When I was little I dreamed of competing in the Olympics. I watched The Cutting Edge so much the VHS should’ve snapped (“Toe pic!”). I followed the Nancy Kerrigan/Tanya Harding drama with the seriousness of foreign affairs (my roommate and I dressed up as the ill-fated pair for Halloween in college). I practiced my Lutzes and my Salchows and I dreamed of doing a back flip on ice like Surya Bonaly. So when Proctor & Gamble’s “Thank You, Mom” video started popping up all over my Facebook feed, I had to watch.
The commercial follows the mother-child relationship from infant to adult athlete and pulls on our heartstrings along the way. The mini-athletes learn to walk, skate, ski and snowboard, taking plenty of tumbles along the way, but mom is always there to pick them up and dust them off. At the 1:15 mark we get the pay-off – the skier passes an Olympic marker and one by one each of the athletes we’ve watched grow up in the past minute celebrates an Olympic victory. At the end of every vignette is a proud mother and then, finally: “For teaching us that falling only makes us stronger. Thank you, Mom.”
Give me a minute, here. I’m getting emotional just writing about it.
I remember watching the McDonalds ads for the Summer Olympics and thinking, athletes and junk food? Well, that’s an odd partnership. No one actually substitutes fries for apples! Proctor & Gamble and the Winter Olympics on the other hand, well that’s a pairing as natural as hockey jerseys and detergent.
For all of those ad agencies working on Super Bowl spots, you’re on notice; Proctor & Gamble has set the bar.