WARC’s Chiara Manco looks at brands that earned awareness and loyalty among mothers through relevant and helpful communications.

According to a recent UK study looking at family dynamics under lockdown, it is mothers who face the most pressure in the struggle to balance work and family life. Working in sectors more likely to be affected by lockdowns and often bearing the brunt of domestic chores and childcare, mothers ‘take on the mental load’ of both work and home life.

Now more than ever, mothers will appreciate brands that support them and make life easier for them. Here, we look at brands that have invested in empathetic communications that added value to mothers’ lives, whether by offering tangible help or expressing appreciation.

Puck and Tang: understanding the everyday

Sometimes, offering a hand with some of the small everyday struggles can go a long way. In the Philippines, powdered drink Tang repositioned itself as a way to make water tastier, in turn helping mothers keep their children hydrated. With its candid and all-too-real portrayal of motherhood, Tang’s work didn’t only help mothers with the task at hand, but made them feel understood. 

The relatable ads outperformed competitors in cut-through and scored above average in brand metrics such as likeability, affinity and persuasion. The work of Ogilvy and SOHO Square Philippines, the campaign also helped Tang fight a decline in sales, generating an 18.15% sales volume growth.

Meanwhile, in the UAE, cheese brand Puck identified another daily struggle for mothers: getting their children to have a healthy breakfast. Siding with mums in the fight against sugary cereal, the brand partnered with Snapchat to kit its spreadable cheese jars with a code that would launch an immersive AR game. By becoming a children’s favourite, Puck relieved mothers of stressful breakfasts, and grew its business in the process.

The work, through FP7 McCann Dubai, delivered a revenue ROI of 8.3:1, increasing Puck’s market share by 16% year on year. The game reached 2.2 million people, contributing to increases in brand favourability and awareness.

JetBlue and Primrose Schools: offering reassurance

While doing research on how to best build interest and loyalty among parents, US airline JetBlue discovered that mothers feel incredibly stressed when travelling with their babies. No matter how well prepared they are, there is always the chance the little ones will cry and anger fellow passengers. To win favour among mothers, JetBlue launched a social experiment: on a special flight, it rewarded all passengers with 25% off their next flight whenever a baby cried. By turning crying babies from a nuisance to something worth celebrating, JetBlue made mothers feel understood and increased positivity towards its brand.

The campaign, through MullenLowe, earned media worth $1.9m and increased consideration of JetBlue among parents by 88%.

Sometimes, it’s mothers themselves who act as their own worst critics. Working mothers in particular can be prone to ‘mum guilt’: the feeling of not being able to devote enough time and attention to their children. Primrose Schools, a US early education provider, took an emotional approach to helping working mums let go of that guilt and reassure them they were already doing a great job. It selected five working mums and, through agency Jackson Spalding, interviewed their friends, families and their children’s teachers. The emotional accounts of each mum’s strength and love for their children were then shown to the mums themselves.

Backed by email marketing, influencer engagement and internal comms, the campaign resulted in 1.1m video views and 2.9m social media impressions, with Primrose Schools witnessing an almost immediate spike in school inquiries.

Babyshop and Lysol: celebrating is empowering

Mother’s Day is a chance for marketers to get closer to mums and show their support and appreciation. Middle-Eastern children’s retailer Babyshop and its agency FP7 McCann Dubai have been committed to meaningful Mother’s Day campaigns for a few years now, seeking to extend their impact beyond the occasion too. In 2018, Babyshop challenged the Arabic language itself by tweaking the word for ‘parenthood’, which literally translated into ‘fatherhood’, to have it encompass motherhood too. The new word was promoted through a new kids’ collection, a pronunciation guide on YouTube, in-store interactive screens, a school outreach programme, a magazine and more. Despite facing initial backlash, the campaign earned positive sentiment and generated an ROI of 3.1:1.

For Mother’s Day 2019, Babyshop championed mums’ wellbeing. Through an in-store breast cancer awareness initiative, it aimed to break down stigma associated with the illness and make it easier for women to book screenings. The initiative led to footfall increasing by 23% and brand respect by 44%. What’s more, check-ups at the partner clinic rose by 63%.

In the US, disinfectant brand Lysol celebrated Mother’s Day by shining a light on mothers’ protective instinct. McCann New York’s What it Takes to Protect campaign portrayed mothers as strong and fierce protectors of their children, and Lysol as their ally. The campaign simultaneously boosted Lysol’s credentials and celebrated mothers’ unrelenting love for their children, earning 600m impressions and increasing sales across the whole products portfolio.

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