Procter & Gamble Co. is back in the games with its latest "Thank you, Mom" ad from Wieden & Kennedy, continuing a six-year run with a two-minute film portraying the strong mothers behind Olympic athletes.
The "Strong" video starts online 100 days before the Olympics (dovetailing with NBC's "100 Days of Rio" coverage on the "Today" show). It was "inspired by the simple human truth that the daily courage a mom shows echoes at critical moments throughout her child's life," a P&G spokeswoman said.
Jeff Nichols, the Hollywood director whose work includes recently released "Midnight Special," directed the video, which airs online in its two-minute form and will appear on TV in shorter form in more than 30 countries.
This year P&G talked with 14,000 moms globally to help shape the campaign, which follows the Olympic Games journeys of four moms and their kids, showing moments when a mother's strength makes a big difference -- from shepherding a child into the cellar before an approaching tornado to helping another childe be brave while stuck in an elevator.
Dads are a growing part of P&G's business, and bigger proportionally to the company that since the last Olympics has moved to shed several women's beauty brands, including Clairol, Wella and CoverGirl. But the spokeswoman said, "Moms are never thanked enough," and they continue to be critical consumers for many P&G brands. And P&G's biggest men's brand, Gillette, already has launched the "Perfect Isn't Pretty" campaign from Grey featuring Olympic athletes.
The "Strong" video is a cornerstone of a P&G Olympic sponsorship involving 18 brands in more than 35 countries that will also include other TV and digital content, in-store displays, PR and social media. P&G in recent years has topped all Olympic sponsors in social-media buzz around its ads. And the spokeswoman said the company will measure its impact through sales, favorability ratings and relationships with retail customers among other ways, ultimately expecting it to increase brand usage and loyalty.
One difference in this year's ad: The P&G logo appears in the bottom right corner throughout -- similar to ads in some markets where prominent corporate branding is commonplace throughout ads.
It may also address a critique raised by neuroscience firm Neuro-Insight, whose CEO Richard Silberstein believes prior P&G Olympics ads have suffered in branding impact due to how they're constructed.
The firm, which measures brain activity to find moments of memory encoding, found prior ads in the campaign sent signals to people that the story was over -- what he terms "neuro-conceptual closure" -- which causes them to stop and process what they've seen and often ignore what's on the screen, just as the branding elements pop up.
With the brand always in the picture this time, that may not be an issue.