Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

A “Mother Blanket?” Find out how a campaign used a traditional practice to fight child malnutrition! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

September 15, 2022

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more.

A Note from Miles Everson:

Are you familiar with Guerrilla Marketing?

According to Jay Conrad Levinson, this type of marketing is unconventional, engaging, and easy to execute. Campaigns of this type make a huge impact and easily stick to consumers’ minds.

I personally enjoy encountering guerrilla marketing campaigns. For me, these strategies serve as a reminder that promoting an offering doesn’t always have to be too serious or complicated.

Let’s talk about a brilliant and inspiring guerrilla marketing tactic for today’s article.

Read on to know how two non-profit organizations in Colombia tapped into the expertise of a global marketing agency to address an undernourishment issue among Ecuadorian Andean children in 2021.

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing

There’s a common misconception among some parents when evaluating their babies’ early stages of physical development:

They think chubby babies are healthier than those who are thin.

Here’s the thing: While it’s true that chubby babies look bigger and cuter than others, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re healthier.

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) standards, the proper way to assess infants’ development is through their height and stature, not simply their weight.

Bringing Knowledge of Child Health to the Andes Mountain Ranges

The Ecuadorian Ministry of Public Health’s data states over 300,000 Ecuadorian Andean children struggle through their early years of development with chronic undernourishment.

This silent health problem comes with irretrievable consequences, including death.

The thing is, the Ecuadorian Andean tribe is an isolated community. Since they’re living in the mountain ranges, thousands of Andean mothers find it hard to go to clinics to have their babies checked.

No matter how much they want to monitor their children’s development, their isolation makes it impossible for them to conduct periodical medical visits and clinically track whether or not their babies are growing healthy and strong.

Another challenge?

There are some Andean communes where modern medicine is condemned or disbelieved.

So, to help Andean mothers solve this problem, non-profit organizations Fundación Vivir and Consejo de Protección de Derechos Ambato (CCPDA) teamed up with marketing agency Ogilvy Colombia in June 2021 to reinvent an Andean tradition in an effort to help save lives.

They called this reinvention…

The “Mother Blanket” campaign!

The Mother Blanket was inspired by the “Sikinchi,” a blanket Andean mothers use to carry their babies securely on their backs. According to Andean culture, this is the closest connection mothers have with their children.

So… how did Fundación Vivir, CCPDA, and Ogilvy Colombia use this blanket to help Andean parents monitor their children’s health and development?

Taking cues from the traditional Andean textile, the campaign team redesigned the OMS Infant Growth Chart and printed it into the blankets. Using local Andean dialects for mothers to easily understand, the Mother Blanket showed a baby’s ideal height for every stage of development.

The inspiration for the Mother Blanket’s designs came from Andean icons that have a huge meaning for the indigenous worldview. These icons include:

  • Andean Cóndor – This symbolizes spirituality and power.
  • Corn – This represents life and a primordial element of identity.
  • Hummingbird – According to a legend of the Abya Yala community, this bird is the messenger of their gods.
  • Chuquiragua Plant – According to an ancient indigenous legend, this plant determines the gender of the volcanoes.
  • Llama – This is a sacred animal for the Incas.
  • Kiwicha (Amaranto) – According to Inca beliefs, the sun god created this plant as a gift to humanity. The plant is consumed in a drink to provide men with greater strength, energy, and virility.

Using these icons made the Mother Blanket’s design feel more culturally authentic. Fundación Vivir and CCPDA gave these blankets to communes, and explained to mothers of all ages how to use the material to measure their babies’ height and identify possible ailments.

The packaging of the Mother Blanket also included information on how to use it properly.

Was Fundación Vivir and CCPDA’s “Mother Blanket” campaign effective?

Many Andean mothers who received the Mother Blanket appreciated the gesture and found this extremely helpful. It gave them assurance and a more concrete standard on evaluating their children’s physical development.

These were the results of the campaign:

  • During the campaign, over 15,000 chronic diseases among Andean babies were identified with the help of the Mother Blanket.
  • 70% of reached Andean mothers came back to their clinics for their and their babies’ pediatric checkups.
  • The campaign bagged the following awards:
  • 2 Gold awards, 2 Silver awards, and 2 Shortlists at the 2021 Cannes Lions Awards
  • 2 Silver awards, 1 Bronze award, and 1 Merit award at The One Show 2021
  • 2 Gold awards, 1 Silver award, and 4 Bronze awards at the 2021 El Ojo De Iberoamérica Awards
  • 2 Silver awards and 2 Bronze awards at the LIA Awards 2021

Based on these figures and recognitions, we can see that the “Mother Blanket” campaign achieved its objectives of communicating with Andean mothers and helping them ensure their babies grow healthy.

A round of applause for Fundación Vivir, CCPDA, and Ogilvy Colombia!

As a business owner or marketer, what can you learn from this guerrilla marketing strategy?

It pays to know AND understand WHO your target audience is.

One of the key aspects of a successful marketing campaign or strategy is its ability to connect and communicate with its target market… and to do that, you need to know and listen to what consumers are saying so you can capture their attention.

Take for example the “Mother Blanket” campaign: Fundación Vivir, CCPDA, and Ogilvy Colombia knew aside from being isolated, another reason why Andean mothers rarely attend medical checkups is some of their community members—or they themselves—do not believe in modern medicine.

So, to establish a connection with these people, the campaign team decided to adopt an Andean tradition—the “Sikinchi”—and incorporate their objectives to engage with the indigenous community.

The result?

The campaign team not only earned the favor of the Andean community but also educated mothers about the proper way to measure their babies’ growth!

Get inspired by today’s guerrilla marketing feature!

By listening to and understanding your target market, you and your brand can also create captivating campaigns that break down walls of unbelief or disbelief, and leave a positive, lasting impression on your customers’ minds.

It’s time to make consumers experience your brand’s “motherly” care!

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.)

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Thursday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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