How did brands change their approach to Mother's Day this year? We explore the campaigns that played it so safe they were lost in the noise – and the campaigns that stood out.
Mother’s Day looked slightly different this year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many people celebrated the occasion from a distance, sending gifts through the post and sharing activities – such as brunch and wine tastings – from behind the safety of a computer screen.
Countless brands responded to the social distancing measures with the same message: "We are all in this together". Although it’s heartfelt, the market is oversaturated with this sentiment right now. We seem to be reaching a point where companies are stepping away from their brand identities to play it safe.
With that in mind, we decided to take a closer look at how different brands promoted Mother’s Day this year.
First, let’s start with two brands that played it safe.
The Body Shop
The Body Shop has always had a strong place in the market during Mother’s Day, given cosmetics tend to be a go-to gift idea for mum. In previous years, the brand has been known for its creative and entertaining campaigns, like 2017’s Rock it like a Mother campaign, which encouraged people to share photos of the quirky traits they inherited from their mothers using the hashtag #GotItFromHer.
This year, the brand’s message was, "Be together, even when you’re apart. Deliver love this Mother’s Day."
Although it’s a thoughtful message to share during this time, it doesn’t differentiate The Body Shop from other brands in the market, which is a risky manoeuvre when trying to increase engagement.
Hersey’s also promoted social distancing around Mother's Day this year with the tagline, "A Hershey’s kiss for mom. Spread love from a distance."
In previous campaigns, like 2018’s Heartwarming the World campaign, Hershey’s took a more personal approach. To celebrate the 161st birthday of the brand's founder, Hershey's shared four stories about how Hershey's chocolate has brought people closer together, highlighting people like 93-year-old Bob Williams, who gained a reputation as "the candy guy" in his hometown for gifting his neighbours free Hershey's chocolate over the years.
This year the brand opted for a message that simply reminded people Hershey’s is a great gift idea for mum, though again, it was easily lost in the noise given so many other advertisers shared a similar message.
Other brands stayed true to their identity and did things a little bit differently.
After all, mum is special! These brands reminded us that Mother’s Day in isolation could be about so much more than sending love from a different place. They stepped away from the generic message and differentiated themselves within the market.
Here are two brands that did it well.
To celebrate "driven mums" this Mother’s Day, Mercedes-Benz asked fashion photographer and Friend of the Brand Liz Sunshine to share her life hacks for busy parents in isolation. Through her photography, she revealed three ideas for balancing work and parenting during lockdown – camping in the backyard, creating a drive-in cinema and turning your car into an office.
The campaign was effective because it didn’t simply nod to the current situation. Instead, it offered genuinely mothers (and all parents) helpful advice that remained true to the luxury aesthetic of the brand. Mercedes-Benz fans will remember that.
This year, US flower delivery service Teleflora released a video campaign with real footage of mums "doing their best right now". It was something of a love letter to all the mums making these uncertain times fun for their children. Teleflora wanted to congratulate mothers for bringing their families closer together during this time, and remind them that they are creating memories their children will carry with them forever. There’s no denying it made an impact – the video is at 19 million views and counting.
Although this campaign had similar themes to others in the market, it stood out because it didn’t focus on how Teleflora’s products could help mothers this Mother’s Day. Instead, the brand provided a simple, heartfelt, standalone message that would resonate with viewers far beyond its usual customer base.
With circumstances changing every day, it’s interesting to see how brands continue to adapt their marketing and advertising strategies. One thing is certain – brands that play it safe are, unfortunately, forgotten, while those that take risks produce content that people remember.
Brittany Daniel, publishing executive
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