2017 Strategy Awards: Huggies leaves no baby unhugged

The brand launched volunteer hugging programs in hospitals to highlight the power of hugs.

PowerPoint Presentation

Grand Prix
Gold: Game Changer
Gold: Challenger strategy
Silver: Turnaround Strategy
Silver: Creative Catalyst

The challenge with the diaper category is that it is fraught with functional claims. Because Huggies’ competitor Pampers has clinical product performance demos and decades of hospital endorsement, the brand is typically the default choice for most
new moms.

To grow sales and market share, Huggies needed to deliver an experience that went beyond double leak protection and absorbent liners.

Hugs have always been a part of the brand’s DNA, creating emotional equity. Through consultation with the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres (CAPHC), Ogilvy & Mather planners learned that hugs are much more than just emotional comfort. They regulate body temperature, strengthen the immune system and promote weight gain. Basically, hugs help babies thrive.

No Baby Unhugged was born out of this insight. The brand wanted new moms to understand and experience the power of hugs, so Ogilvy helped Huggies launch volunteer hugging programs in hospitals across the country. Together with the CAPHC, the brand set up No Baby Unhugged hospitals where highly screened volunteers administered hugs to newborns (particularly those whose moms were still recovering from difficult births or who had to leave their newborn in the NICU to return home to their other children).

The first No Baby Unhugged hospital launched in 2015 and another two opened in 2016. The team chronicled the launch of the volunteer programs and captured testimony from healthcare providers on the medical benefits of skin-to-skin hugs through two online videos,“What Happens Next” and “Generations of Huggers,” which launched on Mother’s Day.

In conjunction with pediatric experts Dr. Christine Chambers and Dr. Marsha Campbell-Yeo, the brand created the world’s first Hug Plan, a birth plan centered around the power of hugs. The Hug Plan was promoted through a media tour, social, print, digital and a national Twitter party. All efforts drove to the campaign website where moms could learn more about skin-to-skin contact, download the Hug Plan and become a No Baby Unhugged mom (the brand also made a $5 donation to the hospital hugging program for every woman who uploaded a photo of herself hugging her baby or pregnant belly).

The initiative has given Huggies (a brand that has been traditionally steeped with emotional brand equity) new armour against a formidable competitor by imbuing it with medical authority.

The program also tightened the focus on new moms, given that the lifetime value of one mom can be as high as $2,600 per child. Between March and August 2016, sales of Huggies Newborn Diapers increased by more than 16% and market share rose by more than two share points.

Online advertising achieved a click through rate as high as 12 times the industry benchmark. The campaign achieved more than two million likes, comments, shares and re-tweets on social media, and an engagement rate as high as 60%.

Brand | Kimberly-Clark (Huggies)
Agency | Ogilvy & Mather
Planning director | Michelle Lee
Digital strategist | Robyn Hutman