Are Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Treated Contrastent in Marketing?

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day really aren’t all that different – one celebrates mom, the other dad. Companies, however, take different approaches when it comes to marketing their products and services on each holiday. A closer look reveals some surprising realities.

CVS offered a touching ad for moms, in stark contrast to its Father’s Day message which included no message at all.

It would be nice if Owlet added some wording about how being a dad is also a rewarding, yet demanding job. It’s also curious how Owlet included mom in a Father’s Day message, though it’s never happened the other way around. Another observation – Owlet wants dads to “feel seen and appreciated,” yet includes not a single photo of a male on the front page of its website. Hmmm.

This is a solid set of ads from Nike for a variety of reasons, and here’s something worth mentioning – you’ll be hard-pressed to find a photo of a dad kissing his child in an ad anywhere, which is unfortunate. Despite the common myth, dads aren’t afraid to show affection, nor should companies be to display it.

It’s too bad how the NFL made no mention of Mother’s Day, but on the flip side you have to give credit where it’s due. The NFL operates in a male-dominated industry – no female has ever played on an NFL team – yet the league doesn’t exclude or ignore women. Instead, it markets heavily to them. It pushes for more female coaches and refs. Networks employ female reporters. Look at the front page of NFL Shop and note numerous female-styled products, front and center. Why doesn’t this work the other way around in other industries?

Boppy is one of many who employ the dad joke every June. It’s all well-intentioned, of course, but the schtick is getting old. Actually, it’s beyond old – it’s tired, threadbare and worn out. Dads are indeed funny, yet they’re also loving, sacrificial, nurturing, thoughtful, involved, compassionate, empathetic, hopeful, hard working and successful. The ways to describe a father are endless, and humor isn’t the only way to connect with them. Yet marketers continue use the same stereotype. Every. Single. Year.

Plenty of text here, and two items stick out. First, the use of “To all the dads” has the feel of something like, Happy Family normally creates messages for moms, so here we’re making sure everyone knows this one is ‘for the dads.’ If you’re a dad, it also has a secondary feel, as opposed to the mom message. Such a sentiment is reinforced in the bottom header, where “celebrating you” and a “to you” is included in the Mother’s Day ad. And, Happy Family just had to mention the dad joke. [sigh]

It’s interesting how Midwestern sporting goods store Dunham’s included a sweet photo of three generations in its Mother’s Day ad. As for the dad ad? Funny-nose-and-glasses.

Love the consistency in style and messaging from these Vintage Brand ads. Well done.

Chipotle lookalike, Qdoba, offers some curious wording in its holiday ads. Note the top of the mom ad which exclaims in an old-fashioned manner, “Mom makes the rules.” Then it includes two jokes about dad’s cost-saving nature and, what else, the dad joke. Qdoba isn’t laughing with dads, it’s laughing at them. Next year, do better, Qdoba.

There’s a lot to like about JcPenney’s uniformity in approach, basic design and letting the picture – rather than unnecessary words – do the talking.

Flowers vs. grill tools. Sure, they’re time-tested symbols of May and June, respectively, but isn’t there more to mom and dad than these overdone images? Kroger also wants to make dad shopping “quick and easy.” Yes, that’s something we can all appreciate, though doesn’t it make his shopping feel like a nuisance you’d like to be over with as soon as possible? An unintended consequence, for sure. However, you know what they say about perception and reality.

“Love” is used twice in the ad on the left, not once on the right. Why is it so hard to use that word in marketing in relation to dads? And the cakes look amazing – though beer, grilling and ties are outdated symbols of Father’s Day. C’mon Baskin-Robbins marketers, let’s see some fresh creativity by next June.

Hallmark took different approaches with each, and the result is surprisingly satisfying. No tropes or nonsense, no overdone or overbearing pink and blue – just quality gifts with simple, strong messaging (though, it would have been nice to see an affectionate dad/child).

The omission on CanvasChamp’s site is so glaring you can’t help but wonder if it was intentional. For a company whose product resolves solely around images (its tagline is “memories on canvas”) it’s hard to imagine why it couldn’t show the same loving product photos on the Father’s Day ad. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a visible sample must be worth at least one lead. Alas, a missed opportunity. used a heartwarming message on Mother’s Day to which all moms can relate. For Father’s Day, another dad joke. By now, no one’s laughing.

At least Dairy Queen took a novel Father’s Day approach with … um, scratch that.

Another mom-does-it-all message, this time from Cinemark, but nothing even remotely comparable for dads. In fact, note the midly subliminal jab about dad’s saving nature (honestly, as if that’s a bad thing). Movies are such a universally loved way to spend time as a family, so let that sentiment spill into ad copy, Cinemark.

You wouldn’t know Netgear even acknowledged Father’s Day were it not for the small shield on its ad, which almost seems like an afterthought. In a way, it is. That’s because Netgear coupled Father’s Day – in an oft-used, rhyming move – with the graduation season. Disappointing.

Mom does it all, mom gives kisses, yada, yada. At least Samsung didn’t use a you-know-what joke.