7 best Mother’s Day marketing campaigns that break the mold

mother's day ads

May is for mothers, and it’s no surprise that in the coming months we’ll be seeing an influx of Mother’s Day marketing campaigns across all platforms. Ensuring that our moms are truly spoiled with the best perfect gift, it goes without saying that the market is increasingly competitive between brands.

So, how are they separating themselves from other brands and generating optimum sales for the Mother’s Day celebrations?

While Mother’s Day gifts remain traditional – flowers, cards, and dining – it’s fundamental that brands give themselves an edge when it comes to marketing their Mother’s Day products.

According to the National Retail Foundation, 84% of the population planned on celebrating Mother’s Day, with an average spending of $245.76 per person under the following gift categories:

  • Greeting Cards (75%)
  • Flowers (72%)
  • Special Outings (57%)

With that being said, here’s a look at the best Mother’s Day campaigns from the past few years that stand out from the rest … just like our moms.

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 1.  Sephora Sephora Celebrates All Moms (2022)

sephora image

Source: holrmagazine.com

Let’s start off this list with acknowledging the multiple definitions of what motherhood is. From biological moms to adoptive moms, all the way to drag moms and pet moms, Sephora’s 2022 Mother’s Day campaign touches on the beauty of mothering and redefining the concept of motherhood. The campaign features a series of social videos, partnering with three new collaborators:

  • Talli Osborne, an all-abilities inspirational speaker from Montreal, Canada, who, after being put up for adoption, was adopted into a large family of 21 children.
  • Xtacy Love, Drag mother at the head of the Haus of Love. Adoptive Drag Mother to Canada’s Drag Race Season 1 winner, Priyanka.
  • Catherine Tammaro, Wyandot artist and Spotted Turtle Clan Faithkeeper, known throughout the city of Toronto as Elder in residence, mentor, teacher, and cultural advisor.

Why it works

Each collaborator has a featured video in the collection, representing their own unconventional, yet precious relationship with motherhood.

In Talli Osborne’s video, we meet Gina, the remarkable mother of 21 children. Gina speaks of the formidable love she has for each member of her family, while Talli boasts of her mother’s teachings of wisdom, strength, and independence in the face of adversity.

Next is Xtacy Love and her drag daughter, Priyanka, who touches upon the importance of organic friendships evolving into familial relationships through shared experiences and art.

Finally, in Catherine’s video, she takes us through the value of mentorship, guidance, and showing leadership in indigenous realms through her relationship with mentee, Naz, who describes Catherine as a mother or auntie.

Sephora’s refreshing take on how we define motherhood has a powerful impact, appreciating the wonderful other-mothers that go beyond biology.

2.  Samsung Texts from Mom (2015)


Source: dandad.org

We’ve watched those three dots on our phone screens for way too long, only to get an “OK.” Who else would it be except for our moms? They’re not the best texters in the world (have you seen the size of the text on their phone?), but they try because it’s the best way to keep up with their kids and their busy lives. Besides, it’s something to do whilst waiting for their Candy Crush lives to refill.

Why it works

In 2015, Samsung did exactly what we’re looking for in this article; they went off the beaten path, far away from the tearjerker and injected some humor into their Mother’s Day campaign with this hilarious piece.

In the advert, we see a series of phone screens of people who have received a text from their mom, with messages ranging from “How do I hashtag your brother?” to blank texts, and their inane obsession with the weather (why is it always the first thing they ask?). The relatability of this campaign had us laughing along, remembering those texts we’ve received from our moms over the years.

Although Samsung has taken the risk by opting for a more contemporary take on their Mother’s Day campaign, brand recognition remains.

Throughout the campaign, the Samsung logo is displayed on the then-newly launched Galaxy S6 model, but the product itself was not pushed. Thus, relying on the hilarity of the campaign to ensure that the target audience will be having a little giggle to themselves when making their next purchase, and all the moms will be getting a call this Mother’s Day.

3.  Brawny Paper Towels Once A Mother, Always A Giant (2017)

Taking the leap from funny to cute, we’re going to explore how Brawny secured their place in this list with their Once a mother, always a giant marketing campaign.

In the ad spot launched in 2017, we see some candid footage from the toddler’s perspective, filmed through Snapchat Spectacles (seen in an accompanying behind the scenes video). The campaign aims to display what day-to-day life is like from a toddler’s POV: launching pasta across the kitchen, going down the slide, and getting a grazed knee.

Each scenario is met with mom running to the rescue: cleaning the spilled food, catching them at the bottom of the slide, and putting a band-aid on the grazed knee – presenting the idea that moms are giant heroes in our lives that’ll always be there to save the day.

Why it works

So, how does this video campaign stand out from other brands? It’s realism.

According to Cutwater, the creators of the campaign, four real mothers and their children were chosen from more than 40 applicants to star in this advert. Every scene you see in this ad is an authentic moment captured by the Snapchat Spectacles in the four mom’s everyday lives – with the help of Brawny Paper Towels, of course.

4.     Allswell #BanTheBrunch (2018)


Source: instagram.com

Taking a breather from video, we’ve found ourselves with the Allswell Mother’s Day campaign from 2018. It’s easy to lose focus on other platforms, with TV spots and internet video marketing wielding the sword, but let’s not forget the power that social media campaigns have in the digital sphere.

Why it works

The mattress-makers launched the social media campaign #BanTheBrunch – a call to arms to get all the moms to stay in bed this Mother’s Day and leave the stressful celebration brunch behind through a series of social media posts. This super-smart campaign gives power to the moms to choose how they want to celebrate Mother’s Day, rather than unwanted family gatherings and surprise meals.

But a mattress seems like a non-traditional Mother’s Day gift…right? Right.

Allswell’s aim wasn’t to encourage audiences to gift their mom a mattress. Instead, they launched the #BanTheBrunch campaign to give mothers a platform to share their ideal Mother’s Day plans – entering them into a competition to win a luxe Allswell mattress or a $500 gift card. Treat yourself!

5. Kraft Swear Like A Mother (2017)

kraft macaroni

Source: care.com

Keeping it real, it’s Kraft Macaroni and Cheese with their 2017 Swear Like A Mother campaign.

Swearing in front of the kids and feeding them processed foods are considered two of the ultimate parenting sins. That’s why Kraft went ahead and combined the two, putting a not-so-clean twist on the usual wholesomeness of a Mother’s Day campaign.

Why it works

The mockumentary style TV spot features Melissa Mohr, author of Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing as a swearing expert, and mother, who teaches mothers how to keep it clean in front of the kids.

According to the ad, a survey conducted by Kraft themselves claims that 74% of moms have sworn in front of their kids, whilst Melissa humorously claims that the rest are lying.

In any good recipe for a powerful Mother’s Day campaign, audience connectivity is an absolute must – it’s all about the moms, after all.

With this campaign, Kraft performed the appropriate market research, teamed up with an actual-real-life mother for relatability, and sent the message that OK to take shortcuts in motherhood sometimes.

To all the mothers: grab that little blue box from the cupboard, and if you accidentally drop an F-bomb, don’t worry! They probably didn’t hear it anyway.

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6. KFC – Virtual Mother’s Day Experience (2020)


Source: prnewwire.com

Okay, we’ve made it this far without mentioning the pandemic-that-shall-not-be-named. But, this campaign deserves a shout-out for persevering in a world where we were unable to celebrate Mother’s Day as most of us would’ve liked.

Why it works

In May 2020, KFC partnered with Messenger on Facebook to launch an at-home virtual dining experience with personalized invitations. This gave families the opportunity to spend Mother’s Day together at a time where in-person meet-ups were off the cards, and video calling was surging in popularity.

Connecting to an easy-to-use chatbot through the official KFC Facebook page, users were able to organise a time, date, personalize your invitation with mom’s name and a picture.

Grubhub, the food delivery service, was also offering free delivery on orders over $20 as an easy way to treat your mom to that delicious blend of herbs and spices from far away on their special day. All with no dishes to clean – the perfect Mother’s Day gift!

7. Tesco #EveryMum (2020)

It wouldn’t be a Mother’s Day celebration if we didn’t mention at least one campaign that tugged on the viewer’s heartstrings. So, we’ll round off this list with one of the UK grocery chains, Tesco. 

Why it works

Like Sephora, Tesco has taken the route of inclusivity in this campaign. Though the campaign operates under the hashtag #EveryMum, this particular Mother’s Day video hones in on non-biological mothers and their relationships with their respective children. 

Not everyone looks forward to Mother’s Day, for those with unconventional mother-child dynamics can feel overlooked when it comes to Mother’s Day marketing.

Tesco made sure this didn’t happen. They included real people and real moms instead of actors, discussing their unique journeys to becoming mothers from adoption processes, to coming out as a queer mother. They read aloud their Mother’s Day cards (complete with a tear-jerking message, of course).

At the end of the advert, Tesco echoes the Mother’s Day sentiments with the tagline, “To all mums, happy Mother’s Day.”

Final thoughts

Mother’s Day really is all about moms, and from this list it’s clear to see that successful Mother’s Day marketing campaigns are ineffective without them.

Our unique bonds with our mothers are tied in emotion, and focussing on that is evidently a powerful device in these marketing campaigns. Whether brands choose to go for a funny, inspiring, or heartfelt narrative, amplifying emotion and keeping it authentic is what gives brands their unique edge. 

So, whether the Mother’s Day gift at hand is a product, a dining experience, or a mattress. If it touches our soul, connects families, and includes all the different moms from all walks of life, you simply cannot go wrong. After all, moms really do know best.

Happy Mother’s Day!