P&G ads: Failing in Order to Succeed

I am a little behind, but thought the following ads have incorporated those aspects I discussed in other posts about companies that create ads that inspire and – essentially – tug on the heart strings. Here is an example of a video advertising campaign that came out during the Sochi 2014 Olympics.

This second video is probably the most touching to me to date. The slogan for this ad is “The toughest moms raise the toughest kids. P&G proud sponsor of moms.”

Correlating closely to the previous video, there has been quite a parenting stir going on in cybernews. In an article 10 Common Mistakes Parents Today Make (including me) by Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis of the Huffington Post, there were some profound observations about letting children fail in order to be successful. Her column says, “One reason given is that parents today are too quick to swoop in. We don’t want our children to fall, so instead of letting them experience adversity, we clear the path. We remove obstacles to make their life easy. But adversity is a part of life, and only by facing it can our children build life-coping skills they’ll need down the road. So while it seems like we’re doing them a favor, we’re really stunting their growth. We’re putting short-term payoffs over long-term well-being.”

I am not a parent, but I do know that I am going to want the best for my kids. I personally struggle through deciding what is best for me. How do I make sure I teach my children what they need to know in order to succeed? These videos stimulated so much thought about how to parent, how to teach out children to never give up – and letting them fall in order to teach them that lesson. Just the other day, I was with a mother and her little baby. We were chatting near some electric outlets and the mother was constantly trying to protect her baby from getting zapped. I would have done the exact same thing. Let me be clear, I am not saying that parents ought not protect their children from danger. They should. But they should also be keen to explain what failure is, and why it needs to happen in order to succeed (a lesson I still have a hard time learning when I fail).

Interestingly enough, these videos and the article are not just great PR, they are a great lesson in the foundations of education. In school, there almost seems to be a misconception of failure. Right now, students do not pass their classes most in part due to if they pass or fail tests. Some teachers and school curriculum don’t base a passing grade on student test scores, but the way we, as Americans, measure student success rates is mostly through student test scores. Case and point – I am not a good test taker. The success of my grade school, middle school, and high school were based on tests. I was a good student, excelled in my project-oriented and graded assignments, excelled in writing and English, but bombed tests. Essentially, my failing grades on tests did not reflect the knowledge I had actually gained in these classes. Luckily, I worked with teachers on ways I could demonstrate that I wasn’t failing my learning. They did not cushion me, but provided me with the opportunities I needed to grow and maintain confidence that I was actually a smart kid.

Those were the boosts I needed to keep going. Just like moms, the teachers rose to the occasion. They saw me fall, and then saw what I needed in order to succeed. Great job moms and teachers, and great PR P&G.