How Medela and Ogilvy used Instagram to support new moms

An influencer campaign built an online support group for mothers seeking to breastfeed beyond the common three-week threshold. The award-winning team recounts its success.

Medela and Ogilvy had a specific objective for their message: to help new moms keep breastfeeding for 22 days.

Although most mothers (80%) want to breastfeed, one in four don’t make in past the first 21 days, according to research from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hence, the 22-day benchmark. 

Medela and Ogilvy knew they could help with a targeted influencer campaign.

“We know that for many moms, breastfeeding can be an unpredictable and unique journey,” say Kim Aasen, senior director of marketing at Medela LLC, and Monique LaRocque, U.S. account lead at Ogilvy. “Medela, together with Ogilvy, set out to prove that, with the right support, all moms deserve the opportunity to overcome unexpected breastfeeding hurdles and make it to day 22 of breastfeeding.”

The campaign followed two moms, Caroline and MJ, and hoped to generate a discussion and community of support on social media channels.

“A major part of the effort was creating a positive movement by encouraging moms across the nation to share their #22Victories stories, offer advice, share and learn new tips, and establish a sense of community among breast milk feeding parents,” say Aasen and LaRocque.

“Through the process,” they add, “Medela fostered community and is continuing to provide moms with the support and resources they need, regardless of what stage of pregnancy or postpartum they are in, to continue breast milk feeding for as long as they choose.”

It was important for Medela and Ogilvy to be transparent about the struggles the new moms faced as they started their breastfeeding journey.

“We worked to ensure that we were open about issues as they came up, including MJ’s struggle with preeclampsia and the obstacles it created when she was trying to breastfeed,” say Aasen and LaRocque. “Both moms were excited and willing to share their unfiltered and raw breastfeeding experiences with Medela’s community of moms and their own followers on social media, although neither knew what it would truly be like.

“After giving birth, both moms created daily diary-like video and photo content, capturing the authentic and powerful moments of their breastfeeding experiences in real-time. In addition, we had interest from other moms who shared their stories and offered tips.”

The team behind the campaign chose Instagram as the optimal social media channel to drive the message home.

“With newly added functionality provided by stories and highlights (to permanently feature the stories), there was a desire to develop and feature content to engage viewers hungry for more,” say Aasen and LaRocque. “We also used question stickers to allow Medela moms to provide real-time support to these moms in the throes of the first three weeks of their postpartum experiences. Using Medela’s resources, the Ogilvy team illustrated a series of tips and shared them across the social platforms, with the goal of helping other new moms who were following along.”

Influencer marketing requires lots of management and social media listening, but Aasen and LaRocque had a surprising answer about their most helpful tool for executing the campaign: the telephone.

“Being connected and staying on the phone with each other and the moms played an essential role in the success of this campaign,” they add. “We often forget that at the heart of powerful campaigns are human stories. And to ensure we all were aligned, we had to stay connected.”

However, there some digital tools also proved useful, says Aasen and LaRocque, including Trello, Illustrator, Photoshop and After Effects.

The results were the most exciting part.

“The campaign … connected with moms in a significant way, both in terms of the metrics and the recognition that the vulnerability of motherhood is a shared experience,” says Aasen and LaRocque. “Moms want and can handle honesty and are eager to help, especially with a potentially controversial topic. One in four moms who saw the campaign engaged with it through comments, interactions and posts.”

Numbers attest to the campaign’s success:

  • There was a 30% increase in visits to Medela’s Instagram, with about 8,000 new followers and 80,000 overall visits, between June and November 2018.
  • Most of the 6,700 comments received during the campaign period had positive sentiment.
  • What’s more, 44% of comments were messages of support, and 30% were moms sharing their own stories.
  • Helpful tips and messages of gratitude made up 13% and 6% of comments, respectively.

The big lesson for marketers looking to replicate Medela’s and Ogilvy’s success? Make sure your campaign is built on strong relationships among all the stakeholders.

“Embarking on a campaign where the story is unfolding in real time depends on a deep trust among partners (Medela, Ogilvy, the moms and the audience) and a firm belief that moms want to support one another and that motherhood, with its tremendous challenges and splendid victories, deserves to be celebrated,” Aasen and LaRocque add.  

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