If you watched even a moment of the 2012 Summer Olympics, you were undoubtedly exposed to the Procter and Gamble “Thank You, Mom” campaign. It was all over, to say the least. Even as a single mom, my first thought upon seeing that the company had branded itself as the “Proud sponsor of Moms” was “what about dad?”
It became quickly apparent to me that dad had no place in the “Thank You, Mom” campaign. If this offended me (and it did), I wondered how it must be effecting families made up of a mom and dad? And how about those single dads out there?
I imagined widespread boycotts of Procter and Gamble products, apologies from the company for forgetting dad, and a general “flop” of the campaign. Obviously, I was in need of some online branding lessons, because I couldn’t have been more wrong.
As I started to look around online for reactions to this bold campaign, what I saw was 95% positive. People were gushing about how “heartwarming” the commercials were, and how you couldn’t watch them without shedding a tear.
And make no mistake about it, this campaign was all about moms. If you have any reservations about this, just check out the company’s popular Facebook and Twitter presence.
The word “mom” or “moms” appears 5 times in the cover photo alone. The slogan “Proud Sponsor of Moms” says it all. This is a marketing campaign for moms.
Twitter tells the same story:
As you can see, the mom lovefest was popular. The Facebook Page gathered 769,758 likes. And 35,298 followed on Twitter. And again, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
So, What About the Dads?
I don’t know if Procter and Gamble anticipated that their Olympic campaign might cause some backlash from the dads, or if they planned out a response only after a small ripple of discontent emerged. Either way, their response was notably weak.
On August 11, the company posted this on the Facebook Page:
P&G honored dads in London with a “Cheers To Dad” event at the P&G Family Home. Check out this video of the special celebration!
The video was a 3-plus minute interview of 2012 Olympic basketball player Tyson Chandler at the one-time “Cheers to Dad” event, which was held in the Gillette Lounge at the P&G Family Home. By the way, the Gillette Lounge is referred to as the “man cave,” presumably because at their actual family homes dads hang out in their “man cave” while the moms raise the Olympians.
This post prompted 1,016 likes and only 5 negative comments.
The only other mention of dad was P&G’s reference to a Gillette commercial honoring dad. The company was quick to cite to the commercial whenever a complaint surfaced, but as at least two viewers noted, the “commercial” was a YouTube video and never actually aired during the Olympics.
Judging from the positive responses to these two mentions of dad, this was apparently enough for most people to satisfy any objection to leaving dad completely out of this marketing campaign.
Why Did This Online Branding Work for P&G?
I would call Procter and Gamble’s Olympic marketing campaign a smashing success. Branding themselves as the “Proud sponsor of Moms” worked. Despite the fact that there are a lot of dads out there who have just as much if not more responsibility for their child’s successes. And the fact that millions of those dads watched the Olympics.
Which leaves me with the question, “why did it work?” The answer lies in who Procter and Gamble is.
The list of brands owned by Procter and Gamble is almost overwhelming. Everything from toothpaste, to laundry detergent, to dog food – and much, much more – carries the P&G logo. And, generally speaking, women are the ones doing the shopping and buying these type of products for the family home.
I hate it that I said that, but it’s true. Although some recent surveys indicate up to 38% of the men are doing the household shopping, it is safe to say that the majority of the people buying P&G products are women. So P&G decided to market to women. And women liked it. It made them feel good about Procter and Gamble products. Desired result achieved.
So What Does This Teach YOU About Online Branding?
I think it’s safe to say that we would do well to take some online branding lessons from this company that’s obviously doing something right when it comes to branding itself, and to making money. Yes, they’re a huge company and you’re one person. But the online branding lessons remains true. Here they are:
1. You can’t please everyone, so don’t even try.
2. No matter what your product is, it’s not for everyone. Trying to make it for everyone will give your branding the excitement of plain toast.
3. Figure out your target market and go boldly after it. Don’t worry about the exception that “might” be a good fit for your product or service.
4. If you can nail who your target market is, and provide them with a message that makes them feel good, you will make a lot of money.
5. You need to have a “billboard message.” Not a 2 minute explanation of who you are, but something your market could see, read and completely understand in the time it takes them to drive by a billboard.
“Proud sponsor of Moms,” and “Thank You, Mom” embody all of these lessons. P&G doesn’t care if I don’t like them. Scanning their list of products, I couldn’t identify one I bought before their Olympic marketing campaign anyway. They are right to ignore my complaints (sadly). Just as you must ignore the naysayers who don’t fit within your target market.
I’d love to know what you think. Has looking at P&G’s Olympic marketing campaign and online branding been helpful to these considerations in your business? Please share in the comments.