How Luvs Unites Mothers by Comically Dividing Them

Year two of Saatchi's campaign

IDEA: Motherhood is tough, but that first kid makes you an expert. And experts are more likely to choose Luvs. That's the claim, backed by research, made in Saatchi & Saatchi's campaign for the Procter & Gamble diaper brand—from last year's famous "Breastfeeding" ad through five new spots, in which anxious first-timers humorously lighten up when seen later with their second kid.

"First-time moms choose whatever diapers they have on hand, often whatever they get at their baby shower," said Saatchi creative director Mason Hedgecoth. "But experienced parents choose our product because they know it works as well as more premium diapers."

Juxtaposing naive first-timers and savvy second-timers is "one of those areas that's so rich for mining," Hedgecoth said. "You find these moments of serendipity and ah-ha moments—the second-time mom gets things almost instantly."

COPYWRITING: "Sanitize" and "Pacifier" show first-time moms obsessively protecting their kids. One makes a relative practically bathe in sanitizer before holding her baby; the other is seen boiling pacifiers. In each spot, that action freezes with a ding and the on-screen text: "First Kid." As the ads resume, the first mom is seen handing off a child to a grubby mechanic as she reaches for something in her bag, while the second cleans her baby's pacifier by sucking on it herself. Freeze/ding: "Second Kid."

A female voiceover says: "By their second kid, every mom is an expert, and more likely to choose Luvs than first-time moms." The tag is voiced and on screen: "Live, learn, and get Luvs."

For the best comedic effect, the first-time mom is more of a caricature and the second-time mom more real. "We want second-time moms to say, 'Oh, that's totally how I was,' and then, 'Oh, that's how I am now,'" said Hedgecoth. Meanwhile, viewers who are first-time moms will want to be like the second-time moms.

"We don't want any judgments on the first-time mom," Hedgecoth said. "She's not too crazy in the first scenario, and she's not too lax in the second scenario."

FILMING/ART DIRECTION: Brian Billow shot the five ads in three days in Los Angeles. He had worked with the lead actresses in both of the first two spots before—the woman in "Sanitize" played the lead in his short film "Beth," about the Kiss song—which helped things move along quicker.

The visual look is clean and relatable. "Anytime you're doing diaper ads, you want to emphasize cleanliness," said Hedgecoth. "But in terms of our market, we're not shooting in mansions. Every scenario has to feel like it's attainable or a reflection of real life. … There's a nice brightness to the ads, without feeling cartoony."

And while the product is seen only minimally, "we found little ways to drop in hints of [the brand color] purple to make it feel like a world that Luvs is a part of," he added.

TALENT/SOUND: The actresses played with the dialogue. "They were able to deliver a punch line without it seeming like a punch line. It dawns on you a second later," Hedgecoth said. "Like in 'Sanitize' when she's like, 'Get it in between the creases of your elbows,' you almost don't think about that being a joke until later." (The freeze frames help this, allowing the viewer to reflect on what's just happened.)

Of the VO, he added: "There's a frankness to her tone. It's not what you're used to hearing in baby-care ads where there's usually a softness and almost a coddling of the audience."

A bright acoustic guitar track closes the ads. "It's got an upbeat melody, but it doesn't feel saccharine," said Hedgecoth. "You [feel] positive about what you just saw."

MEDIA: National broadcast and cable, and online.



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