Mother's Day Marketing - Avoiding Offending Consumers
To be culturally relevant and avoid offending consumers when marketing for Mother's Day, a premium cleaning brand should (a) avoid promoting chore-related items as ideal Mother's Day gifts, (b) pay attention to what moms actually want on Mother's Day, (c) be more inclusive, (d) focus on what makes a mom, (e) avoid trivializing motherhood or making inappropriate comparisons, (f) avoid conflating women with motherhood, and (g) recognize that no two moms are the same.
Avoid Promoting Chore-Related Items As Ideal Mother's Day Gifts
- It is risky for a premium cleaning brand to suggest that people should give their mothers a vacuum cleaner or any cleaning appliance on Mother's Day. Based on a survey of 100 moms in the United States, vacuum cleaners or other chore-related gifts are the worst Mother's Day gifts moms could receive. It was also mentioned in another article that moms do not want to receive a vacuum cleaner on Mother's Day.
- Moms explain that it is infuriating to be associated with cleaning, and be given a Mother's Day gift that is not really a gift but a tool to aid with household chores.
- One supermarket chain was accused of being sexist when it released an ad showing a sewing machine, a vacuum cleaner, and an iron as gift suggestions for Mother's Day. The supermarket chain was forced to remove and replace the ad with one promoting handbags and jewelry after facing a backlash on social media, especially Twitter. Although the events took place in Germany, the same things can happen in the United States.
Pay Attention to What Moms Want on Mother's Day
- The survey reveals, however, that moms appreciate gifts that allow them to take a break or a day off from household chores. They think gift certificates for house cleaning services are great, and they like it when their families offer to do household chores for them.
- Moms like Mother's Day gifts that are personal and that allow them to spend some quality time either by themselves or together with their loved ones.
Be More Inclusive
- When marketing for Mother's Day, brands, including premium cleaning brands, should be more inclusive and recognize that there are many people who have stepped into mothering roles but are not biological mothers. These individuals, who could be foster parents, grandparents, guardians, or LGBTQ parents, among others, would of course want to be acknowledged as well.
- For example, there are 2 million to 3.7 million children below 18 in the United States who have an LGBTQ parent. Also, around 200,000 of these children have parents who are same-sex couples.
- Not all attempts at inclusivity are well-received. When Chips Ahoy! tweeted on Mother's Day with a video of Drag Race star Vanessa Vanjie paying tribute to mothers of every kind, some people reacted negatively, saying that the ad is hyper-politicized.
Focus on What Makes a Mom
- Given that not all mothers are biological mothers, brands, including premium cleaning brands, can do better by focusing instead on what it is that truly makes a mom.
- Floral wire service business Teleflora set a great example with its "Love Makes a Mom" campaign, which featured minute-long vignettes of stories demonstrating that moms come in different forms, and that it is actually love that makes a mom. Teleflora's campaign was so impactful that, on Twitter alone, it figured in almost 4,500 Mother's Day messages.
- Brands that are developing ads or campaigns for Mother's Day are advised to go beyond traditional Mother's Day constructs and pay attention to the topics and themes that matter most to mothers and their families.
Avoid Trivializing Motherhood or Making Inappropriate Comparisons
- What happened to IHOP recently should serve as a lesson not just for restaurant brands but for all brands marketing for Mother's Day. IHOP was severely criticized for an image it posted on social media on Mother's Day.
- The image was an ultrasound of a uterus that appeared to be pregnant with a big stack of pancakes. It had the caption "If you have pancakes in your tum tum, does that make you a pancake mum mum?"
- The public did not find IHOP's attempt at humor and politics funny. Several people expressed disgust and disappointment, and found the ad insensitive and odd considering the heated national conversation around the reproductive rights of women.
- Some people said the ad was done in poor taste, while some were troubled by the fact that the brand conflated a human embryo with pancakes.
Avoid Conflating Women With Motherhood
- While an increased focus on inclusivity is great, brands, including premium cleaning brands, should take care not to send Mother's Day messages to women who are not mothers.
- Women who are not parents or guardians get annoyed when they receive Mother's Day messages from brands. These mistargeted messages make it seem that the worth and identity of women are being conflated with motherhood, and that "there is no role for women outside motherhood."
Recognize That No Two Moms Are The Same
- To be culturally relevant and inclusive, premium cleaning brands should realize that "no two moms are alike."
- Based on an article published by New York-based advertising news site AdAge, brands' biggest misstep when marketing to moms is treating all moms as one homogeneous group.
In finding the desired information, we researched topics such as the do's and don'ts when marketing for Mother's Day and the common mistakes that brands make when marketing for Mother's Day. We looked for surveys as well to determine what moms want or do not want on Mother's Day. Examples of offensive or tasteless Mother's Day ads, promotions, messages, and campaigns were also consulted, as they offer insights into what can potentially rub consumers the wrong way. As there is limited information specific to premium cleaning brands, we included insights that we believe a premium cleaning brand in the United States will find useful.