Mother’s Day marketing can be both easy and difficult for brand managers.
On one hand, the holiday has so many well-established traditions—flowers, brunches, family celebrations, etc.—that pulling together an acceptable, innocuous campaign is relatively simple. On the other hand, the flood of similar messaging makes it difficult to stand out from the crowd.
To make an impact, a campaign either must deliver perfection with one of the standard approaches or add an original twist.
What do these sorts of exceptional takes on Mother’s Day look like? Here are 10 campaigns from previous years that every marketer can draw inspiration from:
This piece from Budweiser stands out as the perfect execution of a traditional Mother’s Day ad. It starts with a grown man (NBA All-Star Kevin Durant) paying tribute to his mother in his MVP acceptance speech and then incorporates clips of other stars with their moms. The ad is funny (Durant’s mom provides a great voice-over of motherly advice layered on top of basketball plays), moving (there’s rousing music and tears aplenty), and overall is pitch perfect.
This ad from jewelry maker Pandora is great because of its original premise. Children are blindfolded and told to pick out their mother from of a lineup of women. The footage of kids doing things like reaching for hands and touching hair in order to find their mom—perfectly captures the little things that make the mother-child bond so special.
The setup also smartly adds some tension, since viewers are unsure whether the kids will make the right choices.
How do you put an original spin on a Mother’s Day campaign? Brawny’s answer was to switch the point of view. In this ad, we see the world from kids’ vantage points as they play, learn and make terrible messes (which, of course, moms contain as best they can by rushing in with Brawny paper towels).
The challenges of motherhood aren’t confined to the areas traditionally covered by Mother’s Day activations (diapers, tantrums, etc.). Dating site eHarmony showed that they understood this by highlighting a difficulty that’s rarely talked about in advertising: trying to date as a mom. The piece smartly refuses to sugarcoat the experience, but it also provides a beautiful, uplifting moment at the end.
This ad from Teleflora stands out because it brilliantly subverts convention. The brand took audio of Vince Lombardi’s iconic “What It Takes to Be Number One” speech and overlaid video footage of mothers. The contrast of seeing tough women showcased while Lombardi talks about the toughness of men is both exciting footage and thought-provoking content.
This digital video from Kraft pushes the envelope in a fun way without crossing a line. A woman hilariously mixes the watered-down language mothers are expected to use (“What the frog? You’re acting like flipping goose-nuggets.”) with a torrent of curses that is much closer to how most moms actually speak (or at least think).
Of course, Mother’s Day messaging isn’t confined to video and traditional ad spots. Every year it floods digital channels as well.
How can a brand stand out on these platforms? A good example is mattress-maker Allswell, which smartly launched #BantheBrunch—a social campaign that rallied moms to stay in bed rather than get roped into a traditional Mother’s Day brunches that they don’t really want.
Another good example of a successful digital Mother’s Day campaign is SeatGeek’s “Make It a You & Mom Day.” The theme of the email message wasn’t especially groundbreaking; it simply encouraged people to use SeatGeek to purchase experiences for their moms. However, the approach was original. The brand engaged recipients with an animated GIF that recreated a mother-child text exchange.
9. Ulta Beauty
This campaign from Ulta Beauty was an example of a creative way to incorporate social media. The brand had customers share the best beauty tips that their moms had given them and included the Instagram handle of each person featured. It then tied it all together with a hashtag—#PamperHerWithPretty—that encouraged people to indulge their mothers and themselves.
This last campaign is for marketers. Agency MRY had the mothers of its employees give an overview of their child’s role in advertising and, not surprisingly, things get pretty funny as moms struggle to explain what their grown kids actually do. The piece is fun, not just because of its industry-specific humor, but also because it captures a universal truth: sometimes parents just don’t understand.
How will you celebrate this Mother’s Day, PR Daily readers?
Michael Del Gigante is the founder of MDG Advertising, a full-service advertising agency with a leading reputation for developing effective branding strategies. A version of this article originally appeared on the MDG blog.