Why Successful Father’s Day Marketing Strategies Strike an Emotional Chord

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Mother’s Day is one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year. In 2014, total consumer spending for Mother’s Day was about $19.9 billion. It shows just how much people appreciate their mom. Oddly enough, Father’s Day isn’t anywhere near as big. As a matter of fact, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Father’s Day Spending Survey the holiday this year is expected to net close to $12.5 billion. Breaking that down, the spending average for moms is $162.94 per individual whereas for dads it’s $113.80.

It’s no secret that dads are left behind. The real question is why? Perhaps it’s because moms are generally caretakers of the children and home. According to US Census data, however, that’s slowly changing as more and more dads are staying home to be with the kids—in 2013 the total reached 214,000 up from 189,000 the year prior. All combined, those dads cared for nearly 434,000 children younger than the age of 15. Meanwhile the moms in those families were away from home working. Traditional gender roles are slowly starting to fade away.

Unfortunately, most retailers don’t spend time marketing Father’s Day, leaving the playing field wide open in terms of competition. This is a great reason why you should jump into the game.

Play to Their Emotions

A large majority of Mother’s Day ads ham up the emotional attachment we have to our mothers. Use this same strategy, except adapt your message to include fathers.

The Canadian Airline, Westjet, used this very strategy in a recent marketing campaign. With it they focused on delivering a very emotional message that not only warms the heart, but makes you feel good about spending money on their brand.

In a partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities they reunited a father with his son and family, who are currently separated due to the young boy’s congenital heart condition. The father must work to keep the medical bills paid, which keeps him apart from his wife and two children. He works in one province, while his son receives treatment in another. As a surprise, a Westjet employee swapped places with the father to give him time off with his family for the holiday.

Make Shopping Easier

Moms usually love jewelry, flowers, pampering or even gift cards, but dads can be difficult to shop for. If you really want to encourage your customers to get out and shop for Father’s Day, offer them some advice about what to buy.

New Balance created unique footwear and apparel sections for dads that adhere to different preferences. Customers can shop for golf dads, running dads, casual dads and more. The beauty of this is that it relates to a similar tactic retailers use for Mother’s Day by segmenting moms into different types and creating unique gift lists for each of them.

A company like Safer Brand plays on the idea that dads work hard on taking care of their homes and yards. By hammering home the point that dads deserve a day off too, they provide gift ideas that will help dad out on his next outdoor project—or even give him a break.

Again, you don’t have to use this example, but find a way to suggest gifts and ideas for your customers. Make their shopping related decisions easier and less burdensome.

Get the Community Involved

One of the best ways to garner exposure is to get the community involved. You can do this with contests, promotions and similar activities.

Sears is running a giveaway through Facebook and Twitter. Followers who use the dedicated hashtag— #DestinationDad—to share moments with their dad have an opportunity to win one of several different prizes. The company is giving away hundreds of dollars in gifts to those who simply retweet and share the promotional content, follow related accounts or discuss the topic with others. All in all, it really helps build awareness about their brand and gets everyone talking about Sears and the Destination Dad campaign.

Any kind of activity or event that gets customers involved is sure to be a success.

Play the Heart Strings

Dove exposes another side to Father’s Day with their #RealDadMoments campaign. In a study conducted by Edelman Berland, three fourths of the fathers interviewed said they are “responsible for their child’s emotional well-being.” In an attempt to recognize dads as the caregivers they often are, Dove has produced a truly heartwarming 60 seconds that will inspire anyone with a dad to call him up and say thanks.

It’s no secret that retailers love to play the heartstrings with Mother’s Day ads, because it works. Keep that— and the ideas we listed above—in mind when creating your own Father’s Day marketing campaign, and you should be just fine.

After all, dads are emotional beings too, you know.