Ode to the soccer Mom. Does it ever get old?
P&G doesn’t seem to think so. The newest Olympic ad in the ‘Thank You Mom’ campaign is an emotional tribute to Moms worldwide for helping raise future Olympic athletes. Moms in different countries, each raising young children, are depicted supporting their talented offspring by doing…what else? Laundry and dishes. In between domestic duties, Mom takes a break to drink a cup of coffee with the neighbor, but, for the most part, she’s always right there. Watching from the sidelines and cheering the stands. In the end, as said offspring achieve Olympic greatness, Mom is tearing up and there for a hug. Surprisingly, she doesn’t have a roll of Charmin in her needlepoint bag or stuffed into the pocket of her Mom jeans to dab the tears.
Is something missing here? Where’s Dad? What’s his role in Olympic training?
The number of stay-at-home Dads has doubled in the last decade. In 2001, the number of stay-at-home parents that were men was 1.6%. Ten years later, that number has risen to 3.4%, according to U.S. Census data. In a recent study of stay-at-home Dads by Boston College called The New
Dad: Right at Home, more men are actively making the choice to stay at home and raise children, whether it’s due to the recession, or a matter of practicality or family values. What’s more, these stay-at-home Dads are not just raising children (or would be Olympic athletes), they’re playing supporting roles to their spouses in their careers.
The agency behind the TV commercial is Weiden + Kennedy. Despite the fact the agency
uses expletives on their home page and has creatively approached earlier P&G spots with irreverence and humor, the Thank You Mom ad takes somewhat somber, traditional and decidedly old-fashioned approach to the role of women in the family dynamic. It’s very Sterling, Draper, Cooper, Pryce.
To be fair, the message of Moms raising great kids is a noble and widely accepted theme. And,
after all, working or non-working, women make buying decisions more than men. The Moms in this commercial are just modern day June Cleavers; the typical stay-at-home garden variety. There’s nary a hint of Mom working (other than domestically). She’s not running to meetings, juggling projects at the office. Even a glimpse of Mom in the workplace (frantically checking her watch, because she’s probably late for practice pick-up), or at least handing the kids off to Dad (‘I’ll drop off, you pick up’ and baby brother or sister strapped into the mini-van scenario), might have been helpful.
In June, Mark Pritchard, P&G’s Global Marketing and Brand Building Officer told an audience of advertising executives in Cannes to ‘take risks’ and that he likes to ‘inspire creative work that is so brilliant you’re willing to bet your career on it.’ According to Pritchard, 1 in 3 people who have viewed the ad has shared it with others, making it one of the most shared videos of all time.
At a July 25th press conference, Timo Lumme, International Olympics Committee Head of Marketing and Television Services spoke about the ad. “Consumers around the world strongly identify with this message,” he said. “How could they not?”
True. But a nod to Dad would’ve been nice.