Mother’s Day: the next step in inclusive marketing

With the prevalence of opt-out emails for commercial calendar dates like Mother’s Day, can the industry evolve further?

Following a week that saw both International Women’s Day – under the theme of #InspireInclusion – and Mother’s Day, brands have been rolling out a broad range of women-centric marketing, advertising, and PR campaigns. Mother’s Day is one of the most lucrative calendar dates in the UK – with spending predicted to hit £1.7bn in 2024 – making it a mainstay of any female-facing consumer brand’s marketing plan.

In 2019, Bloom and Wild made headlines with the recognition that marketing comms for Mother’s Day could be upsetting or unwelcome for many of its customers, and introduced an email opt-out in the run-up to the day itself. A flock of other brands followed suit and opt-outs around Mother’s and Father’s Day have now become the norm.

However, whilst this act of compassion from brands was innovative, and rightly praised at the time – particularly in the subsequent years as the world navigated the pandemic – some have highlighted that an opt-out email can be just as upsetting as the marketing email it was designed to avoid. Quoted in The Independent, an anonymous Twitter user said: “Having to repeatedly go through the process [of opting out] in the weeks before Mother’s Day is almost as painful as reading the marketing emails themselves.”

Could the next stage of evolution be for brands to make the bold and confident move to eschew Mother’s and Father’s Day marketing altogether? It would be enlightening to see how brands – with the help of their expert agency partners – could develop some truly creative approaches to taking this fixture out of their marketing calendar and replacing it with something that genuinely resonates with their customers, without the emotional triggers.

Whilst this may seem idealistic and potentially foolhardy to the brands whose profits spike each year thanks to heavyweight Mother’s Day marketing, making a public commitment to trying something new and radical can have long-lasting impact. Think back to 2004 when Dove recognised that women felt unrepresented by the then-ubiquitous beauty campaigns which depicted a very narrow beauty standard. Its Real Beauty campaign was launched and changed the beauty industry for the better, sparking huge progression in diversity of representation, whilst generating positive exposure for Dove which persists today.

Tearing up the rule book is always risky and nerve-racking for brands – particularly in a way which could directly impact the bottom line. However, could a trailblazing approach to Mother’s Day help florists, confectioners, jewellers, cosmetics companies, and grocery retailers win much more valuable advocates for the remaining 364 days of the year and beyond?

Get in touch with the team