Cannes Lions

"Parenthood": Rephrased

FP7/DXB, Dubai / BABYSHOP / 2019

Case Film
Supporting Images
Supporting Images






Babyshop is a children's retailer in the Middle East. It has always stood for celebrating parenthood and being an ally in parenthood. Its primary consumers are Arab mothers.

Now, in the Middle East, owing to a challenging socio-economic environment, the retail category is getting more competitive, with every brand losing focus on building its equity and affinity, and instead, ending up playing the price-offs and discounts game. In the race to temporarily win share of wallet, brands have forgotten the importance of share-of-heart and consumer respect. Arab mothers prefer buying from brands that mean something to them.

Even though discounts tempt the purse strings, they prefer to buy into what the brand stands for and then, buy into the products sold by the brands. In a period of stagnancy, Babyshop wanted to win that share-of-heart and win love from Arab mothers, as a retailer they’d want to associate with.


Arabic, like a few other languages, contains many words stemming from paternal-centered roots. The word “parenthood” (Al Obuwah) is one such word.

Although, many Arabs have, over time, understood that word to mean father and mother, the word “parenthood” in Arabic translates into “fatherhood” in verbal usage.

The primary Arabic word for “parenthood” (Al Obuwah) leaves “mum” out. Other Arabic words, used for “parenthood” such as “Walediya”, are also derived from words such as “Waled”, meaning “father”. There is NO word for “parenthood” that includes or implies "mother".

While Saudi Arabia and the Middle East are evolving when it comes to women's rights and equality, the word for "parenthood`" hasn't evolved.

So, we did something no brand had ever attempted. Working with linguists, we created a new Arabic word, giving equal importance to both parents and putting "Mum" into "Parenthood". Introducing: AL UMOBUWAH. A word that means "Motherhood AND Fatherhood".


We wanted the word to be propagated by all Arabs, beyond simply a video for Mother's Day. But, Arabic isn't a language that people change around. This meant that we needed support and endorsement from people who were trusted. In the Middle East, highly popular influencers are known to be commercial sell-outs and have been losing credibility.

But, we found an opportunity in micro-influencers, who weren't sell-outs, had a credible voice on important topics and would be believed by people. And given the prevalence of social media, we chose these micro-influencers as the perfect trigger to spark conversations and create interactions, and also anticipating negative sentiments, we on-boarded these influencers to be the logical voices they were known to be.

We also integrated the social nature of the idea into other mediums: social influencers launched our collection, a new magazine was printed, schools and on-ground activations spread the word further.


On Mother’s Day, we launched the word on social media, inviting people to use it. Instantly, it sparked positive support. But, it also provoked 50% negative sentiments, mainly from traditionally-minded men, who were outraged about a new word added to Arabic.

Now, we anticipated that negative feedback and had planned to counter it, turning it in our favour. We partnered with 40+ Arabic influencers who endorsed the word, engaging with negative commentators.

Online, we launched a new children’s collection, that also featured in a Dubai fashion show. The proceeds go to a charity for mums and kids.

Interactive in-store and online audio-based experiences, created more familiarity.

Babyshop published and distributed a new Arabic magazine, titled Al Umobuwah.

The word was featured on Arabic poetry platforms, and endorsed by leading Arab media voices.

School children learnt the word across classrooms and events.

Leading news channels endorsed the word and the idea.


Leading Arabic news channels and talk shows endorsed the idea with newscasters and hosts supporting its purpose and inclusion in the vernacular.

The word earned 400,000+ mentions on social media alone.

2.3 billion earned media impressions.

Endorsed by popular Arab media voices, reached 220 million people regionally (92% of people across 6 key markets).

$4.5 million earned media and rising, across leading regional news and mass media online platforms.

And despite 50% negative sentiments in its first week, the word achieved 87% positive sentiments across 6 key markets within 2 months.

Importantly, a petition to include the word in the Arabic dictionary, reached its goal of 100,000 signatories), with a dictionary publication in the Middle East considering and subsequently, publishing the word in its 2019 updates.

Commercial impact (vs. period prior):

+27% brand buzz.

+32% brand love with Arab mothers.

+21% relevance.

+12% consideration.

+4% new customers

+2.3% wallet volumes.

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