With Mother's Day around the corner, marketers everywhere are planning advertising campaigns to capitalize on the holiday and score big with moms – and they've got a lot to live up to. Historically, brands worldwide have gone big on Mother's Day, using the holiday to target two huge groups of buyers: women and moms. Whether their marketing campaigns are hilarious, touching or even slightly odd, here are the five of the best Mother's Day ads in our opinion.
1. KFC's "Tender Wings of Desire" Campaign
KFC is known for their outrageous ad campaigns. From this cheeky ad where the chicken restaurant apologized for that time they ran out of chicken to their endless Colonel shenanigans, their campaigns never disappoint. Mother's Day 2017 was no different.
To celebrate moms everywhere, KFC wrote and published a 96-page romance novella that featured the Colonel himself as a love interest in a passionate, sordid romance story. The novella, Tender Wings of Desire, was available for purchase on Amazon for $0.99. Paired with a bucket of chicken, the brand positioned it as the perfect Mother's Day gift; mom didn't have to cook and could indulge in a little alone time.
Video ads supported the campaign and featured a seductive and shirtless Fabio-esque actor reading excerpts from the novella. Once again, KFC shows how you can use humor and a consistent brand theme to conjure up ideas for a seemingly unrelated holiday.
2. Kraft's "Swear Like a Mother" Video
In 2017, Kraft promoted their infamous macaroni and cheese with a down-to-earth, authentic and un-sugarcoated video titled "Swear Like a Mother." To combat the images of picture perfect motherhood that pervade the media, Kraft reminded moms they didn't have to be perfect – a message relevant to their brand promise, as many moms feel guilty for serving their kids a boxed dinner.
The campaign's video featured Melissa Mohr, mother and author of Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing. Mohr offered mothers a reassuring, albeit crass word of advice: it's okay to swear, it's okay to take shortcuts, it's okay to be imperfect. Veiled by humor, this ad discussed the shame and guilt many mothers have about not being perfect, and in doing so created an emotional connection between Kraft and its target audience.
3. Samsung's "Texts from Mom" Commercial
In 2015, Samsung played off a concept nearly anyone with a mother can understand: confusing, indecipherable, sometimes even maddening texts from mom. The Mother's Day video marketing spot featured the texting faux pas moms everywhere are guilty of – shouting in all caps, misusing social media terms, sending blank messages, sending full-on novels and more. The lighthearted ad ended with a simple statement: call your mother this Sunday.
The brand simultaneously used humor and a universally understood idea to create a relevant spot that connected with anyone celebrating Mother's Day – and most importantly – related back to their product.
4. P&G's 2012 Mother's Day Olympics Campaign
Proctor and Gamble has a history of producing tear-jerkers this time of year, which isn't a surprise – their tagline "Proud Sponsor of Moms" and their mom-centric portfolio of brands mean this time of year is big for them. Their 2012 Mother's Day spot continued that trend.
The campaign, which coincided with the summer Olympics, told the story of not just athletes, but the moms who supported, encouraged and loved them. More than pushing product, this ad set out to build brand affinity and a connection between P&G and moms. Mission accomplished.
5. JetBlue's "FlyBabies" Campaign
Everyone can empathize with the stress that comes with a crying baby on board an airplane, but even while it's annoying for passengers, it's worst for parents. JetBlue shared that story in their 2016 "FlyBabies" ad – and then turned the idea on its head.
The spot features interviews with mothers, each nervous about her first flight with her newborn. The airline went on to calm those nerves, promising each and every passenger on the flight deep discounts on future flights every time a baby on board cried.
By the end of the flight from New York to California, each passenger was awarded a free flight. It may be the first time in history airline passengers have cheered as a little one shrieked in his seat. By turning a typically stressful situation into a fun game, the brand gave mothers peace of mind that JetBlue understood the stress of flying with a small child, and was here to help.
Bonus: Old Spice's "Momsong" Commercial
While this commercial was aired at the Super Bowl and technically isn't a Mother's Day campaign, we couldn't help but include it – it's just that good.
In 2014, Old Spice made a splash at the biggest sporting event of the year by focusing on moms. The spot – more of a music video than a typical commercial – features moms lamenting in song about the loss of their sons' boyhood. Triggered by using Old Spice's body spray, their once boys are now men with other women in their lives. They've been replaced.
The video was part of a larger campaign, "Smellcome to Manhood," and was so relatable, funny and even strange, it was tweeted more than 50k times the Monday after the Super Bowl.
As you're planning your Mother's Day advertising, consider leveraging some of the tactics these brands used to concept and execute a successful campaign. Inject humor into your messaging, trigger tears and use universally understood concepts to tie your brand promise into themes of motherhood. If you do, you can drive awareness, build brand affinity and create value all at the same time.