The series uses consumer-submitted stories that are selected for development and made into a script by professional writers and directors. Last year, actresses Leah Remini and Chelsea Handler acted out the everyday hijinx of real-life moms, such as dealing with a child's public meltdowns or an overbearing mother-in-law.
The first season garnered more than 5.5 million video views, and the series' online community on MSN, IntheMotherhood.com, became the fifth most-watched parenting site on the web during the two months it was live, according to MindShare.
"The success of the results was far beyond our expectations," said David Lang, president, MindShare Entertainment.
Anita Newton, VP-media, Sprint, said the campaign succeeded because it was rooted in three consumer insights: Moms are going online in droves; they are using the web not just to transact but to interact; and there is a dearth of online content that speaks to mothers.
This year will bring some enhancements to the series, based on insights from the last campaign. The first is new talent. Actress Jenny McCarthy will play Ms. Handler's older sister, and Gail Mancuso, who has worked on shows such as "30 Rock," will direct.
"Consumers were hungry for content, so we tried to top last year's," Mr. Lang said.
The online community, IntheMotherhood.com, will feature enhanced peer-to-peer programs -- such as recipes, games, and arts and crafts -- based on consumer demand for a stronger community section on the site, Mr. Lang said.
Ad dollars to shift
The marketeering campaign for "In the Motherhood" was also refined this year, with ramped up spending online and less spending on TV and magazines, Ms. Newton said.
Unilever's Suave and Sprint products will continue to be integrated into the program, but Ms. Newton said Sprint will focus more closely on promoting one specific product this year: the Pink Centro, a PDA device.
"The way I think about this program is that the moms and the content are the hero," Ms. Newton said, "Sprint and Suave are the wrapper."
"In the Motherhood" premiered Feb. 4 and will include five episodes.