At its most basic, the job of mothers (and fathers, too), is to safely usher their progeny into adulthood. If they survive, then the biological imperative is complete. But in the absence of the big challenges–such as attack from wild animals, struggling to provide adequate nutrition, or lacking necessary medicine to prevent death by disease–the modern parenting industrial complex has invented a whole host of new things for moms to fret about. Have you adopted the right parenting style? Is your child getting a good mix of extracurricular activities? How much screen time is too much? Are you poisoning your child with sugar?
Yet, with so much early effort paid to making sure your kid turns out right, there are simply no guarantees; at a certain point, all of the parenting ideologies wash away and children make their own choices–good or bad– and become their own people. Which is why fabric softener brand Comfort has focused simply on a mother’s love in its new long-form (and weepy) spot.
Created by Ogilvy & Mather, London and Singapore, “Prisoner & Astronaut” follows two moms on their way to visit their sons whom they haven’t seen in a long time. While one has literally reached the heights of success and the other, one of the worst possible outcome for most parents, the film shows how each loves their son unconditionally and the impact that love has had on their boys’ lives.
Of the campaign, Andre Laurentino, Global ECD for Unilever at Ogilvy & Mather, London says, “We think that mothers are overloaded with pressure and information to be the perfect mum. They hear conflicting advice from experts, websites, friends, and family. This can be overwhelming and stressful. Comfort thinks the answer isn’t about how perfect you can be as a mother, but about the love you give.”
And in the tried and true vein of “sadvertising,” you can’t help but feel a stir of emotions while each of the moms talk about the struggles their boys have had and the support they’ve always given them–though the prisoner-astronaut extreme might breed a more cynical response, and the connection to fabric softener might seem a little tenuous. Laurentino says, however, that these stories were able to illustrate the complicated relationship between parent and child in a way that brings love to the fore.
“Comfort thinks love beats perfection. And a mother’s relationship with her kids is central to this. This is a story about two loving mothers, and their two sons who are grateful for the love they receive from them. The fact that you cannot tell whose mother is who nails the point that, as long as you love your children, you’re being a good mother. It’s a truly human, tender way to make our point.”