Several years ago Union Township resident David Palmer began developing an idea that would make an enormous difference for athletes and their families during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Palmer, who is head of global sports marketing for Proctor & Gamble, worked with the United States Olympic Committee to create the P&G Family Home, a comfortable place for U.S. athletes and their families.
“It’s a place to get out of the hustle and bustle of the Olympic atmosphere,” Palmer said. “To make sure they have a place to go, a place for them to meet.”
Palmer said the idea developed into much more than a hospitality program that the Cincinnati-based company would sponsor for athletes mothers and families.
He said instead, they worked with the Olympic Committee before the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games to develop a comfortable place where Olympians and their families would come and feel welcome.
“We came back to them with creating a Family Home,” Palmer said. “We were very specific with it being a home rather than a house.”
Palmer said they only had a few months to develop the Family Home idea before the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
“It was really an amazing thing when we started to dive into it, working with the Olympics Committee and both present and former athletes,” Palmer said.
He said they started to realize how important it was for athletes to have a place to meet up with their family members and a place they knew their families would be well taken care of.
“I was not necessarily believing that having a Family Home would tie to performance as I saw it play out in Vancouver,” Palmer said.
He said having the Family Home definitely made a difference for the athletes and put their minds more at ease.
The Family Home at the London Olympics was part of P&G’s “Thank You, Mom” campaign, which recognized athlete’s mothers.
“To see it grow in London, from my standpoint, made me really feel like ‘Wow, we are making a difference,’” Palmer said.
Palmer said they began building out the Family Home in London about two weeks before the Olympics began this summer.
“The Family Home was located in a building called Vinopolis,” Palmer said. “It was an old wine museum and restaurant and wine store.”
Palmer said the Family Home was centrally located with direct access to Olympic Park.
“We came in and put up designs and walls and added our finishing touches to it to make it feel more like home,” Palmer said.
He said once the Olympics began, the Family Home was a place for athletes and their families to meet, watch events on T.V., relax, play games, grab a bite to eat, celebrate a birthday and much more.
Palmer said the Family Home featured several of P&G’s brands, but not with the intention of selling products to families while they were there.
“We looked at 30 different brands, which brands are endemic in the home,” Palmer said.
He said they began to understand the biggest brands that people have in the home, and created services for athletes using the brands.
“In the Gillette Man Cave we offered shaves from professional barbers,” Palmer said.
He said it was funny to watch countless numbers of guys get a shave and said they have pictures of some of them falling asleep.
“Engaging with the Family Home and walking through it, they realized they know the brands,” Palmer said. “It brings that level of familiarity.”
The family home also featured a P&G Beauty Salon with services from beauty brands that included Pantene, CoverGirl, Secret and more, a Duracell station to charge electronic devices, the Pampers Playground for children and much more.
“It was a great opportunity for people to really engage with the brand,” Palmer said.
He said the feedback about the Family Home that they have received and are still receiving from athletes and their families has been positive.
“We have received overwhelming response from the families,” Palmer said. “Very thankful and lots of gratitude that we were able to provide a place for them to meet and for them to relax.”
Palmer said being in London and being able to see his idea grow was incredible.
“It was above and beyond what I envisioned as being the guy who really created the idea,” Palmer said. “It was incredible to witness and be a part of that.”