VB+P's Matt Keats was "Made for This"

By Alixandra Rutnik on Oct 18, 2021

One Club Bronze Member VB+P launches new campaign for Carter's


I asked my dad to keep the pool open until October so I could take one last dip. He warned me the pool heater was broken, but that did not stop me. I’ve been told I’ve loved the water since I was a baby– and it definitely all started with those warm baths in the kitchen sink– nothing like the icy cold unheated pool I willingly jumped into this fall.

One Club Bronze Member VB+P just launched “Made for This–” their latest campaign for adored baby brand Carter’s. “Voicemail from Mom” is the first spot to premier which highlights a mommy and her baby bonding over bath time in the kitchen sink. 

We caught up with our friend Matt Keats who is a Group Creative Director over at VB+P to talk details about his role in the “Made for This” campaign and the joys of being a dad.



What is your professional relationship with Carters at VB+P?

The “Made for This” campaign is the first project in the agency’s new relationship with Carter’s. I lead the creative efforts for the brand along with my partner, Matt Miller, as GCDs. And while the timeline on this was a fast one, it’s been awesome having client partners that are just as passionate and committed to the creative as we are.

What does being a dad mean to you?

As a father of a 3-year old and a 6-year old, it’s a campaign that has naturally resonated with me. Being a dad honestly means everything. It means it’s really not about me at all– it’s about being the dad to these two amazing little human beings. Everything about it is challenging and exhausting, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It has given me greater perspective and appreciation in both my life and my work, and it certainly puts my priorities in order.

"Being a dad honestly means everything. It means it’s really not about me at all– it’s about being the dad to these two amazing little human beings. Everything about it is challenging and exhausting, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world."

Most importantly, it means there’s always cereal and an endless supply of snacks in the house. It goes without saying, for all parents, this has really been a challenging time. So many parents and families have had struggles far greater than anything my family has endured, so I consider us very fortunate. However, from my perspective, the hardest part about being a father during this time is just not being able to do it all, and feeling like you're failing a little bit at everything.

How did you come up with the idea for Carter’s “Made for This” campaign?

Carter’s came to us with the challenge of taking this 150-plus-year-old children’s brand and making it stand for something that could speak to parents today from all walks of life and champion them on their journey.

For us, that meant it was critical to be authentic, because parents are dealing with a lot right now. They don’t need another brand pandering or sugarcoating life to them. “Made For This” was born out of the insight that parents today are constantly struggling with this overwhelming need to be perfect. Whether it’s the pressure of social media, the group forums, the expert blogs, or the advice from friends and family, it all serves to make parents feel like they’re always failing or simply inadequate (myself included).

"“Made For This” was born out of the insight that parents today are constantly struggling with this overwhelming need to be perfect."

So, we wanted to peel away the perfection and celebrate the resiliency you find in the imperfect, in-between moments. Because those are the moments that make parenting worth it. And to remind parents, that it’s normal to doubt yourself, and not have all the answers. Deep down we’re all more capable than the credit we give ourselves.

As a Group Creative Director, what is your working relationship with Stink and Director Eliot Rausch?

Eliot Rausch is a director that has done some really beautiful work with VB+P in the past, so his name always comes up. When this project came along, he was definitely on our shortlist. As a father himself, he really connected with the scripts and that personal connection was incredibly important for us. Not to mention his experience with kids and real people, which comes in handy.

He also brought this beautiful vérité approach to the filmmaking that gave the work the emotional weight we were hoping to capture. Couple that with a tight production timeline and the challenges of shooting in a pandemic, and we have to give a lot of credit to Stink and Eliot for bringing the spot to life so beautifully and smoothly.

Before you landed on the bonding bathtime moment between a newborn and new parents what were some of your other ideas?

We talked to a lot of parents and collected a ton of great stories. While I don’t want to ruin any future surprises, I will say that what was most important was to simply find a moment that felt special and intimate where you can feel all the tension, anxiety, and exhaustion of parenting, as well as the magic and richness. And still be universally relatable.

On top of that, we wanted the missed phone call and voicemail to feel natural. So with all those boxes to check, the list got short pretty quickly. But speaking as a parent who bathed his kids in the kitchen sink next to the drying rack loaded with dishes, I can tell you the tension and drama is very real.

Were you inspired by a voicemail from your own mother?

My mom is great and she does leave really nice motherly voicemails, but no, I can’t take full responsibility on this one. This started with another great strategic insight and universal truth that as parents we can be our own worst enemies and that the encouragement and acknowledgment by others, or “being seen,” particularly by those closest to us, has such a huge impact. And honestly, there is nothing more powerful than the dynamic of mothers and daughters, particularly in this process as they navigate their shifting relationship and roles.

After 150 years how do you keep a brand fresh and exciting?

The goal for this campaign was to create a greater emotional connection to the brand among consumers while also acquiring new customers. So far the responses have been overwhelmingly positive. I don't think it matters if you’re 150 years old or 5 years old– if you can create something relevant to people’s experience today and you can resonate with them on an emotional level, there’s no reason you can’t stay fresh and exciting.

"I don't think it matters if you’re 150 years old or 5 years old– if you can create something relevant to people’s experience today and you can resonate with them on an emotional level, there’s no reason you can’t stay fresh and exciting."

VENABLESBELL.COM


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