Procter & Gamble is in the unaccustomed position of having to defend its business performance compared not only with rivals but with its own recent past, especially in North America and Europe.
For a company under that kind of watch, both perceptual and actual, what possibily could be better to get out there than images of U.S. Olympians — and their moms — taking advantage of P&G products at the company-supplied hair salon in the "home away from home" that it has set up in London?
The P&G Family Home pavilion at the Summer Olympics site has been a non-stop parade of Olympians and their family members, such as Olympic gold-medalist swimmer Breeja Larson (at right) and visiting fellow gold-medalist skier Lindsey Vonn (OK, she's a Winter Olympian) taking advantage of the salon's stylings featuring P&G's own family brands, and a photo opp showcasing the results.
Not surprisingly, the consumer-products giant is in no hurry to move away from a protracted season of Olympics sponsorship that, by all accounts, has been a bang-up success for the company and its brands. In fact, CMO Marc Pritchard told Ad Age, P&G is looking to generate $500 million in sales off its massive marketing push centered on Olympic athletes and their moms.
Pritchard said this week that P&G's global 2012 Olympics platform, with messaging centered around its "Thank You, Mom" theme, has been an attempt to build a "perfect storm" of TV, digital, social and PR activity around the closely followed Games and 150 sponsored athletes who have been involved with 34 P&G brands and the corporate image.
Already, Pritchard said, retailers who have activated the campaign with in-store displays have seen a 5-percent to 20-percent boost in sales for P&G products during the Olympics merchandising period.
One key to success, Pritchard explained, has been to create synergies from Olympic events and participants and related P&G content.
In the spirit of the real-time responsiveness that has been the hallmark of these Olympics, during a beach-volleyball match played by eventual gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the U.S., NBC aired a "Thank You, Mom" segment (below) in which Walsh thanked her mom, followed by a Pampers ad (Walsh's sponsor) and then a P&G ad. Social-media marketing helped keep the buzz going.
Only problem for P&G: There's not another Olympics for two years.