Even with pushback from Japanese citizens, the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees have stated the Tokyo Games will go on, but athletes and brands are still wondering what the Games will ultimately look like. Despite these challenges, sponsors of the Games are starting to fire on all cylinders. Today we explore how one major brand modified its well-known “Thank you, Mom” campaign to shine a light on an important fight of signed athlete, Allyson Felix.
Porter & Gamble and its brands are known for powerful spotlights of athlete’s parents when leading up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. But this year, the company is shifting gears. For its 2021 activation, P&G owned brand, Pantene, partnered with six-time Olympic gold medalist, activist and mom, Allyson Felix, to focus on her impact in and out of sport. After suffering complications in 2019 when giving birth to daughter Camryn, Felix used the traumatic experience to call attention to the fact Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women are two to three times more likely to suffer mortality from preventable pregnancy-related causes than white women due to racial disparities in the U.S. healthcare system. A press release announcing the campaign states how Felix, “became a voice for millions of mothers of color who are subject to healthcare inequalities and have a higher maternal mortality rate, helping to create a better future for generations to come.” In the “What’s Your Legacy” campaign, Pantene is using its resources to uplift this advocacy work and show how Felix’s record-breaking athletic accomplishments are only a part of her story. Felix explains the ethos of the campaign by explaining that, “After having Camryn, defining my legacy became so much more than my accomplishments on the track—she inspired me to use my voice and make a difference for her and for the world.”
As the globe tunes in to one of the most-watched sporting events, P&G chose to leverage its sponsorship and marketing engine to focus on something far beyond a product or feature. Instead, it is ceding its platform to amplify the voice of an athlete past her athletic accomplishments to raise awareness for a critical matter that affects millions of women of color every day. Not every brand can sponsor the Olympics or Paralympics – but all brands can think about how they can use their marketing partnerships to raise awareness for important issues in society today.