Julie Roehm | Marketing + Strategy

Fearless in the face of marketing complexity

Tag: Brand Stories

“Thanks Mom!” – Procter & Gamble Co.

“Yours is the reflection I wish to see when I look into the mirror”

When I saw P&G’s “Thank you moms” campaign and I realized that an artist does not become an artist only by years of practice he becomes one the day his mother praises his work as a child; an athlete does not excel at sport only because he works hard, but also because his mother was always there on the finish line with the belief that her child could do it ; a writer does not become a story teller only by painting the imagination with words, he becomes one the day his mother told him his first bedtime story. We learned to stand up after every fall because our mothers were there to pick us up.

That’s the near-universal story Procter & Gamble revealed to the world in 2010; all that we are or all that we’ll ever be is because of our mothers. Thank you moms, for picking us when we fell and for always telling us to be strong.

Thank You Mom” campaign was not the result of strategy or creativity but of opportunity.

In 2009 P&G learned that it could avail the chance of a sponsorship deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee for the 2010 Winter Games. Kirk Perry, then P&G’s top North American marketing executive and now a top Google sales executive commented that the team had to come up with an arresting idea over the weekend, they had to act fast because rival, Johnson and Johnson had caught all the sponsorship opportunities in the years before.

Common factor for a host of brands that ranges from Pampers diapers to and Olay skincare is Mothers. Moms were the primary consumer target thus the campaign was decided to be focused on mothers.   The company made the decision on that weekend, and in less than a year the program was being implemented.

Procter & Gamble thanks moms

Not thanked: Dads

Due to time shortage, P&G Global Brand Building Officer Marc Pritchard decided to put out a challenge for which Wieden & Kennedy returned with the winning ideas, thus signing a major assignment and handling the corporate brand’s first global effort behind “Thank You Mom” campaign during the Vancouver Winter Games.

This campaign became popular with its “Raising an Olympian” video series and “Best Job” short film.

Those videos became a series of award-winning ads in an unprecedented ever-growing program starting with an 18-brand effort P&G planned on a really 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. And when they know P&G has all these brands, they feel better about P&G.”- Mr.Pritchard

Impact of this speed dialed global campaign :

1)“Thank You Mom” added an incremental $500 million to P&G sales during the 2012 London Olympics

2) Won creative awards which included 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 show that the campaign constantly built the company’s brand awareness and equity scores.

3)P&G and Wieden had the top four best-scoring ads for effectiveness from the 2014 games, with more than 25 million YouTube views between Feb. 7 and 10, 2014, it had quadrupled the number of the next six Olympic sponsors combined, including Visa and Samsung.

The Thanks Mom story did an elegant job of merging the Olympics, mothers (who buy lots of P&G products), and the umbrella brand that ties together their diverse products. The core of the campaign is the stories of the moms themselves, an elegant application of listening to customers and incorporating their stories in a B2C context.

DeBeers makes diamonds non-optional

“A Diamond is Forever

One of the more memorable slogans of twentieth century advertising, the statement which defined dreams: “A Diamond is Forever”.

De Beers started this campaign by presenting the idea that a diamond ring is a necessary luxury. Diamonds are not inherently especially rare or valuable by most measures. DeBeers used marketing and control over distribution to change diamonds into the ultimate expression of rare beauty and value.

N.W. Ayer created a situation where almost every person about to say their marriage vows would feel compelled to get a diamond engagement ring.

It’s an ingenious marketing technique. Ayer built his company from ground up with just a vision. He knew how to make an inexpensive object a psychological need and then manipulated the corresponding factors in his favor.

In the 20th century there were only 10% engagement rings which supported a diamond. Diamonds did not used to be such unattainable “stone of dreams”. They were relatively inexpensive, difficult to mine hence had little market supply resulting in low demand.

What Ayer did was he first monopolized the price of diamonds by buying coal mines during the time of economic turmoil, and maintained their supply in market. Then the important factor was of getting an ad agency. Since the country was already under the threat of war so Ayer looked for the country or countries where it was possible to sell his vision of the diamonds. Once he had found his target market he hired ad agency to help make the product a necessity in the minds of people. Thus emerged the slogan “Diamonds are forever”

Through advertising and maintaining the demand and supply of diamonds in his chosen market he built the ‘DeBeers diamonds’ which increased the sales of diamonds by 55% from 1938 to 1941 in the US.

Today a wedding is considered incomplete without a diamond ring!

Thoughts on Dove’s Brand Story

Old Dove Ad - Julie Roehm

“Historians and archaeologists will one day discover that the ads of our time are the richest and most faithful daily reflections any society ever made of its whole range of activities.”

-Marshall McLuhan

‘Elegance’, ‘Grace’ and ‘simplicity’ are the words used to explain beauty. But what does those words truly signify? When a woman believes in herself she’s able to conduct with grace and that grace gives elegance to personality. But how can a woman come to believe in herself? She’s able to believe in herself when she ‘admires’ all that she is. She ‘recognizes’ what she is and when she finds similar qualities in others she does not pity the other woman that “Oh she’s like me!” but is rather proud that “we belong to the same tribe”. When her simplicity is her treasure. Simplicity gives conviction, that conviction adds grace to conduct, that grace gives elegance to personality and together they all create beauty.

Dove found out this secret recipe for beauty and so in 2004 they made it their mission to make sure that women love what they are. Beauty isn’t just smooth fair skin. Beauty is a 60 year old carrying a characteristic glow on face despite the wrinkles. Beauty is making heads turn with your features despite the dark complexion. Beauty comes with loving yourself not others. If you are healthy than you are not ‘fat’, you are adorably chubby. It you are short than you are not a dwarf but you are the one who could do justice to high heels.

That’s the story Dove wrote with its “Real Beauty” campaign. In order to revive the brand, Dove’s PR firm Eldeman conducted a survey among more than 3000 women from 10 different countries and they discovered that only two to four percent of women thought that they were beautiful. This created a wonderful opportunity for executives to use the stories of their customers themselves – something I have discussed extensively. They had to find a way through which they could make women believe in themselves, which will make women rely on one product for a healthy skin rather than following one brand after another for their ambiguous promises. The only way to do that was to make them believe that beauty is approachable because “Beauty is You”

For 11 years, since the beginning of this campaign in 2004, Dove has aimed to celebrate natural physical differences held by all women and to encourage them to be confident, comfortable and happy with themselves. According to the records sales increased to $4 billion to date from $2.5 billion in the opening year of the campaign. This campaign also swept away a handful of ad awards for not just its innovative idea but also for its devotion to the cause.

This worldwide campaign included advertisements (real curves), videos (Evolution, Onslaught, Sketches), workshops, sleepover events, publication of a book and the production of a short film (Selfie) . Unilever emphasized on the overall project of ‘evolution of people’s common beliefs’ and widen perspectives of females and males alike of all ages.

We can’t just be getting people stirred up; awareness and conversation isn’t enough.  We actually have to do something to change what’s happening. We’re going to try to change a generation. You have to wait until they grow up to see what happens.” – Sharon McLeod, vice president Unilever

“Real Beauty” campaign have successfully increased the sales of Dove, entitled many awards to the brand and have helped increase women’s confidence. Harvard psychologist, Nancy Etcoff, researched and discovered that more women today describe beauty on a wider variety of qualities outside of just looks.