Unilever has created a documentary-style ad for Comfort fabric conditioner made by Ogilvy & Mather London and Singapore, which features the stories of two different mothers.
The film features two women talking about their sons and their experience as parents, as well as interviews with the men. One man is an astronaut, shown in training, while the other is a prisoner in an American correctional facility.
As the story unfolds, both women talk about how much they miss their sons and worry about them and how they tried to raise them well but wished they had done some things differently.
The sons meanwhile reflect on their childhoods and how their mothers always showed them love.
"The day I visited my son", which uses real people rather than actors, deliberately obscures whose son is whose.
The concept of the ad is that there are no good or bad mothers and that love is all that matters, while seeking to release mothers from the "pressure to be perfect".
The Comfort brand name is not seen until the end of the ad and there is no footage of people using the product.
The chief creative officers behind the ad were Eugene Cheong and Andre Laurentino and the executive creative director was Nicolas Courant, all from Ogilvy.
The art director was John-John Skoog, while the copywriter was Fabio Montero. The ad was directed by Damon Cameron through the Australian production company Collider Films.
Cheong said: "We chose a prisoner and an astronaut to illustrate the dramatic contrast between two sons whose paths in life have taken them to very different places. What unites them is the time they must spend away from their families.
"Despite their sons’ disparate circumstances, both mothers share the same doubts and believe they could have done things better."
Unilever said it wanted to defy norms for fabric conditioner ads by making something more gritty.
Ogilvy and Mather’s London office worked with Unilever’s marketing team to "decipher the brand’s place in modern day culture" while Ogilvy’s Singapore team brought the concept to life.
Yves Geisenberger, the global brand vice-president for fabric conditioners at Unilever, said: "The pressure on mothers today is intense. Everywhere you turn there is an opinion, a celebrity or a style of motherhood that is deemed ‘right’. And it changes constantly.
"What we set out to do with this film is to take a moment to remind all mums, and society as a whole really, that, in the end, it’s the little everyday things that mothers do to express their love that matter more than trying to reach perfection."
The ad will be shown on television as well as social media channels.
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