Pampers Tackles Vblogging with ‘A Parent Is Born’ Mini-Series

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Launched only yesterday on Pampers.com ‘A Parent Is Born’ is Pampers’ first attempt to “vlog.” The series – consisting of 12 well-edited short documentaries featuring writer and actress Suzie Barston and professional photographer Steve Barston – is already playing on Pampers’ site. The quality of the show is not questionable – but the approach to promote it is at least… amusing.

Pampers announced this show with a classic: the press releases that praises the brand beyond everything else. All the expected buzz-words are there: “world’s leading diaper brand” “largest global brand” and “the world’s top-selling brand” all highlighting the same superlatives if you note. Amazing how a writer can say the same thing in so many different ways. Whoever writes press releases for Pampers is one damn good writer, I give you that. However, he/she makes excessive use of buzz-words that are a mood breaker for any journalist (leader/leading; best/largest; award winning; cutting-edge; revolutionary, etc).

Well, a press release is a press release – let’s cut Pampers some slack, shall we? But then again, a “Webb Series” (where ‘Webb’ is probably a misspelling of ‘Web’) that consists of 12 episodes is something that does trigger some expectations, given the leading brand and the subject…

pampers-pr-web-press-release

A series usually begins with the pilot and then the public waits for the next episodes. Pampers breaks all the rules. They announced the launch of the series yesterday and that was it. All episodes are now online, available in full for your viewing pleasure. There are two lonely comments at the time, and a few sites covering Pampers’ latest PR stunt – which I will take the liberty to refer to as a ‘PR goof’ from now on.

Brand Week quotes Pampers’ North American marketing director Patrick Kraus stating the following: “[This] isn’t a branded video, as we don’t have any product placement in there.”

The statement strikes me as funny when all episodes start with “Pampers Presents” and end with “Presented by Pampers.” Product placement is not mandatory to make a video “branded” – a marketing director for a world-leading brand should know that.

A Parent Is Born, Presented by Pampers.

The PR campaign for this Web-series is overall poor, and according to the same Brand Week source, little research was done for this project in an attempt to keep things real. I can only imagine how much was spent to produce this show – there is no mention that the Barstons are volunteers, on the contrary: there was a casting for the show and this couple was chosen “just based on their personality” and how they behaved on camera (how can a professional actress and a professional photographer behave on camera, when their lives take place in front of the camera all the time?) So casting two talented people who are already used to the camera and just happened to be expecting was a stroke of luck for Pampers. OK, I’ll buy this.

I also buy the “lack of research” part – it’s obvious, since the launch of the show has little coverage online at this moment. What I don’t really understand is how is Mr. Kraus expecting to connect with the WHAMs and other parents online without a large online PR campaign. Apparently this campaign is the first attempt to move ad dollars from TV to online media – does Mr. Kraus expect to pay pennies online?

Mr. Kraus was probably under the impression that the Pampers brand-name is enough to get massive media coverage for this show, and for the recently redeveloped Pampers Village Website. Well, it’s not. A failed PR campaign with goofy statements like “this is not a branded video” is enough to get my attention when there are no other notable news stories to cover. Also, given the fact that I am mother of a 11 months little boy – however not a Pampers customer since these diapers give my baby a rush and have a strange scent when wet – parenthood stories are something that appeal to me. Pampers managed to produce a very good show: credible, emotional, authentic. But we a proper online PR campaign, including social media outreach, the show will only be viewed by a fortunate few, who are not necessarily the ones who really need it.

Without further delay, the Everything PR Goofy Award of the week goes to Pampers for wasting resources on a show that fails to reach its audience because of a poorly-crafted online PR campaign.

No word yet on if any of Pampers’ PR firms – which includes Fleishman-Hilliard & Hill & Knowlton – were involved with this campaign.

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