The best mom advertising doesn't make women feel like buying a better product so much as it makes them feel like being a better mom. Better yet, it makes buying the product seem like a consequence of already being a better mom.
The new Luvs campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi in New York accomplishes the latter with humor, skill and grace. The spots are based around an arcane piece of Nielsen data—that second-time mothers are more likely than first-timers to buy Luvs. And everyone knows second-time moms are the epitome of grace under pressure, while first-time moms are ticking time-bombs of stress and anxiety. The ads illustrate this truism with humorous and relatable before-and-after scenes, showing moms' evolution from baby No. 1 to baby No. 2, from inept to expert—an evolution that includes buying Luvs the second time instead of whatever crappy brand they bought before.
The best of the four new spots is also the most provocative: "Breastfeeding" shows a mother doing just that in public. With her first child, she's seen fumbling with her "hooter hider," glancing around nervously as she tries to feed her baby. With the second child—well, she's a whole lot more comfortable, even if the waiter at the restaurant isn't.
The rest of the spots focus on other typical stress moments for moms—changing a baby in a public restroom, taking her temperature, getting packed up to go out for a walk—with the old-hat Luvs mom not just breezing more easily through parenthood but enjoying a whole new quality of life. The details across the campaign are hilarious—the reaction shot from the big brother in the breastfeeding ad, for example, or the enormous array of gear spread out on the floor in the "Park" spot. The acting, too, is top-notch, with amusing line deliveries in every one of the ads. And of course, the message is clear: Even if you're a first-time mom, you can act like you've done this before—with Luvs. (It's also worth noting that the breastfeeding spot is hardly risk-free. The comments on the Luvs website include angry remarks like, "Not an appropriate commercial. Very offensive." So, the campaign isn't just fluffy cultural humor either.)
Stepping back a little, though, the data nugget on which the campaign is based seems suspicious. Sure, second-time moms may be more likely to buy Luvs, but couldn't that simply be because they're cheaper? Money, after all, is usually tighter with No. 2. (And Luvs are indeed cheaper than Procter & Gamble's other diaper brand, Pampers.) Saatchi has done a great job wringing a creative strategy out of the numbers here, but it's probably best not to look at them too closely.
Still, if you're not going to talk product specs at all, you'd better make a strong emotional appeal—and in that regard, this Luvs work cleans up.
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, New York
Chief Creative Officer: Con Williamson
Creative Directors: Mason Hedgecoth, Jeff St. Jean
Brand Agency Leader: Mark Rolland
Vice President, Management Supervisor: Matt Garcia
Account Executive: Jamie Daigle
Producer: Ian Kelly
Production Company: Bodega, SF/NYC
Director: Dave Merhar
Executive Producer: Clint Goldman
Producer: Grayson Bithell