Client: Home Centre
Product: Father's Day & Beyond
Title: A Dad's Job
Country: Middle East
Date Of Campaign: 19 June, 2020
Background: BUSINESS CONTEXT: GROWING DURING A CHALLENGING ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT.Home Centre is a homegrown home furniture and furnishings retailer from and across the Middle East. It competes for regional market share with IKEA - the well-known furniture brand from Sweden.During COVID-19, while brick and mortar retail came to an abrupt standstill, e-commerce was growing and burgeoning in the Middle East, including in the home retail category.With people staying home, people wanted to update their homes, with whatever their purse-strings allowed.In a challenging economic and social environment where homes were negatively affected by COVID-19, during physical retail and mall lockdowns, Home Centre, as a business, was focused on earning attention and driving transactions through its e-commerce platform.STRATEGIC CHALLENGE: FOCUSING ON EMOTIONAL PERSUASION IN A SHORT-TERM, OFFER-DRIVEN CATEGORY, WITH NEW-AGE ARAB MOMS. With 80% of its buyers being moms, and its primary target audience being new-age Arab and expat Arab moms, to grow, Home Centre needed to effectively appeal to Arab moms across the Middle East.Run-of-the-mill promotions drive short term sales spike in the home retail category in the Middle East. But rational persuasion was not proved to build any brand consideration nor brand relevance, when looking at the category or at Home Centre’s historical performance marketing. The opportunity lay in winning share-of-heart from Arab moms to win share-of-wallet.Looking at research conducted into this audience, during COVID-19:• 65% were paying more attention to what brands were saying.• 72% preferred emotional stories.• 83% wanted to associate with more purposeful brands.• 95% of the work from that had earned their respect during COVID-19, did all of the above.TRANSFORMATIONAL GOAL: BEING SEEN AS A BRAND NEW-AGE ARAB MOMS WANT TO ASSOCIATE WITH, NOT JUST A FURNITURE STORE.Home Centre defined key objectives for growth during June-August 2020, in the middle of COVID-19 lockdowns:Objective 1 / Get new-age Arab moms to consider Home Centre:With consideration being a key factor in driving growth, improving on brand consideration was key for Home Centre. KPI: +10% in the home furniture and furnishings category.Objective 2 / Be seen as a more relevant brand that gets new-age Arab moms:Brand relevance would drive purchase intent. Home Centre had an opportunity to grow and be more relevant. KPI: +25% higher brand relevance.Objective 3 / Drive new-age Arab moms to visit Home Centre (online or offline if they were comfortable visiting):We needed to increase footfall (online + offline) by +150% to get people visiting Home Centre and achieve the aggressive business goals of +50% Revenue and +50% Purchase Volumes, to keep the bottom-line consistent and stable, after the jolt of the onset of the coronavirus crisis.
Idea: THE BREAKTHROUGH INSIGHT: A CULTURAL TABOO THAT NO BRAND IN THE MIDDLE EAST HAD SPOKEN ABOUT NOR ADDRESSED.Home Centre’s purpose is centered around ‘helping every home tell its own unique story.’As a brand that believes every home has its unique story to tell, it was important to tap into the truth that there was one story not being told across homes in the Middle East.According to Gallup, 15% of homes in the Middle East don’t have a father. For context, it’s 19% of homes in US/Canada (19%). The global average is 13%. Raising a child and making a home isn’t easy. Doing so as a single mom is even harder, especially in the Middle East and especially during the COVID-19 crisis. Yet, many single moms across the Middle East (Arabs and non-Arab Expats) not only face everyday challenges of bringing up their children themselves, but also have to deal with everyday obstacles created by members in their communities, in society and even in their families. Single moms remain a cultural taboo in Arab society, often, seen as having failed at being good wives to their husbands, or never being good enough to fill the shoes of an absent father to their children, or worse, including being wrongly judged as immoral and adulterous.So, they are never shown in advertising in the Middle East. When we’ve brought up the topic of single moms with brands before Home Centre, those brands have shied away from it believing it to be “too provocative”.We wanted to challenge that taboo, with Home Centre becoming the first brand in the Middle East to ever speak about, recognise and support single moms.THE BREAKTHROUGH STRATEGY: BEING THE FIRST BRAND TO CHALLENGE THE CULTURAL TABOO AND PREJUDICE AGAINST ARAB SINGLE MOMS.If Arab single moms are doing a dad's job every day, besides doing a mom's job, why don’t we celebrate and include their homes on a day we celebrate dads too?To shine the light on single moms in the Middle East, supporting them, even if Arab society did not, we picked an occasion when homes with single moms are left out.We disrupted a conventionally used but attention-worthy cultural occasion in the Middle East: Father's Day.We set out to integrate a new conversation into culture and media, by tackling this untapped social and cultural insight around the deep-rooted bias against Arab single moms.We wanted to effectively integrate into channels used for Father's Day and transform those channels to instead challenge the cultural taboo around Arab single moms, in a year-long plan that comprised initiatives across channels.In turn, we wanted to consciously include and integrate single moms into not just Father's Day, but also, into advertising, marketing and society.The culture deserved that. Arab single moms deserved that.(1) CHALLENGING SOCIO-CULTURAL PREJUDICE AND BIAS:•On Father’s Day, a film on social media, featured real people, NOT actors cast in a role. It showed children sharing tributes in what seemed like yet another Father’s Day ad. •Until the rug pull moment when it’s revealed that the children were talking about their moms - real single moms, shot across homes in the Middle East.(2) MONITORING SENTIMENTS:•An interactive survey enabled those watching to ‘Agree’ or ‘Disagree’ with whether single moms should be respected for what they do every day.•Through social listening tools we monitored sentiments around the topic of single moms on Father’s Day. (3) FACING INITIAL NEGATIVITY AND HATE:•Immediately 50% negative sentiments, mostly from conservative sections of Arab society, were triggered because of single moms being featured. The negative comments ranged from Home Centre “supporting women being adulterous”, to Home Centre “encouraging women to divorce their husbands”, to stating how Home Centre was “disrespectful and insulting to the culture and should be banned”, and chastising Home Centre for “standing up for women who were just not good enough for their husbands.”•But Home Centre expected it and had a plan. (4) GENERATING ADVOCACY:•Key influencers, both single moms and women opinion leaders, supported the initiative on social media, including the pledge of “I Stand For Single Moms”.•We seeded the film and conversations through regional television shows (news and talk shows), driving credibility and media influence on sentiments towards Home Centre’s POV.(5) GENERATING MORE VISIBILITY:•With leading Arab image banks, algorithms were changed, so search-terms related to fathers or families, instead led to images of single moms with kids.•“How to Mom & Dad” videos featured single moms doing things Arab dads do, such as fixing car tyres, doing a barbecue and fixing a bike.(6) CELEBRATING & UPLIFTING:•Given the fact that financial growth and independence is important, career e-workshops, with certified coaches helped with career mapping and growth.•Most homes have name plates on doors, in the name or the family name of the men. Challenging that norm, Home Centre created name plates for single moms. These name plates could also be customised online.•Children were invited to share tributes for their moms who double up as dads, and the most charming ones were put onto gifts for single moms in-store and online.•Proceeds went to charities supporting single moms in the region.
Results: (1) INSTANT MEDIA IMPACT:Home Centre’s initiative travelled the region, earning positive word-of-mouth, influencing perceptions and generating endorsements, and it travelled the world too, as the first idea tackling the taboo of showing Arab single moms in advertising.During the first 3 months of the initiative, we achieved:•1.1 billion earned media impressions.•$3.72 million earned media value.•102 million cross-platform organic views.•63% of the region reached.(2) INSTANT PERCEPTUAL IMPACT:An interactive survey linked to the launch film and monitoring sentiment analysis with social listening tools, helped identify insights and sentiments around the topic of single moms. We observed how during the first 3 months of the initiative, Home Centre influenced positive perceptions:•+512% uplift in conversations around Arab single moms (the most conversations-a-month to-date).•+86% positive sentiments around Arab single moms after 3-months (vs. 50% negative in the first 24 hours).As Home Centre’s was the ONLY conversation around single moms, attributing the mentions, particularly with shares and tags to Home Centre that could be tracked, allowed us to measure the sentiments effectively.(3) HUMAN IMPACT:The initiative drove enduring impact too:•230,000 pledges for “I Stand For Single Moms”.•70% of the unemployed single moms coached in the workshops, are working as professionals now.•Image libraries showcase single moms.(4) INSTANT BUSINESS IMPACT:With 80% of buyers being moms, and the primary target audience being Arab and expat Arab moms, during COVID-19, Home Centre needed to appeal to Arab moms as its primary audience group.Now, the awareness and attention earned by Home Centre from Arab moms for taking on this untapped topic of single moms (many of whom they knew in their personal lives) drove immediate connection, affinity and the resulting sales growth with Arab moms too. Note: Since there was no other sales-focused communication or promotion from Home Centre and business-as-usual communication had not driven incremental growth, the spike can be largely attributed owing to this initiative.Key achievements in the 3-month period starting Father’s Day vs. 3-month period prior, during the midst of hard lockdowns and COVID-19’s financial crisis.1Objective: With consideration being a key factor, improving brand consideration was important. KPI: +10% in the home furniture and furnishings category.Achievement: +23% in brand consideration.2Objective: Home Centre had an opportunity to grow on relevance.KPI: +25% higher brand relevance.Achievement: +28% in brand relevance.3Objective: Drive new-age Arab moms to visit Home Centre (online or offline if they were comfortable visiting).KPI: Comparing the period of 3 months post-initiative versus the period 3 months pre-initiative, we needed to increase footfall (online + offline) by +150% to get people visiting Home Centre. We also needed to achieve the aggressive business goals of +50% Revenue and +50% Purchase Volumes, to keep the bottom-line consistent and stable, after the jolt of the onset of the coronavirus crisis.Achievement: As witnessed in the graphical data in Exhibit G, after the launch of the initiative, Home Centre saw sudden spikes in its commercial KPIs, gradually stabilizing to sustained levels to benefit the longer-term growth for the retailer too. +190% Footfalls (online and offline), +170% Purchase Volumes, and +120% Revenue.AWARDS:Epica AwardsClio AwardsDubai Lynx (Grand Prix)WARC Global Effectiveness Awards