P&G looks to engage British public in Rio Olympics with renewed ‘Thank you, mum’ push

Roisin Donnelly, P&G’s brand director for Northern Europe, admitted to Marketing Week that it will be more challenging to engage the British public for the Rio Olympics with its latest ‘Thank you, mum’ campaign but that British patriotism and a unified brand approach will cut through.

It is rolling out latest phase of its ‘Thank you, mum’ campaign today (27 April) by focusing on mothers’ strength ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics, which is set to kick off in 100 days. The last summer Olympics were held in London four years ago.

“It will be different. London being the host was an extraordinary experience that we won’t repeat. But we at P&G are adopting the same campaign and working with our brands, making sure that we do engage the great British public,” she said.

“The media partners will play a huge role as well. We’ll get fantastic coverage on the BBC and Channel 4 showing the Paralympics. People will be there cheering the team on and I think we’re very patriotic, which is important as well. Mums and dads and non-parents will be cheering on Team GB to do the best they can.”

The new campaign video ‘Strong’ builds on P&G’s previous Olympic Games campaigns, ‘Pick Them Back Up’, ‘Kids’ and ‘Best Job’, with a new take on the role mums play in their children’s lives. It will appear in full form digitally as a two-minute video or in short form on television in more than 30 countries.

The campaign was created in response to brand research that found motherhood requires a “new kind of strength”, with nearly all mums (97%) admitting they did not anticipate the demands of motherhood. The majority agreed they needed to develop greater emotional strength once they became a mum.

Speaking at the unveiling of the campaign yesterday (26 April), brand ambassador and Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill, who now herself is a mum, said: “There have been lots of times in training when you feel ‘I don’t know if I can do this anymore’. You’re really fatigued physically and mentally, preparing for an Olympic Games is a really stressful thing and you think to yourself ‘Can I do this?’ or ‘Do I want to do this?’

“My mum always just says ‘You can do it, it is going to be hard but if you have a hard journey to something, that’s not plain sailing, then the end point is always that much sweeter when you are successful.”

The ad follows the Olympic Games journeys of four mums and their children, showing the moments when a mother’s strength makes all the difference. As part of the marketing activity, P&G brands will partner with Olympians and their mums on their journey to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games across 21 countries. Here in the UK, the athlete and mum partnership is Jessica Ennis-Hill and her mum Alison Powell.

Why ‘Thank you, mum’ works

Roisin Donnelly, P&G’s brand director for Northern Europe, told Marketing Week that its ‘Thank you, mum’ platform has proven to work over the years as it resonated with consumers.

“P&G is about something that other sponsors can’t do, which is about making life easier [for mums]. And secondly, the mum is there in the background, and [people] don’t say thank you enough. So that’s really worked,” she explained.

“We have great data pre and post the London 2012 Olympics that the campaign really did resonate. People remembered it, associated it with P&G and when you have all the Olympic coverage with many different top sponsors and individual people, it was a campaign that stood out. It’s different, nobody did it before and so it really stood out, which we’re proud of.”

Besides an overarching P&G ad for the Olympics, Donnelly added that some brands, including Always, will also have standalone campaigns, which the company will be unveiling over the next couple of months.

“Some of our brands will also have their own Olympic message. Always is one example, so you will see another Like a Girl campaign that we’re putting the finishing touches to which is a standalone campaign,” she commented.

There has been a recent shift, particularly among sports brands, to pick brand ambassadors that are pop culture icons including Rihanna or reality stars such as Kylie Jenner. Earlier this year, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) was accused of a doping cover-up, which saw Russia banned from all athletics competitions due to widespread doping use. While Donnelly could not comment on the doping scandal she insisted that athletes are still commercially viable.

She concluded: “They are aspirational role models to people of all ages, they’re winners and people who really push themselves, set targets and get great results. Sport is very universal and has great TV audiences – everybody will be watching the Olympics this summer. So it’s very inclusive.”



There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Austin Brailey 27 Apr 2016

    Jessica Ennis-Hill must surely be the perfect choice for the ‘Thank you, mum’ campaign. Kudos P&G! Interesting point re the shift among sports brands to pick brand ambassadors that are not athletes – such as Rihanna and Puma. I hadn’t even noticed tbh which I find odd in itself.

  2. justforlaugs 2013 16 Aug 2016

    Simply Brilliant!

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