The latest tear-jerking commercial in Procter and Gamble’s “Thank You, Mom” series had its TV debut during the Golden Globe Awards earlier this month, but it had already logged millions of views on YouTube and countless shares on social media by then. The ad, timed to cash in on the growing excitement about the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, features sentimental scenes of mothers helping their children recover from faceplants and yardsales as they progress from first steps to first gates, goals, half-pipes, and camels, and finally to Olympic glory.
Titled “Pick Them Back Up,” the ad is reminiscent of “The Best Job,” the 2012 Summer Games version—which garnered 21 million online views and an Emmy Award—wherein moms make sacrifices for decades so their kids can become champions. These ads are not the kind where athletes tell you to buy specific products because they will make you cleaner and happier. They are the kind that open your heart with powerful images of motherly love and thrilling feats of sports heroism, and then, in the last few seconds, fill it with half a dozen familiar logos of the parent company’s brands. I don’t know how advertising alchemists calculate the revenue these feel-good spots generate, but I know from the comments I’ve read on social media that they have been reaping a huge bounty of goodwill.