Who Gets More Love When it Comes to Mom and Dad?

Every June, families gather for backyard barbecues, baseball games and gift giving, all to celebrate the father figures in their lives. This year, consumers are expected to spend $12.7 billion on Father’s Day gifts according to the NRF. While that number may seem high at first glance, it pales in comparison to the $21 billion that was spent on Mother’s Day shopping this year. This 39 percent gap doesn’t come as a surprise since gifts like neck ties and power tools for dad may come with a smaller price tag than jewelry and handbags for mom.

Follow the Leader

With consumers expected to spend less, advertisers are following suit. Spend on advertising directly mentioning Mother’s Day during the four weeks leading up to the holiday in 2014 was $132 million. During the four weeks leading up to Father’s day in 2014, spend on ads mentioning the holiday was only $94 million, a difference of 28 percent. The majority of spend for both holidays was mainly attributed to retail advertisers, followed by wireless telecom providers.

Looking at the top 10 categories for each holiday, there are several similarities. For each holiday, the top 10 categories made up over 85 percent of total ad spend. Department Stores, Telecom, Restaurants and Home Stores each held a place in the top 10 for both occasions. With the exception of Home Stores, spend declined from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day for each of these groups.

Fathers Day Ad Spend

Diverse Landscapes

Differences in gift-giving patterns for each holiday are also reflected in the ad category spend rankings. While florists and jewelry stores were prominent in the Top 5 categories for Mother’s Day, they were replaced by sporting goods and alcoholic beverages for Father’s Day. This is rather expected since mom may prefer jewelry, but sports gear is as good as gold for dad. And even though we buy mom a dozen roses, dad may prefer a dozen cans of beer.

Although sporting goods and alcoholic beverages were nowhere to be found in the Mother’s Day mix, the appearance of these two categories kept consistent with the downward trend we saw in overall spend from one holiday to the next. In the weeks leading up to Father’s Day, sporting goods and alcoholic beverages spent less than half of what florist’s and jewelry stores spent in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day. Comparing the collective unique categories for each holiday, we are presented with a 60 percent decrease from one holiday to the next.

Unique Categories

Finding the Right Message

The majority of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day advertising is focused on popular gift items. This is especially true for retail advertisers, who often promote lower price points and sales offers. Department stores are an excellent example of this. For example, JC Penney focused its messaging on savings on dresses, jewelry and shoes during its “Love Mom Sale,” and doorbuster deals on polo shirts, watches and style updates during its “Love Dad Sale.” Similarly, home stores like Lowes advertised price cuts on garden supplies and backyard updates for mom, and touted deals on drills, grills and lawn mowers for dad.

Some advertisers take a different approach with their messages and stand out as a result. For example, Starbucks’ 2014 Mother’s Day campaign combined the celebrity power of Oprah Winfrey with a social cause marketing initiative. TV spots talked about the different types of moms and mother figures there are, while encouraging patrons to “Bring your Mom into Starbuck’s this Mother’s Day for a special treat.” The coffee giant pledged to make a corporate donation towards Educational Opportunities for young people for every Oprah Chai Tea Latte purchased. Other advertisers tapped into emotional cues of consumers. Titleist showed golf players talking about their memories with dad on the golf course. Miller Lite showed a son picking up a six pack for his father, describing dad as “that friend you’ve known for forever.”

Need to Know More?

Our analysis of Mother's Day vs. Father's Day ad trends is based on our AdScope monitoring of the multimedia marketplace. Our scope extends beyond holidays, so if you would like to know more about how a particular category, brand, or messaging is faring across the entire media mix, we can provide actionable insights based on our broad range of solutions.

Contact us today for more information!

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