Sponsor Comes Through for Families

Kick back in the man-cave. Get American flags painted on your fingernails. Or just drop off your dirty laundry. If there's one Olympic Sponsor “house” in London that can claim it's truly full-service, it's that of Procter & Gamble located in the Borough Market section of town.

Athletes and their families have been crowding into the expansive one-stop hangout all week to get Tide laundry services (P&G did 998 loads at the Vancouver games) or get their locks curled in the Clairol/Pantene beauty salon. Much of it is geared toward moms as P&G puts a major focus on its "Thank You Mom" ad campaign. The company is sponsoring more than 150 global athletes but add that number to the sheer weight of the company’s dozens of brands and the challenge to whip up a campaign message that resonated everywhere could have been a nightmare for marketers.

Enter Janet Fletcher, marketing leader for P&G's Global Olympics program for the games. Fletcher, a 24-year veteran of the company, was one of the original architects of the "Thank You Mom" concept. How is it resonating with the medal winners' mothers? Jeanne Dwyer, mom of gold medal swimmer Conor Dwyer, told me the ads hit the bull’s-eye.

Having spent millions for the opportunity to market at the games, most official IOC sponsors push their products — and athletes' usage of them — hard. Fletcher decided to go in another direction.

Figuring that moms do a lot of housework that involves P&G products, all the while doing most of the support work for their athlete-children, she worked with advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy to create what has turned out to be a YouTube sensation/tear-jerker of a campaign, including the "Best Job" vignette (to date: 5.7 million views). P&G is so sure it'll be a massive hit, the company boldly stated it expects to reap some $500 million in profits directly linked to the London Olympics.