Do brands that defy motherhood cliches gain more cut-through? The Marketing Society Forum

Imperial Leather brand-owner PZ Cussons' latest ads aim to 'subvert perfect mother stereotypes'


Why should parents be different from any other audience when it comes to cliched campaigns? Common sense and a truckload of effectiveness case studies argue that originality drives cut-through better than conventionality.

Does showing the parent-child bond make you cliched? It absolutely does when it's just wall-to-wall baby and mother shots. It absolutely doesn't when it has a fresh angle at its heart.

Take P&G's recent 'Proud sponsor of mums' Olympics campaign, which celebrated the maternal bond, but through an original lens. In this case, 6m views on YouTube tells us that originality drives cut-through better than a cliche ever could.


The ups and downs of parenthood are talked about in great depth these days. People are itching to give their views on everything related to bringing up children; the success of proves this.

So it is great that advertisers are realising this and being more 'real' with their messaging. It isn't good enough to just say 'this product is great'. Consumers want facts, and the Cussons website, which includes a blog with tips and facts for 'real' mums is a great follow-on from the TV ad.

The site is not preachy, but gently offers its advice on good motherhood.


They absolutely do, and it's about time. At last brands are showing parenthood for what it is - an emotional roller coaster with extreme highs and an equal amount of lows. Any brand that has the honesty to show life for what it is has a far better chance of creating an honest bond and connection with its audience.

The stereotype of the 'yummy mummy' living the perfect life with a newborn is a mile away from reality, and consumers are too savvy to believe this image. Good luck to those brands that are listening to customers and developing creative campaigns that build on the consumer insights they are getting.


The PZ Cussons 'Mum & me' baby range and advertising is a fantastic response to a clear market need.

Born out of strong insights about life as an expectant or new mum, the campaign resonates, without resorting to cliche.

As a mum of four myself, the ads rang true, without embracing schmaltzy sleeping baby shots. By embracing the reality of being a mother rather than the Hollywood version, this launch will be a big success. I only wish I'd been a part of the thinking that led to it.


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