Procter & Gamble launched their largest campaign in brand-history during the 2012 London Olympics in attempt to break through a world stage of messaging clutter. Rather than focusing on the hundreds of athletes, they chose to emphasize the mothers behind the Olympians. Their theory was that behind every amazing athlete, there was an even more amazing mom. One hundred days prior to the opening ceremony, the campaign officially began with “mom-umentaries” featuring Olympians’ mothers were distributed on TV but also online as sponsored content and video ads. These featured over 100 different Olympic athletes and their mothers. Below, the spot ‘Best Job’ was the advertisement that ran during actual Olympic Games.

This commercial was really just the launching pad for the successful part of the ‘Thank You, Mom’ campaign. Below is the recount of the basics of how the campaign expanded from there, straight from the responsible agency Wieden + Kennedy:

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Below is a screen-capture of what the ”Thank you, Mom’ Maker’ app looked like:


The campaign was wildly successful. P&G saw over 50,000 user-generated tributes. Not only is the volume of interaction phenomenal, but the quality and emotion behind each post is what P&G was truly proud of. The number of online engagements directly impacted the offline sales. According to this AdAge article, P&G estimated a $500 million in generated sales. Procter & Gamble’s Global Brand Building Office Marc Pritchard said, “Retailers that have activated the campaign with in-store displays tied to it have seen a 5% to 20% sales lift for P&G products in the three- or four-week Olympic merchandising period”. This case study is  perfect example to shut down the theory that digital tactics cannot directly impact sales.

It’s been almost a year after the campaign launch, and the ‘Thank You, Mom’ campaign is still alive. Not only is their Facebook page active, but their Twitter stream has over 34,000 followers. P&G is maintaining their already established channels, but they are expanding as well. Recently on their Twitter stream, ‘Thank You, Mom’ has utilized Vine to capture ‘Mom Wisdom’.

As a young professional in this field, I have two key take aways from the ‘Thank you, Mom’ campaign.

1) On a global stage, it is possible to appeal to everyone. Cross-cultural branding, even for international companies, is not a simple task. By using something universal, like motherhood, P&G created a campaign that tugged at heart strings in all corners of the world. They launched Facebook pages in 29 countries, furthering their global reach. Specific globalization tactics in combination with a truly universal theme is what made this campaign so successful.

2) An emotional appeal can be a very strong move. I personally remember seeing the ‘Best Job’ spot for the first time and tears streaming down my face. A historied brand like P&G could have easily rested on their laurels or played the ‘tradition’ card.  But the power of telling a story once again paid off. Another blogger explained the campaign best: “it provided the prestige and energy of being involved in the Olympics, plus the “feel-good” aspect of supporting youth sports. Further, the connection with real moms provided a hearty dollop of authenticity and emotion. It’s easy to empathize with moms that have fed babies, provided lunches, supported at swim meets, bandaged skinned knees, attended recitals and shared in the joy of winning gold at the Olympics. Everyone has a mother, and everyone can relate to the best aspects of a mom’s role.”

What was your reaction to the ‘Thank You, Mom’ campaign? Did you think it was successful in breaking through the Olympic clutter and reaching their audience? Let me know in the comments!