Mother’s Day is a time for showing our appreciation to the people who raised us. In this day and age, that means not only mums, but grandmas, aunties, step-mums, adoptive and foster mums, and even single dads who do the job of both parents. When crafting the perfect Mother’s Day campaign, marketers have a lot to consider.
Over is the era of bland cards with daft Mother’s Day poems, floppy flowers and sickly sweet quotes. In the past few years, thanks in a big part to social media, motherhood in the media has gotten real, and so have marketers.
Some call motherhood the most challenging job in the world, but how can marketers appeal to this most hardworking of demographics? Let’s take some pointers from 10 existing campaigns and subject them to our expert rating system.
1. The Discovery Channel, 2020 - To All the Mothers on Earth
Mums come in all shapes, sizes, and species! No one knows that better than the Discovery Channel.
This ad shows various mums and their babies from across the animal kingdom, just doing what they do best. It’s sentimental but not sappy or insincere.
This ad perfectly walks the line between heartwarming and real, hitting the Mother’s Day sweet spot.
We rate it 9/10 because who doesn’t love baby animals?
2. The Academy, 2015 - Only One Person Gets Thanked More Than the Academy
The Academy (the organisation behind the Oscars, if you’re not in the know) knows the value of a mum’s support. In this compilation of acceptance speeches, winners from every category, over many years, take their turn to thank their mother.
This tear-jerker focuses on themes of pride and sacrifice, with big rewards reached in the success of children who grow up to achieve their dreams. Nawwww.
This big thank you from some big stars is a little soppy but still got our eyes a bit damp. We’d love to see an updated version, but it’s definitely worth a solid 8/10.
3. Ritz, 2021 - A Taste of Home
When we think mum, we think safety, security, support and love, whatever form they may take. There are kids out there who struggle to find that with biological family members, and that’s where fostering comes in.
Ritz takes Mother’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate foster parents and their hard work, dedication and compassion since they may generally be overlooked. By collaborating with the American National Foster Parent Association, they created this ad to raise awareness.
In addition, the cracker brand released a collection of Instagram stickers designed to allow parents to post photos of their foster children on the platform while covering their faces to preserve their privacy. In many American states, this is the law for foster kids, making parents feel left out when it comes to showing their pride at every milestone.
We love to see big brands using their influence for good. Ritz deserves 10/10 for making an impact, supporting a genuine cause, and executing a multi-platform approach with this worthwhile campaign.
4. Carhartt, 2021 - The Shift That Never Ends
Mums never stop ‘mumming’, even when their kids are grown up. This ad for workwear turned streetwear brand Carhartt takes it back to its roots. It shows mums decked out in Carhartt gear, working manual and outdoor jobs alongside bringing up their kids.
This image of ‘salt of the earth’ working motherhood is inspiring and a little nostalgic, but we feel it perhaps misses the mark when presenting the modern Carhartt consumer.
We commend Carhartt for emphasising how much mums need a rest with this cute and ‘real’ ad, but we feel it lacks a little ‘oomph’ overall - 7/10.
5. Google Home Hub, 2019 - #HeyMom, thank you!
Kids are always asking questions, especially ones that adults are often not sure of the answer to! It’s usually mums trying to get their heads around the boundless curiosity of childhood, and it’s not an easy job.
This ad shows children of all ages in a bunch of wild and wacky situations, from covered in mud to pulling out a milk tooth to bringing home washing. Each one shouts the same thing - “hey, mom…”, inevitably followed by a predictable but difficult to answer question.
The ad ends by suggesting that a Google Home Hub has the power to take the pressure off mums by answering questions and taking care of little communication tasks throughout the day. It urges kids to “give your original helper a little help of her own”.
While this concept is sweet and gave us a chuckle, we’re not entirely sure how much a Google Home Hub can really do to lighten the burden of motherhood. This one started cute, but the ending fell flat, so 5/10 does the job.
6. Tesco, 2020 - #EveryMum
Another take that champions inclusivity, Tesco’s ad interviews different kinds of unconventional mums and their kids, using real actors to tug at viewers’ heartstrings.
While it is similar to Ritz’s US ad, Tesco’s attempt lacks direction. The ad fails to link back to anything Tesco is actively supporting charity-wise, nor does it promote any Tesco products. Take notes from Ritz next time - 7/10.
7. Samsung, 2015 - Texts From Mum
We all know an older family member who just doesn’t ‘get’ technology and probably never will. With this ad, Samsung gently pokes fun at the technical mishaps of not-so-technology-literate mums. From attempting to use voice to text, resulting in long rambly messages, to failed slang and emojis, they end by suggesting you forgo the fuss and give mum a call this Mother’s Day.
While Samsung doesn’t make an obvious effort to push its products or their features, they remain effortlessly displayed through the story of the ad, taking up the centre of the screen.
This one is a solid contender. It’s funny, relatable, product-focussed, smart, and aimed at the younger generation, who are the main purchasers of Mother’s Day gifts - 9/10.
8. The Body Shop, 2015 - Mother’s Day at the Palace
Have you ever wondered what Mother’s Day is like at Buckingham Palace? We haven’t either, but apparently, the Body Shop (or more like Alison Jackson, the brains behind this ad) had. Together they made this comical thought a reality using a cast of convincing impersonators and a point-of-view filming style from the perspective of a butler.
The result is a hilarious, light-hearted spoof that shows the company doesn’t take itself or its products too seriously. The final message, that every mum should be treated like a queen on Mother’s Day, is both funny and true.
While the ad is a little outdated now, and we think an updated version would show some slightly different family dynamics in the palace, it still has our hearts. We award it 9/10 for creative innovation and a scarily accurate Camilla Parker-Bowles impersonator.
9. Rose & Grey, 2016 - Nostalgia Marketing
Let’s take a look at a company that took a good old fashioned approach to Mother’s Day marketing. In 2016, vintage furniture and home goods retailer, Rose & Grey, launched a campaign that featured their founders’ old childhood photos, evoking nostalgia and conjuring rose-tinted memories of an earlier time.
Although a lot less flashy than others in this list, this campaign connected with consumers on a personal level. Every generation loves a bit of nostalgia marketing, but none more than the currently coming-of-age, Mother’s Day consumers, Gen Z and Millenials.
We have to give props to Rose & Grey for knowing their audience. It may not be the boldest or flashiest angle, but there’s definitely more potential in this concept for other marketers to take inspiration - 7/10.
10. KFC, 2019 - The Chickendales
KFC are notorious for their left-field ads at this point, but this one might just be a step too far.
Going for the comedy angle, this shocker of an ad features a sexy(?) striptease performed by none other than Colonel Sanders himself - okay, a hunky and oiled Colonel Sanders lookalike.
We’re not quite sure why you’d want to subject your poor long-suffering mother to this display, but you do you. You can even type in your mum’s name on the Chickendales website and generate a personalised version if you are a fan. Knock yourself out, but we will be judging you.
In our opinion, there just isn’t a way of making chicken sexy, and why you’d even think that was Mother’s Day appropriate, we’re not sure. This one completely misses the mark. Sometimes you really can try too hard to be quirky.
We give 1/10 for this unnecessary assault on our eyeballs; the one point is for the shock factor. We hope sexy Colonel Sanders never sees the light of day again.
So there you have it, some brand’s fun and funky attempts at making their happy Mother’s Day wishes heard. Which one of these ads caught your attention enough to make you invest in a Mother’s Day gift?
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