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"Parenthood": Rephrased

"Parenthood": Rephrased | Babyshop | Fortune Promoseven (FP7)
Download Download JPG | 3530x2502px
Industry: Retail & Distribution
Market:United Arab Emirates
Style: Minimalism
The Interpretation of the Challenge (30% of vote )

Babyshop is a children's retailer in the Middle East. It has always stood for celebrating parenthood and being an ally in parenthood. Its primary consumers are Arab mothers.

Now, in the Middle East, owing to a challenging socio-economic environment, the retail category is getting more competitive, with every brand losing focus on building its equity and affinity, and instead, ending up playing the price-offs and discounts game. In the race to temporarily win share of wallet, brands have forgotten the importance of share-of-heart and consumer respect.

Arab mothers prefer buying from brands that mean something to them. Even though discounts tempt the purse strings, they prefer to buy into what the brand stands for and then, buy into the products sold by the brands.

Amidst that challenging retail environment, Babyshop faced a period of stagnancy. So, Babyshop wanted to win that share-of-heart and win love from Arab mothers, as a retailer they’d want to associate with.

The Insight / Breakthrough Thinking (30% of vote )

Babyshop wanted to own a positioning around 'Celebrating Parenthood'. While working on the positioning, we realized something interesting about the Arabic word for "Parenthood".

Arabic, like a few other languages, contains many words stemming from paternal-centered roots. And the word “parenthood” (Al Obuwah) is one such word.

Although, many Arabs have, over time, understood that word to mean father and mother, the word “parenthood” in Arabic translates into “fatherhood” in verbal usage.

The primary Arabic word for “parenthood” (Al Obuwah) leaves “mum” out. Other Arabic words, used for “parenthood” such as “Walediya”, are also derived from words such as “Waled”, meaning “father”.

There is NO word for “parenthood” that includes or implies "mother".

While Saudi Arabia and the Middle East are evolving when it comes to women's rights and equality, the word for "parenthood`" hasn't evolved. And leaves "mother" out.

So, we set out to do something no brand had ever attempted.

Working with linguists, we wanted to a new Arabic word, giving equal importance to both parents and putting "Mum" into "Parenthood".

The Creative Idea (20% of vote )

Introducing: AL UMOBUWAH. A word that means "Motherhood AND Fatherhood".

On Mother’s Day, we launched the word on social media, inviting people to use it. Instantly, it sparked positive support. But, it also provoked 50% negative sentiments, mainly from traditionally-minded men, who were outraged about a new word added to Arabic.

Now, we anticipated that negative feedback. So, we partnered with 40+ Arabic influencers who endorsed the word, engaging with negative commentators.

Online, we launched a new children’s collection, that also featured in a Dubai fashion show. The proceeds go to a charity for mums and kids.

Interactive in-store and online audio-based experiences, created more familiarity.

Babyshop published and distributed a new Arabic magazine, titled Al Umobuwah.

The word was featured on Arabic poetry platforms, and endorsed by leading Arab media voices.

School children learnt the word across classrooms and events.

Leading news channels endorsed the word and the idea.

The Outcome / Results (20% of vote)

Leading Arabic news channels and talk shows endorsed the idea with newscasters and hosts supporting its purpose and inclusion in the vernacular.

The word earned 400,000+ mentions on social media alone.

2.3 billion earned media impressions.

Endorsed by popular Arab media voices, reached 220 million people regionally (92% of people across 6 key markets).

$4.5 million earned media and rising, across leading regional news and mass media online platforms.

And despite 50% negative sentiments in its first week, the word achieved 87% positive sentiments across 6 key markets within 2 months.

Importantly, a petition to include the word in the Arabic dictionary, reached its goal of 100,000 signatories), with a dictionary publication in the Middle East considering and subsequently, publishing the word in its 2019 updates.

Commercial impact (vs. period prior):
+27% brand buzz.
+32% brand love with Arab mothers.
+21% relevance.
+12% consideration.
+4% new customers
+2.3% wallet volumes.

Cultural/Context Information for the Jury (150 words)

Arabic is not a language that brands change around or play around with. When Arabic has been experimented with, brands have been banned in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

Nike designed a range with Arabic scripture, but the brand faced a lot of flak as well as sanctions such as removal from key Middle Eastern malls.

A dress designed by Karl Lagerfeld cause a major stir in the Arab world, as the dress had certain words that were considered culturally rich. There was a boycott and the designer had to issue an apology and pull the dress off.

So, this was a big brand and business risk for Babyshop to take. But, we persuaded them to be brave and act giving Arab mothers an ultimate tribute vs. just do another "happy mother's day" campaign or promotion.
Production Company:
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Creative Strategy
Retail / Travel / Leisure
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