Al Umobuwah: Putting "Mum" into "Parenthood"

Introducing: AL UMOBUWAH. A word that means "Motherhood AND Fatherhood".



Arabic, like a few other languages, contains a variety of 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 both - father and mother - the word “parenthood” in Arabic actually 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".

So, they did something no brand had ever attempted.

Working with linguists, they 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".

Strategy & solution

A social media video, on Mother’s Day, launched the word, instantly, sparking conversations.
And provoked 50% negative sentiments, mainly from traditionally-minded men, who were outraged about a new word added to Arabic.

The negative comments helped them fuel the social conversation.
They partnered with 40 Arabic social media influencers, who endorsed it, engaging with the negative commentators.

Through their influencers, they launched a new collection for toddlers, infants and kids - that was featured in a Dubai fashion show.

Audio-based interactive experiences created more familiarity with the word. They created an audio pronunciation guide on YouTube. And they launched interactive screens across Babyshop stores that were activated by saying the new word ‘Al Umobuwah’, showing the change from the old word to the new word.
School children learnt the word across classrooms and events.

A new Arabic magazine - titled with the word ‘Al Umobuwah’ - was published, and distributed.


Leading Arabic news channels and talk shows endorsed the idea:

“A new way to say parenthood.”

“It’s sounds different. But Arabic has many such words. The more we use it, the more we’ll get used to it.”

“Everyone should use it. It adds to the language without insulting it.”

“An innovative idea. Shows both parents matter. Doesn’t prejudice against fathers.”


Generated 1.2 billion earned media impressions.

Reached 200 million people regionally (91% of Gulf).

Earned $1.3 million earned media and rising, featuring on leading regional and local news and media platforms.

Triggered +27% brand buzz vs. January-February 2017.

Earned +32% brand love with Arab mothers vs. January-February 2017.


Importantly, despite 50% negative sentiments in its first week, today, the word has 87% positive sentiments. And a petition to include the word in the Arabic Dictionary, reached its goal, in just 32 days.

3 Cannes Lions Awards

ipg media brands - Belgium