My Mother’s Day Wishlist. For Brands.


Last year was my second Mother’s Day. Since one-year-olds aren’t traditionally the best at making purchases, my husband swooped in with a big bouquet of flowers. Honestly, I would have been happy with a mimosa and Netflix. But I’ve got to admit it did feel good to get spoiled a little — especially for the rewarding yet exhausting job of motherhood.

Turns out, Mother’s Day means bigger business than macaroni necklaces for the rest of the country too. Eighty-four percent of Americans celebrated Mother’s Day in 2016, making it the third largest retail holiday in the U.S. In 2016, $21.4 billion was spent during Mother’s Day — the highest figure in the last decade. (National Retail Federation)

So while, Mother’s Day is a smart time for partners to step up their game, it’s also the time brands should bring their best. For flower companies and jewelry stores, the Mother’s Day connection is obvious. But, for other brands, especially those targeting moms, Mother’s Day is the perfect chance to hit an emotional home run.

As an advertising creative and consumer-mom, I’m ready for brands to take a lesson from my husband and treat Mama right. Here’s some Mother’s Day advice for the brands in my life.


Listen To Your Mother

They say mother knows best — so listen to me and speak to me in places I already go. Be relevant. You don’t have to buy a TV spot to be where I am. In fact, many times I’m not watching TV at all.

Take, for example, this sponsored post by Pinhole Press on the popular blog Cup of Jo. It works because it’s useful, inspiring, and it feels like a recommendation from a friend. Plus, the photos are personal and stunning.


Show Some Respect

There’s no better time to show how much you respect my role as a mom than Mother’s Day. In fact, a brand doesn’t have to even be selling Mother’s Day gifts to join the conversation.

Need an example? Check out JetBlue’s FlyBabies video. As a frequent air traveler and mom, I can absolutely relate. JetBlue paid homage to every mom who’s ever schlepped a baby cross-country with this video about a flight that gives discounts every time a baby cries. JetBlue made moms look heroic while also seamlessly relating that heroism back to their product. This smart insight combined with Mother’s Day timeliness made it a viral hit.


Do The Dishes

I remember I used to give my mom homemade coupons on Mother’s Day about the chores I was going to do. Wouldn’t it have been so much better if I actually just did the dishes instead of giving her a coupon about doing the dishes?

Here’s another tip for brands on Mother’s Day: do the dishes. Don’t just make an ad that talks about caring about babies or making mother’s lives better, actually do it.

I loved this idea from e-commerce site Jet, which in 2016 teamed up with the White House to launch the Community Diaper Program to bridge the diaper gap. This was all over the mom blogs and it got me. First, it was a timely initiative for Mother’s Day.  Second, it actually did something good for the world and solved a problem I hadn’t even heard of.


Surprise Us

We moms are some of the most innovative people in the world. You’d better believe we appreciate an innovative business model.

I’d been ordering Mother’s Day flowers from the same place for 10 years until an innovative company made me rethink my yearly purchase. Why? Their surprising business model challenged the old-school flower-business model by cutting out the middleman. The result is flowers that cost less, stay fresher and are more environmentally friendly.

They won Mother’s Day marketing without showing me an ad — just a segment on Shark Tank.


Say I Love You

If there’s one time to tell a mom you love her, it’s Mother’s Day. Smart brands do it with creative and strategy that tugs at moms’ heartstrings.

Take P&G. Every year they put out a Mother’s Day tearjerker and last year was no different. This Olympics spot shows athletes channeling their moms’ bravery at important times and ends with the epic line, “It takes someone strong to make someone strong.” Cue the waterworks.

This year, for Mother’s Day, I’d love to see more brands that celebrate the complex, mundane, extraordinary role of motherhood. That and a nap. I’d really like a nap.

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