Forget Flowers (or Gold Lions): Fisher-Price Invites You to Give a Mom a 'Mommy'

Toy Company and 360i Introduce an Awards Program for Honorable Moms

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Fisher-Price: The Mommys 15
Fisher-Price: The Mommys 15

Mother's Day is around the bend and we've already seen a lot of tear-jerkers that have made us want to run home to our mamas. Did you see Minute Maid's letter campaign in which kids tell their moms and dads how they really feel about their parenting skills? (Maybe don't watch that at work.)

But Fisher-Price is taking a more celebratory approach by introducing a new parenting awards "festival," The Mommys.

Created by 360i, the global social campaign rolling out in 15 countries invites Facebook users to celebrate accomplished moms by "virtually" rewarding them with one of six cute, toy-like trophies -- including an airplane with a spoon for a nose ("Super-Sonic Spoon Feeder") and a toilet on a cake ("Potty Independence").

Each is based on a familiar stepping stone of early childhood. The spoon feeder, for example, can go to a "mealtime aviation expert" who discovered "baby food tastes better when it lands by plane," while the potty award can go to moms who "fought hard" for a "diaper-free lifestyle." Users bestow an award on friends by sharing it on Facebook with the hashtag #TheMommys.

According to Fisher-Price Digital Director of Global Brand Marketing Michele Zimmer, "The Mommys" are part of the brand's "Best Possible Start" platform centered around early childhood and the idea that kids' best starts begin with Mom and Dad. "We challenged 360i to come up with a way to celebrate moms, but also make sure we're celebrating the milestones that children go through in a positive way."

"If you think about a mom and the first five years of their kids' lives, it can be all about the kids and a lonely time when they need to reach out to peers," explained 360i Group Creative Director Rahul Sabnis. So the agency conceived these "trophies" that allow moms to celebrate each other. They're based on "authentic" mom experiences, such as their fun parenting strategies, and informed by the "real" ways moms talk to each other.

The awards, launched last week and running through Mother's Day, already have had a side effect of nurturing meaningful dialogue between parents on the Fisher-Price timeline. For example, conversations around "The Master of Speech" award, given to mothers with "stellar baby conversation starters," opened up discussion for parents concerned about whether or not their children were hitting the talking milestone at the right time -- some expressed worries about their child's late talking while others provided supportive comments about their own experiences.

One of the challenges of the campaign for both client and agency has been staying tuned into the fanbase of 2.9 million Facebook users. "When you have a brand with an active audience like this, it changes everything," said Mr. Sabnis. "It means we have to be very cognizant of all the conversations they are having and add those into the process."

For example, users are already asking, "What about the dads?" but Ms. Zimmer and 360i assure that they're keeping them in mind for Father's Day.

Another problem -- the awards themselves -- they're just so cute! But they're virtual. 360i 3D printed them and photographed them for distributing via social media alone, yet fans have been talking about them as if they exist in the "real" world. For example, on "Spoon Feeder," which happens to be Fisher-Price's most shared Facebook post this year, someone commented, "I need one of these for my daughter."

"One of the things we are excited about is that people really 'want' them, so we are thinking about what we can do with that momentum," said Mr. Sabnis. "But right now, we're playing a little coy."

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