How P&G Is Leveraging The Winter Olympics To Build Its Customer Community

Simon Mainwaring / Advertising / 6 years ago

Originally published in Forbes

Proctor & Gamble became a poster child for social media engagement in 2012 with its ‘Best Job’ television spot for the London Olympics. Not only did it become a viral sensation across multiple social media channels, but it also won the Emmy for Commercial of the Year (a fourth straight win for ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy).

It now looks like it will continue this impressive and perilous balancing act between top creativity and broad-based appeal (especially tough for a global consumer brand) with the new spot just launched for the 2014 Winter Olympics. In doing so, P&G reveals three critical steps in the architecture of a global brand community:

1. LEAD WITH PURPOSE: The point of departure for every successful brand community has to be the definition of the brand and its purpose. Without that clarity, one cannot hope to tell a story worth sharing by employees and customers. In P&G’s case, the purpose-driven tagline is, ‘Touching Lives, Improving Life,’ and the spots are a palpable demonstration of both aspects of the tagline. It even extends to the home page of the corporate website.



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  1. Avatar jon_howard says:

    Love this campaign. But would make one observation though, as the parent of a 16 year old swimmer who has been swimming since he was 7. We still have to get up at stupid o’clock 5 days a week…including Sunday, manage the pressures of training and homework in the evening, spend our weekends sat baking in swimming pools etc. etc. It’s something many parents will recognise…and the essence of the P&G idea. Yet Josh will never swim for Britain or go to Olympics. He is a good club swimmer, competitive up to regional (but not even national) level. And that’s the reality for the vast majority of kids who do most sports at what any sane person might call on over-committed level – you still have to put in the hours, but with no gold medal at the end! Competition and achievement at any level has it’s own many and significant rewards obviously. But unless I’ve missed it in the mix, that recognition of the reality of most kids/parents is lacking in the campaign currently with its emphasis on Olympians and success. Which arguably dismisses the commitment of the rest of us! Yes it brings a tear to the eye, and we would all love to be in that position, but I do wonder if it might have made a more creatively interesting story to look at those who don’t make it but still work just as hard. Or maybe the that’s just Brit loser underdog POV!

  2. Avatar Simon Mainwaring says:

    I hear you Jon and take your point. In fact, I was a competitive swimmer for 10 years that never got past Nationals and yet made my parents endure the early mornings as well. i think P&G were hoping that we could identify with those moments earlier in the Olympians careers where the parents did it for them whether or not they knew they were going to be champions. In fact, the tears of the moms in the commercial at the end, in my take, is relief, gratitude, joy that it did amount to something. because they could never have made it or simply crashed on the last turn and it was all for nothing. So I totally hear you and I think the spot wants to connect people with every stage of the journey, not just the Olympic medal. thanks so much. Simon

  3. Avatar Daniel says:

    Am I the only one who thinks this commercial suffers from a strong sexist smell? As a man and as a professional I feel a bit shame of the usage that P&G makes from the traditional woman’s role at home.