World’s best ads ever #47: P&G’s ‘Strong’ puts supportive mothers on the podium
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
There’s a simple reason why ‘Strong’ is Procter & Gamble’s most successful global campaign in its 175-year history. It sheds light on the overlooked truth that behind every great athlete stands a great mother who raised them.
The two-minute, 16-second advert introduces viewers to four Olympic athletes: a volleyball player, a swimmer, a runner and a gymnast. Before they participate in the world’s biggest sporting event, each is transported to moments from their youth, when their mothers helped protect and guide them.
The swimmer flashes back to a memory from boyhood, in which the elevator carrying him and his mother broke down. “Take a deep breath,” she says to the boy. Then, he ascends the diving platform.
Later, in another flashback from his teenage years, he questions his ability to his mother on the phone between tears. She responds: “Son, in my heart, I know you can.” Then, he takes a dive.
Debuting 100 days before the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, ‘Strong’ was part of the consumer goods corporation’s larger ‘Thank you, Mom’ campaign – a rare sponsorship deal inked in 2010. Rival Johnson & Johnson had taken up much of the opportunities in previous years. P&G’s marketing team reported acting fast, making the decision over a weekend.
The tear-jerking, award-winning commercial successfully weaves each athlete’s story into one narrative, from vulnerability to victory, with their proud mothers by their side throughout.
‘Strong’ was a massive success. Ad agency Wieden+Kennedy reported that the spot garnered P&G $500m in global sales, 76bn global media impressions and more than 74m views. The campaign also won P&G a Gold Effie.
The ad remains compelling today because it not only shows the fallibility of the strongest figures, but how vital supportive mothers are in each of our lives.