Advertising lessons from the Winter Olympics

Advertising lessons from the Winter Olympics Ann Druce spent 15 years in marketing management for major companies including Unilever and Adcock Ingram before joining an ad agency. Today Ann heads up Octarine, a marketing communications and advertising agency, where she focuses on copywriting and marketing strategies for clients in the professional and industrial sectors. Specialty: I translate clients’ strategies into clear, relevant messages that reach their target markets.

The Winter Olympics start today and P&G has produced fabulous advertising that I just had to share with you.

Figure skaterMy daughter used to be a figure skater and my son played ice hockey, so I’ve spent more than my fair share of time freezing in ice rinks and this ad really speaks to me on a personal level.

Skating is magical, but it’s not easy.  Until you “land” the jump, you learn by falling.  The ice is as hard as concrete, and there’s usually nothing but a thin layer of lycra to protect you, so bruises and broken bones are as much part of skating as they are of rugby.

And every day skaters learn, in a very literal way, that no matter how many times you fall you have to get up one more time.

Over the two weeks of the Olympics, the focus will be on the magic.  But it is clear that any level of achievement, never mind reaching the Olympics, takes vast commitment and support.  And Procter & Gamble understands this.

This particular ad isn’t just entertaining; it’s the truth.  It’s also a fine example of the importance of a solid communication strategy, and includes two critical strategic elements: 

Precise Target Market
P&G are very precise in defining their target market is and they know exactly what matters to her.  Of course this is about the Olympics, but they are very clear that, first and foremost, P&G is about supporting mothers in caring for their children and families. So this ad will appeal to any mother, no matter how talented (or otherwise) they may be when it comes to winter sports.

Single-Minded Message
There is also a single-minded message. All too often, marketers try to include far too much in a single ad, muddying the water, undermining the communication, and minimizing the potential for connection and recollection. P&G don’t mention brand benefits at all; instead they focus entirely on the one thing they want to communicate.

Take a look at the P&G “Thank you, Mom” ad and see how a strong strategy is the foundation of great advertising.

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