Seasonal holidays are always a busy time for marketers. Think Valentine’s Day, Black Friday, and Christmas. Not every holiday is relevant to every marketer of course. But savvy retailers will figure out ways to create marketing opportunities during the various seasons. What is “Singles Day”, after all, if not an alternative Valentine’s concept for those without a special Valentine?
But everyone has a mother, which makes Mother’s Day a holiday we can all get behind. Even in the face of COVID-19 – and perhaps even because of it – Mother’s Day is becoming more special and spend-worthy. In fact, according to current research by the National Retail Federation, 78% of consumers say that Mother’s Day is important to them, given the current state of the pandemic, and they are even planning a small increase in their holiday spending.
With or without a pandemic, celebrating mothers is universal and relatable, and that’s why it’s on the holiday marketing list for B2C retailers and brands. In that spirit, we’ve taken a look at Mother’s Day marketing campaigns from the past few years and compiled a list of the ones we love. Usually sentimental (and only rarely daring or subversive), Mother’s Day campaigns are all about love, gratitude, and spoiling mom with the things that matter most to her.
So let’s take a look:
Coca-Cola: Mother vs. daughter perspective
Mothers and daughters share a complex relationship. This universal story is beautifully told in a Mother’s Day video by Coca-Cola, showing a woman’s coming of age from the perspective of the mother, and then from the perspective of the daughter. Silhouettes of the familiar Coke bottle in the top right corner of the screen indicate which side of the story is being told. Smart, interactive, engaging: this is video storytelling at its best.
Discovery Channel: Expressing gratitude for mothers (of all species)
The world-famous nature channel, Discovery, decided to celebrate Mother’s Day with a heartwarming video showing moms of other species doing what mothers do best: caring for their young. It’s a fitting thank you “to all the mothers on earth”, as the brand wrote in a social media post. After all, who doesn’t love watching animals in action in the wild? It’s a perfectly toned, sentimental campaign for the occasion.
Unique in the Creek: Which TV mom are you?
You don’t have to be an international brand to get clever with Mother’s Day marketing. Unique in the Creek™ is an e-commerce company manufacturing and selling DIY wreath-making boards and accompanying products. The brand created its own kind of “board” for a fun Mother’s Day Twitter post: it features images of famous moms from TV shows, with the simple question, “Which TV Mom Are You (or which is your Mom most like)?” What a creative and entertaining way to draw attention to the Unique in the Creek brand as Mother’s Day approaches!
Lancome: Beauty in a 3D poster
Widespread lockdowns and social distancing meant that OOH (Out of Home) advertising was a less prominent concern among marketers during the pandemic. Just prior, Lancome came out with a fabulous build poster in Westfield London shopping mall, featuring a larger-than-life Julia Roberts wearing a 3D cascading dress. What an incredible visual experience that takes the billboard concept to the next level. We’ll surely be seeing more like it as the world opens up and foot traffic returns. In the meantime, enjoy the view of a head-turning poster that makes Mother’s Day makeup an occasion!
IKEA: Tell Mom you love her
The Swedish icon took a more traditional catalog-style approach to Mother’s Day on its website but with an interactive twist: a hover feature over the images highlighting product details and prices. This was combined with the theme “There are more ways to say ‘I love you mum’”, showcasing curated product combinations. For example, “Take her breakfast in bed” displays utensils and bed accessories. “Give her some me time” features relaxing armchairs, candles, and blankets. “Help her travel back in time” includes photo frames and shelving. IKEA never fails to inspire with its straightforward yet cleverly engaging approach.
THE ICONIC: All the ways she “mums”
For Mother’s Day 2020, Australian online fashion retailer THE ICONIC teamed up with creative agency Emotive to launch a video that sat perfectly with the consumer mood. At a challenging time when mothers were handling lockdowns and homeschooling, THE ICONIC decided to honor them with a montage of real mothers and kids in all kinds of everyday moments. The result is a moving (if not slightly syrupy) video that definitely does the job it set out to do. It was also a fitting testament to the unique time of the pandemic when mothering required wearing even more hats than ever before.
The Academy: Thank you, Mom (sob, sniffle)
Do you know that spine-tingling feeling you get when an Oscar-winner gives an emotional acceptance speech? And that moment when they burst into tears and thank their mom? Now, imagine dozens of those moments from the world’s biggest stars, patched together in a 2-minute video and you’ve got a simple, powerful, and irresistible piece of Mother’s Day marketing from The Academy, the institution behind the Academy Awards. This video is perfect in every way because it is totally authentic. It is made up of genuine moments in which the love felt by the winners towards their mothers can’t help but jump off the screen. And the Oscar goes to… this Mother’s Day campaign!
McDonald’s: The gift she never knew she wanted
OK, so Mother’s Day campaigns tend to be emotional, sentimental, even a bit cheesy, but this social media campaign does it all with tongue firmly planted in cheek. McDonald’s promoted a simple image of the brand logo and slogan “I’m lovin’ you”, and asked viewers to “Give mom the gift she never knew she wanted – being tagged in a #MothersDay card from McDonald’s”. Hmm, massage? Yes, please! Jewelry? Sure! A McDonald’s card? 🤔.
In any case, it’s a funny, catchy idea and it definitely got the conversation going in the comments!
Swarovski Touchstone Crystal: Copy that does the job
Sometimes, it’s the small touches that leave a big impression. The Touchstone Crystal brand of Swarovski did a great job with the opening copy on its Mother’s Day gifts page:
“Loves unconditionally. Does the work of many – for free. Kisser of boo-boos. Has mastered the art of answering the same question 1,000 times. Teacher. Healer. Disciplinarian. Friend. Whomever you call Mom – show her you care every day – and especially on her special day. Wrap up gifts of sparkle – and lots of hugs (virtually or in-person). We recommend ordering by or before April 27th (cannot guarantee holiday delivery).”
Cute and catchy. Never underestimate the power of great copy!
Yard NYC: Challenging the status quo
When the typical Mother’s Day campaign seems to follow a familiar, wholesome theme, one award-winning ad agency in New York decided to stand out with something different. Very different. During the COVID pandemic, moms were juggling a lot of balls in the air: work from home, homeschooling, conference calls, and much more. So Yard NYC suggested its own take on what mothers really want for Mother’s Day: to be left alone. The campaign (which features language more colorful than we ordinarily like to publish on this blog) included a video, digital swag, such as screen wallpapers and Zoom backgrounds, and printed tote bags, all themed with leaving mom alone. As a boutique agency-driven campaign, it works in its cheekiness and spirit. And kudos to Yard NYC, which donated the proceeds from sales of the campaign’s branded items to a charity assisting mothers affected by the pandemic.
But how would the brash tone go down for a B2C brand? You decide.