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'Mother Nature' Redux

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Natural remedy provider MotherNature.com this week unveils a $17 million multimedia effort from Ogilvy & Mather starring, appropriately enough, "Mother Nature," who discusses a variety of health topics with a decidedly off-kilter supporting cast.
"She's a modern, quirky Mother Nature," said Sharon Rice, vice president of brand marketing for the Concord, Mass.-based retailer of vitamins, supplements and related products.
In the 1970s, a more formidable Mother Nature became a pop culture icon in a long-running series of commercials for Chiffon margarine crafted by Cunningham & Walsh in New York. No effort was made by MotherNature.com to emulate those spots, which Rice said she did not screen when working with Ogilvy to create the current campaign.
The new work pairs the Mother Nature character with various sidekicks, including a man who has just sampled a natural sex enhancer from Peru and a supermodel suffering from foot fungus she claims she got from the hardships of life on the runway.
The effort runs without a specific tagline because, "Our tagline is our name," Rice said.
The campaign launches tomorrow and is slated to air during coverage of major events such as the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Ryder Cup golf and the Emmy Awards. Print and radio ads will break in a couple weeks.
The creative assignment was moved to New York-based Ogilvy from Cyrk, a promotions and marketing firm in Gloucester, Mass. [Adweek, March 22]. Neil Faber Media in New York had handled buying and planning chores, which Ogilvy later picked up as well.
Rice worked as an account manager at Ogilvy several years ago, and at the time of the agency switch she said Ogilvy was chosen based on its "reputation for brand building."
Working with a budget of around $8 million, Cyrk and Neil Faber earlier this year broke MotherNature.com's first ads, which included print, radio and transit executions branding the client as "Your healthy living headquarters." A characterization of Mother Nature did not appear.