Pampers scores with pro-life Super Bowl ad

by Karen L. Willoughby |

(YOUTUBE/screen capture)Pro-life groups are encouraging Christians to send a note of appreciation to Procter & Gamble for an endearing ad celebrating life that begins in the womb.

CINCINNATI, Ohio (Christian Examiner) – Preborn and newborn babies alike share the spotlight in Pampers' newest ad about the many firsts in the life of a tiny baby and her mom ... and dad ... and extended family.

A 30-second version appeared during the Super Bowl, but a 1 minute 48 second version has garnered more than 1.3 million viewers since it first was posted on You Tube Jan. 15.

Filled with the emotion Super Bowl advertisers like to put into their commercials, the ad speaks to the heart of new moms everywhere.

"Today, the first public announcement of pregnancy is often an ultrasound image posted to Facebook," said Betsy Powell, Sanctity of Human Life program director for Focus on the Family, one of the best-known pro-life faith-based organizations.

"The Pampers commercial acknowledges what all parents know to be true: the baby shown on the ultrasound is the same baby who will fill their lives with those first cuddles, first smiles and yes, those first sleepless nights," Powell told Christian Examiner. "It is a subtle affirmation that the baby in the womb is, indeed, one of us, from the very start."

American Family Association, another high-powered national pro-life faith-based organization -- is sending out a request today to ask its respondents to send a note of appreciation to Procter and Gamble for the ad, said AFA's Senior Counsel Patrick Vaughn.

"We're asking our friends to thank Procter & Gamble for their pro-life and family-positive presentation," Vaughn told Christian Examiner.

With gentle sounds of a piano playing in the background, "her first hello" is the heartbeat heard through a sonogram, with the baby's face and fist clearly visible.

"From the first scan to the first cuddle, every first is significant no matter how small they seem," is Pampers' description of the ad. "For both baby and mom it's a journey full of firsts, and there's nothing more rewarding than experiencing each and every one together."

Following the sight of the baby visible in the sonogram are the words "Your first tears of joy," and the image of a mom's reaction to the first sight and sound of the child not yet born.

"Pampers gets it," said young single mother Jennifer Hardesty of Utah, who chose life despite an unplanned pregnancy. "Pampers gets it big time. That's what I feel about Paisley," who was born Jan. 11.

Couples of several races/ethnicities and their newborns are featured; so too is a newly born child covered with the residue of birth. Several scenes are of Asians, giving rise to the possibility that Pampers Japan first made the video, which followed the success last September of a Tokyo ad agency's tear-enriched "Mom's First Birthday" ad also available on You Tube.

Other excerpts from the must-see-and-share "firsts" ad:

-- "Her first, 'Where are you, Mom?'" as the newborn extends her hand.

-- "Your first, 'I'm right here,'" shows the mom lightly kissing the forehead of the infant in her arms.

-- "His first fan," has a dad playing peek-a-boo to the delight of a watchful baby.

-- "Their first group hug," evokes a sense of family.

"It's a journey of firsts for both of you, and you're in it together," Pampers reminds viewers. The ad's tagline is a polite, "May we join you on your journey?"

As for Pampers' arch-rival Huggies: Its current ad places babies' bottoms on various surfaces (a ball gown is one). After the baby is picked up, a white-gloved hand wipes over the surface before giving a thumbs-up indicating "no leaking."

Procter & Gamble's Pampers introduced the world to the concept of the disposable diaper just over 50 years ago. It remains the number one brand world-wide, with sales exceeding $10 billion for the first time in 2012.

Kimberly-Clark's Huggies trails at $7 billion, but in the U.S. has a bigger share of the market, according to Adweek.com.