P&G Olympics Push Pays Homage to Moms

Procter & Gamble is feeling generous at this year’s Olympic Winter Games. The packaged goods maker is sending Team USA’s mothers to Vancouver to watch their children compete, as part of a program called “Thanks, Mom.”

The program, announced today (Thursday), will defray the cost of travel and accommodations, allowing moms to support the athletes in person during the Games. P&G is also running a campaign, which celebrates the special people in the lives of Team USA’s members. (Since forming an alliance with the U.S. Olympic Committee last summer, the company has tapped several Team USA athletes to star in its Olympics-focused marketing. Among the athletes are snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis, speed skater Apolo Ohno, and skier Lindsey Vonn.)

“P&G may not be in the sporting goods business, but we are in the business of helping moms; we strive to help improve her life and the life of her family, in small, meaningful ways,” said P&G CMO Marc Pritchard. “The common denominator between P&G and the Olympic Games is the connection with moms.”

There are two 60-second TV spots, one of which, dubbed “Kids,” will debut at the opening ceremony tomorrow (Friday) at BC Place in Vancouver. The spot shows children dressed as athletes, competing at the Olympic Games. At the end, the camera focuses on a mom who stands up in the midst of a cheering crowd, as the text onscreen reads: “To their moms, they’ll always be kids.”

The second spot is about moms in general. Called “Never Walk Alone,” it shows the daily routines of moms and their tireless activities. There is also a microsite dedicated to the campaign, called Thankyoumom.com. It houses the mom-inspired commercials, latest P&G Olympics news, and a section where consumers can send a special message to their own moms.

Along with the campaign, the packaged goods giant today opened doors to the P&G Family Home, a place where Team USA athletes and their families can relax, watch TV, do their laundry, or visit a beauty salon. The venue carries all P&G-branded products.

Dr. William Sutton, University of Central Florida sports management professor and a sports marketing consultant, said “Thanks, Mom” is consistent with P&G’s overall message and approach, where it links several brands together as part of an overarching effort. The “Kids” commercial, for instance, tells an emotional story of mothers and children. But P&G makes sure the story is linked to its brands, which are promoted at the end of the ad. Brands like Olay, Tide, Pampers, Crest, and Bounty, among others, flash quickly on the screen.

“P&G has a long history of marketing to women. In this case, it’s saying: ‘We’re patriotic and we’re in the household; we’re going to recognize the mothers who use our brands,” Sutton said. “This effort is very well thought out. P&G is telling a compelling story and getting the message out to its target consumer.”