“Mom was here.” Why advertisers should care

Advertising agencies usually do a fantastic job on public service advertisements (PSAs), and the Ad Council’s Mom was Here campaign against childhood obesity is no exception. The question is, why don’t advertisers create paid advertising campaigns that are just as good? And what can they learn from PSAs, such as this one?

Here is the campaign’s “Blackout” PSA.

3 things that make this PSA great:

Appeal to audience

Everyone knows that women make the majority of purchase decisions in the household, especially when concerning food. The campaign tagline “Mom was Here” is empowering and positive—“Mom’s everywhere are finding ways to keep kids active and healthy.” Complimenting instead of criticizing.

Not only does the ad appeal to moms, but it appeals to kids as well. The opening image is of three boys playing video games and clearly having fun—a great place to start to draw kids in.


Obesity is a tricky subject when trying to capture someone’s attention. Push too hard and you seem judgmental, and no one will want to watch. Moms don’t want to be blamed, and kids don’t want to hear that they’re fat.

The Blackout ad wins with its subtlety. It never mentions the word “obesity” or any word close to it. Instead, the narrator talks about staying “active and healthy.” Smart and effective.

Creative details

The details in this commercial are terrific.

  • The beginning is active and exciting and draws people in.
  • The opening of the curtain is symbolic of positive choices, and the fact that the kid opens it empowers him to choice as well.
  • The basketball playing in the driveway shows a simple, close-to-home solution.
  • The mom doesn’t scold or nag, she simply turns off the power without the kids knowing. This is important also because the kids decide for themselves to go outside.

This ad shows how to appeal to two audiences at once. And it shows how to tackle a delicate subject with fun and creativity—without risk of offending the audience.

Marketers and big brands can learn from the entire Let’s move campaign, which this PSA falls under. With an easy to navigate website, an engaging Facebook campaign and more, this is a fantastic example for advertisers, marketers and brands to follow.


If you like reading my blog, you might also want to know that I will be blogging from time to time on the Philly Marketing Labs blog. My first post for them is up: Which Social Media Channels Should Your Business Use



  1. blackwatertown · May 17, 2011

    Good ad. Thanks for highlighting.
    It also gives kids watching the sneaky thrill that they are now wise to one of Mom’s cunning tricks.

    • ctmarcom · May 17, 2011

      Good point. I like the way you think! Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s