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persuasion notebook

Persuasion Notebook offers quick hits on the business of persuasion from The Globe and Mail's marketing and advertising reporter, Susan Krashinsky. Read more on The Globe's marketing page and follow Susan on Twitter @Susinsky.

Athletes are inspirational figures. They push themselves in ways we'd like to think we all could, they suffer, they achieve. Advertisers have long tapped into that emotional appeal to push their products with sponsorships tying their brand to the people we root for.

And increasingly, advertisers are also finding there is power in the families that produce and support those athletes.

During the London Olympics, Procter and Gamble scored praise for its ad campaign that focused on the parents behind the athletes. In their heartstring-tugging ads, "best job" and "kids," P&G declared itself a "proud sponsor of moms" – a perfect fit for their target consumer and a strategy to leverage the Olympics in a different way.

The "thank you, mom" tagline has been maintained by P&G, and on Friday it released a new video continuing its link between the Olympics and mothers. It features Maria Shriver talking about her mother Eunice, who founded the Special Olympics. On its Facebook page, P&G declared that it would donate one dollar for every time the video was shared through social networks, up to $50,000 (U.S.)

Also during the games, Petro-Canada released a series of ads based on the idea that every victory belongs to the athlete's parents as well. Similar to P&G's "kids" spot, which showed children taking the place of athletes (to communicate that Olympic stars will always be kids in their parents' eyes), the Petro-Canada spots showed real parents dressed in the swimsuits, Judo uniforms and leotards of their Olympian kids, to symbolize how they emotionally put themselves on the field with them.

Now just in time for Mother's Day, Sport Chek is joining the list of companies looking to foster goodwill by connecting with the parents of Olympians. In its new ad, a member of the Canadian national women's hockey team, and 2010 gold medal winner Meaghan Mikkelson endures punishing training runs, CrossFit workouts and ice baths. Over the shots, a phone message from her mother Betsy plays with words of encouragement.

The touching spot is just one in a slew of ads marketing around Mother's Day that have either launched recently or will soon. But the connection between sports and moms seems to be a hot trend for advertisers.