One Act Can Save a Life – Pampers-UNICEF partnership to eliminate MNT

Matthew Price, Global Lead for Pampers-UNICEF, P&G

In 2006, we began a partnership between P&G’s largest brand, Pampers, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that has a long-term goal of eliminating maternal and newborn tetanus (MNT), an infection that occurs in unsanitary birth conditions in some of the most deprived areas of the world, and claims the life of one newborn baby every nine minutes. We continued to expand our ‘1 pack = 1 vaccine’ Pampers-UNICEF campaign across our regional markets before rolling it out globally in 2008. It is now one of P&G’s longest running, global cause-related marketing campaigns.

Several years ago, the scale and impact of our work caught the interest of Professor Linda Scott, World Chair for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, who developed a case study about the partnership with funding from The Pears Foundation to encourage deeper thinking among students about the role of business in society.

The two year study of partnership resulted in a case study which highlights how a company, our company, can do well by doing good for society. The case study looks at the challenges that can face both companies and humanitarian organisations when entering into this kind of relationship and how they can be overcome.

Prior to linking up with P&G through Pampers, UNICEF had been making important strides towards MNT elimination for almost two decades. However, public awareness of the disease was low and donor funding in support of the effort increasingly inadequate. Now the Pampers-UNICEF campaign has resulted in millions of media hits globally for MNT, providing an extraordinary level of exposure for the disease and an important platform for UNICEF to secure additional donors. Professor Linda Scott’s case finds that UNICEF’s own brand name added substantially to the campaign’s power to build our business, and has proved invaluable to our recruitment and retention of highly talented staff at P&G. At the same time, our marketing power and reach has helped deliver sources of new donations for UNICEF on a sizeable scale.

The team at Saïd Business School also found that such a ground-breaking partnership between two large and distinct organisations is not without its complications. When the partnership began, both organisations faced challenges due to differences in organizational structure, priorities and timetables, sources of funding, communication with consumers, and with regard to leadership and reciprocity. We granted Saïd Business School unprecedented access to both of our organisations, to identify bottlenecks in the partnership’s success, as well as detailing how managers overcame these. Thus, through comprehensive analysis of a high-impact example, the case provides managers with insight into how one of the world’s largest non-profit organisations and P&G as its multinational counterpart designed and implemented a global partnership to transform funding for and awareness of a social cause.

Since the partnership began in 2006, Pampers has been helping to protect 100 million women and their babies from MNT. UNICEF’s credibility, combined with our global marketing power, mobilised consumers and customers to make a real impact. The campaign has also shown surprising staying power, year after year, in the markets where it has run the longest. The partnership has led to year-on‐year increased sales for Pampers and at the same time, our company has become a significant corporate donor in UNICEF’s history.

The campaign’s ongoing success is due to a strategic fit between the mission, vision, and brand equity of both our organisations. UNICEF’s mission to promote the ‘survival, protection and development of children’ complements Pampers’ vision for ‘caring for children’s health and development.’ As the campaign has grown, we have both found that the theme of caring for mothers and babies across the world resonates strongly with Pampers’ consumers and UNICEF’s donors. This has meant that the campaign is now part and parcel of the Pampers brand.

As Professor Linda Scott says, “This ground-breaking partnership has transformed funding for and awareness of a social cause. I believe the Pampers-UNICEF partnership signals a genuine historic innovation, demonstrating a new approach to fighting global problems and the roles companies can play.”

To find out more about how Pampers is helping to protect over 100 million mums and their babies, visit our website or our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter or contact us directly through the P&G corporate press office.

Matthew Price
P&G Global Pampers-UNICEF Project Leader

Pampers-UNICEF partners

“The Pampers-UNICEF partnership continues to play a vital role in supporting UNICEF’s global effort towards eliminating MNT. Pampers funding is helping protect 100 million women and babies in 26 of the world’s poorest countries. This year, we look to take a big step closer to MNT elimination. We are hopeful that, by the end of 2011, 7 of the 26 countries where Pampers funds have been allocated will have reached completion of their MNT vaccination activities.”

Dr Rownak Khan, UNICEF Senior Health Specialist

Pampers-UNICEF people

  • Since 2006, Pampers and UNICEF have provided more than 300 million vaccines that are helping protect 100 million mothers and their babies from maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT)

Pampers-UNICEF goal

  • P&G’s renewed CGI commitment will mean a decade of partnership with UNICEF to combat MNT

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