The latest baby-food ad to make the rounds isn't what you'd expect. No perfectly tidy nurseries or matching outfits for JCPenney portraits here. Plum Organics' #ParentingUnfiltered campaign is about real family life—messy, frustrating and somehow wonderful just the same.
We see scenes familiar to any modern parent—pumping milk at work, crying over an iPad, a somber goodbye to a pet goldfish, late nights and tired eyes. It finishes with the copy, "If it feels like parenting isn't always perfect, you're doing it right."
Refreshingly, it's neither mom- nor dad-focused (dad's not the caricatural buffoon, for example), and there are same-sex couples and people of color. Along with the spot comes a hashtag, a website and heavy Internet marketing, including partnerships with popular parent bloggers.
It's Plum Organics' first national campaign, says Neil Grimmer, CEO and co-founder.
"When we first launched seven years ago, our marketing strategy was super scrappy, focused solely on grassroots, word of mouth and PR. We're still that brand at heart," he tells AdFreak. "So as a concept, Parenting Unfiltered came very naturally to us. ... The baby industry has done a wonderful job of setting up an expectation that everything is beautiful and rosy and majestic, and then you actually get into your own life and it's messy and raw and not always pretty. Parenting Unfiltered is about not only acknowledging but celebrating the complicated reality that is parenting."
This spot comes in the wake of Similac's wildly popular campaign addressing heated parenting topics, including the ever-volatile breastfeeding vs. formula and SAHM vs. working-mom wars. Both ads have minimal product inclusion. (Blink, and you'll miss the container of Plum Organics puffs on the kitchen counter.)
"The campaign approach is very Plum in that it's really speaking to our fans at an emotional level. As a lifestyle brand, we don't feel it's necessary to lead with a product-first campaign strategy," says Grimmer. "The ultimate goal is to be thought of by our consumers as a trusted source and friend, so when they're in the baby-food aisle and it comes time to make that purchasing decision, Plum is that friendly face on the shelf."
It's also reminiscent of Coke Argentina's beautiful ad highlighting the agony and ecstasy of early parenthood (toddler destruction throughout, yet unbridled joy when the starring couple find out they're expecting baby No. 2).
It's a continuation of a slow but lovely trend of brands portraying the beautifully real parts of parenting.