Thank You, Mom: The Heartwarming (Brand) Story

By Lara Hamelin

Has a thirty second to one minute commercial ever made you feel so happy you could cry? No? Maybe? Just me?

I can almost guarantee tears were shed all over the world when Proctor & Gamble (P&G) launched Thank You, Mom. This campaign premiered during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics showcasing the dedication of the athlete’s biggest fans – their mothers. A major focus of this campaign was the emotional videos. There are two versions produced – a 30 second spot for television and the full-length version posted on the P&G YouTube channel. These YouTube videos went viral in a matter of days. Let’s take a moment and appreciate the Rio 2016 Thank You Mom segment entitled “Strong”.

What P&G does extremely well is showcase how much they care about their customers. This multinational company sells a wide range of consumer goods – from diapers to shaving gel. It’s difficult to get consumers to love these types of products. Instead Proctor & Gamble taps into the emotional connection that their products can provide to consumers. In my opinion, the Thank You Mom campaign is brand storytelling at its finest.


Why People Choose This And Not That

If done well brand storytelling can have an immense influence on purchasing decisions. As recounted by Bernadette Jiwa – “since the dawn of advertising the outward motivation of brand storytelling (in the form of advertising) was to gain attention in the moment and to acquire more customers. In many ways the ‘tell to sell’ strategy sold the power of the storytelling short.“ However in today’s competitive marketplace brands in the CPG sector need to invest in brand storytelling to remain relevant in the mind of consumers. These brands need to build trust with the customer. Proctor & Gamble’s Thank You Mom campaign is able to do this by presenting relatable and inspiring heroes. In turn this creates a stronger connection between consumers and P&G brands.

Mom’s Love Social Media

Have you ever felt really embarrassed when your mom posted photos of you on Facebook? Well the Thank You Mom campaign could be a catalyst to this phenomenon. P&G has secondary Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts where they encourage consumers to post and tag the brand linked to the personal achievements of their loved ones. You can see a comment below from one of the recent Thank You Mom Facebook posts.


The digital content of this campaign revolves around the Olympians and their mothers. However the story behind the content is relatable. The heartwarming message of a mother’s unconditional love as their child strives for greatness can hold true in numerous scenarios. Without realizing this campaign makes consumers feel connected to the brand and inspires the question – have you thanked your mom recently?




Oddities in Campaign Marketing

by Nick Rossignol

If the internet existed in the victorian era, what would brand content and discussions look like? This is the premise that animates most of the brand presence of Hendrick’s Gin. Their online presence is filled with circus freakshows, secret societies, steam technological advances and romantic symbolism with a healthy dose of proper British manners. It makes for an unusual online presence, one that relies on writing as the glue holding all the crazy visuals together.

Hendrick’s campaigns are successful for three main reasons:

  • They are unusual or surprising
  • The tone is consistent across all platforms and across campaigns
  • They are inclusive while inviting playfulness

Celebrating the unusual

Hendrick’s version of “Please drink responsibly” is “Please enjoy the unusual responsibly”. It’s a unique take for an alcohol marketer and this celebration of the unusual is what makes some of their subject lines so strong.

Take for example this subject line promoting a 2015 contest: “Win a Ride on the Hendrick’s Flying Cucumber”. It piques my curiosity so expect a click from me!


Consistent Tone and Voice

Throughout Hendrick’s digital content, you can practically hear the voice in your head take on a new accent to fit the writing. This comes from adding slightly older vocabulary (wondrous, peculiar, and the use of society to designate a club are just a few examples) and from adding many comments in parentheses to bring a more conversational tone.

It conveys a different era and a certain class while remaining accessible. Here are some examples across their social platforms:


You’ll see this consistency also across their blog posts and even in the newsletter opt-in:


Inclusive and Playful

After years of cultivating this tone and voice, it was time for Hendrick’s to turn the tables and get their fans to write. “Tiny Tales” was a campaign that offered to turn short tales (literally, three sentences or less) into a short video. Tales were encouraged to be unusual and surprising and the winners were broadcast on social media.


Things are more thrilling when we are at the edge of what’s possible, beyond what is expected or considered normal.Jeff Goins, Writing Fiction

When Jeff Goins wrote this line, he was talking about writing and pushing his boundaries in writing fiction, but he could very well have been writing about the Hendrick’s Gin brand.  What makes the gin maker’s success is its unusual character and its unwavering commitment to the digital world it created.

What do you think? Share your comments below, no matter how peculiar!

A card game that made Kickstarter history

What started in January 2015 as a modest plan to raise $10,000 turned into a crowdfunding phenomenon. Elan Lee and Shane Small both have a background working with XBox, and they team up with Matthew Inman, – the genius mind behind behind The Oatmeal  – a humor website that gets at least seven million unique visitors per month – to create a card game that they called: Exploding Kittens.

Check out the campaign video:


In less that 7 hours from its launching they raised 1.000.000,00, and by the end of the campaign they successfully raised $8,782,571 in total with 219,382 backers. It became the most-backed game in Kickstarter history and the campaign with the most number of backers, ever.

Matthew Inman didn’t create the game, but in my opinion, he made it FABULOUS! He is a cartoonist and an incredible storyteller – read one of my favorites: When your house is burning down, you should brush your teeth – and the game gained his personal touch in writing and drawing

The game description says:

It is a highly-strategic, kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette. Players draw cards until someone draws an Exploding Kitten, at which point they explode, they are dead, and they are out of the game — unless that player has a Defuse card, which can defuse the kitten using things like laser pointers, belly rubs, and catnip sandwiches. All of the other cards in the deck are used to move, mitigate, or avoid the Exploding Kittens.

I have to admit that I was sold from the moment I saw Matthew Inman’s name involved in this project but, after reading that description, Who could resist buying or at leats click to see more about this awesome game, right?.


Almost all of the emails updates had a funny infographic, and some of them were to announce and position hashtags like #ExplodingKittens was the official hashtag for the game, Be our #KittenConsul was for people who wanted to play with a Playtest Deck and do reviews of the game, #BackerParty consisted of special events like sending Matthew Inman a picture and he did a funny draw of it.


Updates also received a lot of feedback on social media. Update 27 was a very compelling re-cap of the campaign that ended announcing that they were still delivering the game on time as the promise, which is very unusual in Kickstarter history.

Click to see full Update #27

They had to team up with another card game company called Cards Against Humanity  to help them with the distribution of the game, and they had to create a new company called Black Box  to distribute and deliver the game worldwide on time. That’s how HUGE this project was!


The tone of the campaign was fun and entertaining and even though is over, they still update the twitter and facebook accounts, and send emails to the Kickstarter backers with updates and special promotions. They launched an app of the game this year and also, an expansion for the original card game.

Exploding Kittens is a great example of how great writing can lead to a successful campaign, especially when you do it with the same authentic voice that defines you.

I’m gonna finish my post with a Simon Sinek’s quote that it came recurrently to me while I was writing this post:

People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.

As one of the backers of this project I can testify that at the time, I wasn’t just buying an awesome super cool card game. What I wanted was to be part of something in which I believed. No one imagined that we were making Kickstarter history.

Thanks for reading
Follow me at @Lesmy

LUSH #KeepItOn

By Jacqueline Klaus

Have you ever wondered what attracts you to a brand? Do you research ethics and company values or are you focused on sales and promotions? That was the first question I asked myself – what draws me in? What makes me want to shop there?

I have retail experience,  so I took a step back and read Mark Schaefer’s blog post, Your marketing strategy is not a decision. It’s decided for you. This blog post explores the reasons why you market the way you do, and that it is completely reliant on where you stand in the industry. He says, “Focus on where you can actually maneuver in your marketplace, rather than the large number of options that probably won’t make a material difference to your business.”

I have my favourite brands, and applying Mark’s logic to this makes perfect sense! He refers to Chev using comparison ads to the leader in the industry – Ford – whereas if you were the leader, you probably wouldn’t be using that sales tactic. Which is why Lush Cosmetics #KeepItOn campaign caught my attention.

Lush is a “fresh homemade” skincare, makeup line that lets their customers indulge even online. They can be found on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+. Lush operates off of six basic principles:


  • Their ingredients are made fresh and all products have an expiry date on them.
  • The products are all handmade in two factories within Canada
  • They have a naked policy where little to no packaging is used for their products
  • They practice ethical buying (like employing non-profit organizations to make their bags), don’t test on animals and only work with companies who don’t.
  • They’re 100% vegetarian and around 80% of their products are vegan.

If you aren’t convinced to shop there yet…it gets better. They take a stand and stay true to their values. The company was created in 1995 in England, was built on transparency and now has 700 stores in over 40 countries.

Lush’s most recent content marketing campaign asks their customers to #KeepItOn. This campaign is focused on internet rights. Below is an image of their homepage. On the landing page it looks like you lost connection to the internet – think that’s a mistake?


#KeepItOn is built based on facts, it’s conversational, simple and concise. Why do I think this is so brilliant? Lush took things a step further and created a product to help make their goal a reality.

Lush 3.png

The tweet above shows one of their supporting products. On the right you’ll find the article it links to. I really enjoy the first line, “Who knew a bath bomb could fight against government-enforced internet shutdowns?” You’ll find a similar approach on Facebook:


Why do I find this so compelling? The campaign is based on facts, is consistent across platforms, and it empowers their customers to make change happen. This is what will make your company a leader within your industry, while others try to catch up.


Are You A Woman Of Will?

By Vicky Galofre

Remember that special day I subscribed to my first blog? Well, I have been getting email notifications every time  Bernadette Jiwa post an article on  her blog “The Story of telling”. I have to say it again, I just love it! Talking about success stories, let me tell you that I found a company brand that was able to beautifully use story telling on their digital content campaign. First, let me quote Bernadette Jiwa

People don’t buy what you do; they buy how you make them feel and the story you give them to tell.

Do you want to know how I felt? 3 words: Strong, empower and inspired. Do you want to feel this? Go and take a look at this video and you will understand what I’m talking about, I’ll be waiting right here to discuss it.  #IWillWhatI Want.

Welcome back. Amazing right?

This emotionally connected and inspiring campaign, features several beautiful and strong athletes such as  Misty Copeland (ballerina), Lindsay Vonn (downhill skier), Sloane Stephens (pro tennis player), Kelly O’Hara (pro soccer player), and Brianna Cope (pro surfer).


My favorite so far is Misty Copeland’s story.  She began dancing at the age of 13 and was told she had neither the experience nor the right body type to become a ballerina.  Now, she is a soloist in the American Ballet Theater.  Against all the odds, Misty has become one of the most successful and recognizable dancers in the world. Can you believe it? But…

Why Do We Like It?

Simple – It a relatable message, it’s a clear message and most importantly it features emotional storytelling.  This campaign is meant to empower women and girls to take on their toughest challenges by channeling will power and ignoring the opinions and doubts of others

Every aspect of the campaign is optimized for digital consumption and success: video, sharing, liking, and strong visuals and message. Let’s explore some of their social media platforms.


The ad was uploaded to Under Armour’s YouTube account on July 30 2014. As of today ( Nov 30/2016) it has 10,688,144 views! This is a powerful video that inspires not only woman but little girls to follow their dreams. I went through some of the comments you’ll want to see this.


The ad ends with the tagline and the link to the website/online community. They also shared this video on their other social media platform and from there it went VIRAL!



Their website is an online community where the audience can follow other users (including Copeland and other famous female athletes), update fitness statuses, goals, aspirations, inspirations, a interact, and share their progress.

They are definitely keeping the message consistent #IWillWhatIWant and they have created an entire community to help you achieve it.


Messages and post It feels authentic and not forced. It’s not only about selling their merchandise. They celebrate their brand, remember it’s about telling a story… visuals that enhance the message and reinforce it. Look at this!



I’m not a fitness fan, but post like this one’s really inspires me to be a strong woman and do what I want! #IwillwhatIwant. They just gain 1 follower. I guess today is a special day too.

Exit face lifts and diets, drink Evian and #liveyoung!

By Marylin Merit

One of my McGill Content Creation class assignment has been to chose one of the most successful digital campaign due to its content. I instantly thought about this amazing Evian campaign that was created in 2009 and went super viral : despite the lack of content in the video itself, this campaign generated a massive amount of content developed by this French company and also by the users! I found this was a great example for my class and I will share with you today how successful this campaign was and what was the impact on the global social media community.

It started with the roller babies video, with the goal to become viral


                                                          Click on the image to watch the video

Evian, brand of the French company Danone, is a well-established brand in France and I would say, as a French gal, the most popular! The challenge Evian was facing back in 2009 was to be recognized in other countries, including North America.

This is why they decided to develop a massive digital campaign that would trigger virality through digital channels, including social media. I would easily say that Evian was one of the pioneer in the digital word-of-mouth strategy with the objective of user-generated content. This also comes back to what Simon Sinek (video in this link) is known for : explaining the why. In the case of Evian, this is just water, right? Well, we buy Evian because there’s an emotional decision behind the action of buying this brand rather than another one. The promise is super strong : « Live young ». Who doesn’t want to live a young and healthy life? Well, I do! Where’s my Evian?

« People don’t buy what you do but why you do it! » Simon Sinek

So keeping the why in mind, Evian decided to develop this strong « Roller babies » video campaign that would differentiate from the « just water » competitors and then become THE brand that will keep you young in your body and in your mind! In July 1st 2009, the company launched their ad campaign on Youtube with the following statement : « Let’s observe the effect of Evian on your body ». The #liveyoung movement was born!



The impact of this video has been huge on social media 

It wasn’t long before this video created a massive buzz in the digital community : more than 100 million views! After a few months only, the Guinness Book of World Records 2009 officially declared Roller Babies as the most viewed online ad !

Not only the video was becoming viral but it was also relayed through the major social platforms at that time : Facebook and Twitter.

At the end of 2009, Evian was proud to :

  • Be #1 on YouTube
  • Be #1 on Viral Video Chart
  • Reach 102 million views (53,357,588 visible measure views on YouTube to date)
  • Have generated 54,000 comments and tweets
  • Count more than 1.5 million Facebook fans across a number of Roller Baby fan pages
  • Have more than 212 000 YouTube friends and subscribers

You want to know more about this success story? I can’t wait to come back to you with a 5 minute presentation that I will perform during the McGill content creation class on Dec. 8th! Until then, #liveyoung and drink Evian!


Giving Trending Topics a Social Purpose

By: Emily Abagis


Ok, now that I have your attention, look at these cute dogs that are available for adoption!


Being a huge animal lover and frequent indulger in popular culture, I find myself watching silly videos and Googling nonsense topics for hours on end. Somehow, the more ridiculous the subject, the more newsworthy it becomes and all of a sudden, its trending. During one of my lengthy trashy media binges, I stumbled upon #adoptabletrends and of course, I had to click…

In February of 2015 Dallas Pets Alive launched the Adoptable Trends campaign. Because there are so many animals in shelters, most organizations lack the resources and exposure needed to further their cause, so Dallas Pets Alive decided do something different. They sought out the online attention they needed by renaming their shelter dogs after trending news in hopes of increasing their online presence and chances of adoption. This initiative paired with investing in relevant search terms means that you could view pups by the name of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, Miley Cyrus Twerking, Left Shark and Photoshopped Bieber at the very top of your Google search.

Famed marketer Mark Shaffer described digital marketing as “nothing new [BUT, you can] use an old “ingredient” in a new way to create entertaining conversational moments,” and that’s exactly what they did.

This was a creative and unique multi-platform campaign brought to life through their website, various social media and a catchy video. Overall, I feel this campaign was effective through it’s writing because it was clear, concise and compelling. The content related to the emotional right brain audience, both in that it was comical and relatable to present popular culture but also that these adorable abandoned animals were looking for their forever homes…how could this not tug on your heartstrings? This was a magic formula that the Dallas Pets Alive brand used to compel its audience to become engaged with their content. Once hooked, it was through simple and clearly communicated messaging that the audience was able to decipher the main goal of the organization, to eliminate unnecessary animal euthanasia and have their rehabilitated pets adopted. Here are some examples of how Dallas Pets Alive effectively communicated their campaign through these mediums:


The initial Adoption page appeals to the audience’s reptilian brain. At the top of the page, a banner is displayed with a dog and his owner spending loving, quality time together. Then the text below reads real time facts related to homeless and euthanized shelter animals in Dallas. Showing a vast contrast in content, both messages still cause an emotional reaction for its audience, moving them to dig deeper and look for a sense of relief from the discomfort.



That’s where the adoptable trends page comes in!

Dallas Pets Alive added an “Adoptable Trends” section to their general adoption page, which was linked to all of their social media initiatives. It’s a clean page, with lots of visuals of happy dogs and comical headlines. The lists of profiles make the page easy to understand and the information digestible. Once you click on a profile, that’s where you get the cute, and more importantly, happy story of the dog you will eventually adopt…relief found.


Both pages are very intuitive and easily answer visitor’s questions with simplicity of information and images that get them to where they want to go. Both pages also very obviously answer the WHY. Weather that is made evident through the heartbreaking statistics, cute animal pics or Kim Kardahsians Butt, the end goal, or the WHY, is always the same. So WHY do they do what they do? Dallas Pets Alive exists for the purpose of saving shelter animals that are highly adoptable and finding them the loving homes they deserve.

The whole purpose of this campaign as well is to makes use of SEO keywords but in a unique way. These searchable terms don’t necessarily relate to their brand BUT will get lots of traffic and that is what they need.

Facebook & Twitter

For a nonprofit organization with a small budget, social media can help drive a lot of awareness and likeability to the brand. In every social media post, Dallas Pets Alive remained very authentic to their brand by always bringing it back to the adoption of their beloved rescues, no matter what the vehicle the message may have been travelling in. All the Adoptable Trends posts were instantly engaging through the use of popular trending topics but here is how they differed.

The Twitter posts were entertaining, linking many of their trends to the celebrities who spawned them. For example, the adorable puppy below was associated to an anecdote from a very scandalous book called “50 Shades of Grey”. They even took it a step further by tagging the actor in the post (@jamiedornan), who played the main character in the film adaptation of this book. The controversial headlines were a hit and got Twitter followers to take notice. They created a campaign specific hashtag as well (#adoptabletrends) that categorized the content and connected it to its own trending topic. They also made use of other hashtags that directly relate the post to its original trend, in this case they used #50shadesofgrey or #mrgrey.


The Facebook posts revolved more around their audience conversation and storytelling. They called out to their audience to meet each adoptable pet then described their positive qualities. Each post still kept its comedic element but was more conversational and informative; the focus was more on the animal, with the trend simply adding a bit of a twist.


Here are two posts for the same adoptable dog on Facebook and Twitter. In the first three images, Twitter uses tagging to antagonize the celebrities involved and shamelessly and quite hilariously draw attention to the controversy. As you can see, there was so much to say about Kanye, they couldn’t just post once…In the fourth image, Facebook is more laid back, telling the short story of this adorable pooch’s best qualities while casually linking the trending topic. Facebook is more about he conversation and less about the shock value.


A hilarious video was created to go along with the Adoptable Trends campaign and it was a hit! It was posted on their Youtube page, their website and on all the above platforms, showing the adopted dogs with their trending names in real life scenarios. With this video, Dallas Pets Alive tapped into a key audience, Mark Schaffer would call them the Alpha Audience. This is the audience needed to help your content gain shares, likes and overall popularity. As a nonprofit organization, they “recognized the critical importance of social sharing [as a] key to finding brand advocates”. The content was so moving that people just had to talk about it and the video was shared countless times on social media. It “activated [their audience] in a creative way to drive measurable gains – these strategies [were] beyond mere content.” As a result, traffic to the Dallas Pets Alive website “grew by 98% and social engagement went up 112% per post.”



Dallas Pets Alive’s mission is to eliminate the euthanizing of sheltered or abandoned animals by finding happy homes for pets that were passed off by other associations. The Adoptable Trends “increased adoptions year-on-year by 200%” and, as a result, Kim Kardashians Butt now has a new happy and loving home.