This Sunday, June 21, marks one of the most important days in the annual marketing calendar: Father’s Day. Unlike Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is united in the English speaking world (falling on the same day both in the U.S. and UK). so Father’s Day is bound to garner significant reach on both sides of the Atlantic. Father’s Day is a popular celebration which is held in genuine regard by many. So which brands have best grasped the consumer mood, delivering the best moments in recognition of the special day?
Dadvertising, it seems, represents a safe bet in 2015.
Those who followed the brand activity around the Super Bowl earlier this year likely noticed a trend in growth of advertising featuring short, emotional films about people’s relationships with their fathers. “Dadvertising” saw brands including Toyota, Nissan, and Dove Men+Care putting out engaging, and highly shared and talked about videos. All three of the aforementioned brands scored highly for their efforts in USA Today’s Ad Meter, and gained millions of shares on YouTube to boot.
It stands to reason that Father’s Day is set to see a return of Dadvertising in a big way. Certainly for Toyota and Dove Men+Care, which have reprised their Super Bowl campaigns with fresh content, themes of fatherhood are considered a positive conversation for brands to have.
But when it comes to marketing around Father’s Day, the key word is authentic. Father’s Day celebrates one of the most personal relationships that people have, and it’s unlikely that people will appreciate being bombarded with display ads or email campaigns advertising discounts on socks, razors, or other typical “dad gifts.”
Here’s an overview of some of the most notable marketing around Father’s Day 2015.
3 Inspirational Brands Capturing the Moment for Father’s Day
1. Toyota’s Father’s Day Redo #OneBoldChoice
Toyota’s “My Bold Dad” was arguably the biggest hit of the Super Bowl “dadvertisers,” scoring a 6.6 on the Ad Meter. For Father’s Day, they’ve followed up the ad with a couple of touching new films exploring an emotional reunion between a father and son.
In the past few years, emotional storytelling has proved itself to be a fantastic medium for digital video. Not only does it appeal to people’s emotions, it gives brands an opportunity to show the role they can play in consumers’ lives.
Toyota’s “Father’s Day Redo” is a fantastic example of a brand presenting a customer-centric vision of the simple but moving role that the brand can play in people’s lives. The Camry is a modest family car that bridges distances and allows people to connect.
The campaign is running with the #OneBoldChoice hashtag, and the video’s captions also encourage people to do more to show their appreciation on Father’s Day. However, what consumers will likely take away from the campaign is the authenticity of Toyota’s messaging, presenting emotional documentary of real people (Toyota even sponsored key influencers on YouTube), and the way they have elegantly captured the spirit of Father’s Day.
2. Dove Men+Care #RealStrength
Dove Men+Care and Toyota both adopted a similar strategy after the success of their Super Bowl campaigns.
Building on their concept of #RealDadMoments, which has been a massive online hit, Dove Men+Care have sourced viral videos showing moving moments of men finding out they’re going to be a dad for the first time.
The genius of this campaign is that in collating videos which have already proven themselves to be a hit, the campaign is more or less ensured to be a success. In this sense, Dove Men+Care’s strategy for utilizing the YouTube platform, and working with consumers to source authentic content for their campaigns, is an incredible strategy that demonstrates what brands can do when they take a confident approach to content sharing networks and consumer engagement.
3. TIME Magazine’s ‘Letters from Dad’
To celebrate Father’s Day, TIME Magazine has published a series of letters from influential fathers to their children, including the likes of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, musician Pete Wentz, actor Hank Azaria, and writer/director/producer Lee Daniels.
The letters are incredibly moving, and at times downright inspirational. For example, here’s what Wentz wrote:
Boys: always take the high road, even when the low road seems easier or simpler. Let your kindness radiate and defend those who cannot defend themselves. Be yourself when it is not popular to be. Love your friends not in spite of their flaws but because of them. Bronx, I remember once asking you what your favorite color was and you said, “Red, black and the color of lightning.” Never let the world take away your creativity and divergent thinking. Be the color of lighting, be wild, and always laugh a lot. Never forget who you are.
Many of the letters capture a sense of raw emotions, the love, protectiveness, and devotion, that fatherhood entails. It’s a simple campaign, but one that presents a real authenticity, and doesn’t complicate its messaging with any obvious agenda.
The letters have been a hit on Twitter, spurring a great deal of positive conversation about Father’s Day.
— TIME.com (@TIME) June 15, 2015
Angel Soft Bucks the Trend #HappyFathersDayMom
One notable omission from this list is Angel Soft’s #HappyFathersDayMom campaign, which took up a unique stance on celebrating Father’s Day:
While the campaign has naturally received a great deal of industry coverage, it has also divided opinion amongst consumers: The campaign has sparked genuine conversation, but perhaps at the expense of the feel-good marketing that defines Toyota or Dove Men+Care’s campaigns. It may still prove to be a good move for Angel Soft, but the campaign took a risk in trying something new, and not building on the success of previous campaign content like the two aforementioned brands.
What Makes A Great Father’s Day Campaign?
What’s clear from these three examples is that some of the key qualities for brands to capture when engaging in a conversation about Father’s Day, are authentic messages and inspirational stories about paternal relationships.
Greg Jarboe, President of SEO-PR and author of YouTube and Video Marketing, explained why providing an emotional context via videos is particularly effective for brands: “Over the years, numerous studies have found that our brains are far more engaged by storytelling than a recitation of cold, hard facts. Stories are illustrative, easily memorable, and allow a brand to create stronger emotional bonds with customers. That’s why video is a content marketer’s best medium for storytelling.”
Father’s Day is essentially an event about one of the most personal and unique relationships that people have. Brands that wish to engage in such conversations shouldn’t look at Father’s Day with a mind for quick wins, but instead a much more long-term strategy to build brand awareness and identity.
It’s clear why Toyota and Dove Men+Care have continued to invest in Father’s Day content. For them, brand identity is paramount for them to continuing winning moments of truth, and consumer choice. Their content ties their brand and product to the way people are feeling in a particular moment, engaging a moment of of heightened consumer emotion. TIME magazine has also managed to generate an incredible storyline in the build up to this Sunday.
All three brands have utilized genuine consumer reactions and sourced content to deliver a sense of real authenticity. All three brands are fantastic example of customer-centric marketing, and the brands will undoubtedly enjoy a important moment of positive conversation around Father’s Day as a result.
What has been your favorite example of brand content or conversation around Father’s Day?