western, Mason.
Manca, K 2015, ‘P&G’s Olympic Campaign, 2010-2020’, Ation, 24 February, retrieved 9 May 2016 < http://ation.digitalmediauconn.org/pgs-olympic-campaign-2010-2020/>
Mangold, W.G & Faulds, DJ 2009 ‘Social media: The new hybrid element of the promotion mix’, Business Horizons, vol. 53, no. 4, retrieved 9 May 2016 <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0007681309000329>
Mason, K 2005 ‘How Corporate Sport Sponsorship Impacts Consumer Behaviour’, The Journal of American Academy of Business, vol. 7, no. 1 retrieved 9 May 2016 < http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.391.9812&rep=rep1&type=pdf>
Nudd, T 2016, ‘P&G Raises the Stakes in Its Latest, Darkly Brilliant ‘Thank You, Mom’ Masterpiece’, Ad Week, 27 April, retrieved 9 May 2016 < http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/pg-raises-stakes-its-latest-darkly-brilliant-thank-you-mom-masterpiece-171098>
She-conomy 2009, Marketing to Women Quick Facts, She-conomy, retrieved 9 May 2016 < http://she-conomy.com/facts-on-women>
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