CINCINATTI: Procter & Gamble  has launched what it heralds as its biggest-ever North American PR promotion, teaming with UNICEF, TV goddess Oprah Winfrey (pictured) and actress Salma Hayek to donate anti-tetanus injections to expectant mothers.

In what some critics see as a cynical harnessing of humanitarianism to commercialism, there'll be one shot given away with every purchase of promotional packs of the FMCG giant's Pampers diaper brand.

The female stars endorsed the new campaign during Monday's Oprah broadcast, and are seen as having a strong influence among Hispanic and African-American women, who account for some 40% of births in the US, but do not constitute a similar percentage of Pampers' current customer base.

The show also featured a ‘Big Give', where P&G donated a vaccination from each of the 350 audience members, and a further one million on behalf of Winfrey herself.

A multi-channel campaign will support the “One Pack = One Vaccination” tagline, with TV ads created by Saatchi & Saatchi in New York breaking yesterday, having received better copytest scores than any brand campaign in Pampers' history.

The scheme has already run in 20 countries – including the UK – and P&G has stated that, as a result of strong retailer interest, it has extended the US programme for two months longer than originally planned, meaning it will now run until August.

Ultimately, the company aims to donate 27 million tetanus vaccinations from North America through UNICEF – and 50 million worldwide – with the express intention of eradicating the disease in twelve African nations.

Says vp/general manager of North American babycare for P&G, Kirk Perry: “When you read the verbatims, when you look at where we did really well, it's that Pampers has what I'd call a right of way to connect with moms both intellectually but also emotionally”.

Data sourced from AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff