What’s the first word that pops into your mind when you think of the word “father”? Security? Safety? Family? Strength? For Father’s Day, each of those is used for marketing purposes to create an emotional connection with customers and build trust in the brand.
Celebrating Father’s Day, although not popular as Mother’s Day, is followed by a rise in sales because of gift-giving. An average of $12 billion is spent each Father’s Day, while 2019 that number was $16 billion. According to the National Retail Federation, in 2020 spending is expected to reach an all-time high of $17 billion.
One of the most efficient marketing strategies is telling a compelling story combined with presenting a product. Let’s take a look at how most famous brands created Father’s Day commercials and see what can we learn from them.
Academy Sports + Outdoors made a commercial presenting fathers as heroes. They staged fathers and children in different outdoor scenes doing activities together. Since this company is selling sports and outdoor equipment they used riding a bike, hiking, fishing, barbequing, and other outdoor activities to connect their product with a father figure. You can see that they are not presenting the product itself but the emotion of time spent together with the father. They are inspiring customers to spend time outside with family which subtly leads you to need of appropriate equipment. While the father figure as a hero gives you a feeling of safety you also feel safe about the products of this brand.
WeatherTech has chosen a little different approach with a commercial where they presented their products as a perfect Father’s Day gift. Using emotions of making your father happy with their products is a great marketing strategy that convinces you that choosing this brand is the best choice.
Dove Men+Care has perfectly combined its brand message by presenting the father as someone who cares. They are showing dads taking care of their children in different situations. “Care” is what connects their products and fathers. The commercial is made to the point, with a clear message while selling a product.
BMW Father's Day commercial uses father’s support as a light motif. Commerical is made with an emotional narration about a girl who wants to design a car and after years of father’s support succeeds. Not only that emotional aspect is presented but the video ends with the BMW car which she finally designed. Her father gives her model of a car she made when she was little girl reminding her that “dreams come true”. Father’s role as stable support over the years matches the brand message of stability and trust in BMW.
Scheels made a commercial with a focus on connections. They are encouraging customers to connect and spend time with their closest ones while using their products. Few scenes are showing those moments with loved ones engaging viewers in warm scenery. They have established an emotional message while including a call to action to use their products in those family moments. Again, the brand is selling a story, a feeling that you need to do something and their products will help with that.
Tesco used a real-life event to create a commercial that will make most of the viewers cry. They helped people show love to their fathers by playing audio of them saying how much they love their fathers. That audio is played while fathers and their children are purchasing at Tesco. This builds trust in the Tesco brand, gives more of a human connection, while making customers closer to the company. At the end of this emotional commercial, you can see a call to action with the suggestion to browse their products. But this promotion of products doesn’t interfere with the emotional aspect of the brand. It only lasts a few seconds, enough to remind you of products while you’re still emotionally sniffling.
McDonald’s went for the image of the father that replaces old life and old habits for his child. He gives up his space, time, and the way of living to build a new one when the baby comes. They are finishing the video with father and daughter at McDonald’s eating together. Finally “something for dad”. You may notice that after a bunch of love and time spent together comes a full front frame of their famous burger. They placed a product in an emotional story reminding you what is it all about with that last scene of father eating a burger. So what’s the idea you get after watching this? Probably: “Oh, dad has done so much for me, let’s treat him with something nice, like a meal at McDonald’s.” You see how the idea is created in your mind by commercial working through emotional and then rational psychological processes of a human brain.
Oreo did a similar thing. They presented a boy serving milk and Oreos on the table as his father does for him every morning. He wakes up dad at midnight to say “Happy Father’s Day” with their common custom of eating Oreos together. Although you are in this cute story and feeling emotional, Oreo is shown all the time so your brain makes a connection to the product with those emotions. Besides that, you will always have it on your mind that Oreo made that cute commercial and there you have a brand remembered.
Hallmark also made a commercial where a child makes something special for her dad. They presented their mug and card as gift ideas through this simple but emotional video. The idea is the same as in the Oreo Father’s day commercial - emotion plus clear images of the product.
What’s the most important asset when it comes to cars as a product? Safety, of course. So marketing needs to point out safety in the first place when doing commercials for cars. Toyota made a long commercial showing life from two-point views, daughter and father. You will notice “baby in the car” stickers showing up as one of the first frames. This reminds you of how important is safety when driving a baby. Then the emotional aspect is build up in commercials through all the moments father and daughter share in the car. Father is a figure that gives you a feeling of safety. That’s someone who takes care of you. Toyota is spreading a safety brand message through the safety of the father figure. You don’t even know when did they sell to you since it’s all wrapped up in the emotional story with a beautiful ending. But you got hooked up, right?
Budweiser made a lovely video for Father’s Day - “Fathers Who Stepped Up” honoring stepdads. They gave 1$ for every shared story to the Stepfamily foundation to support blended families. Although this was not really a commercial we decided to include it here because it was a good move for the brand. Touched by the emotion people are more likely to remember this beer brand over others. In this way, the brand presented itself as human, not just some money-making machinery. That makes a mark in our brains that’s followed by purchasing their beer. With a call for people to share their stepfamily story, they further connected the brand with people and they did it on the strongest, emotional level.
Nike released a Father’s Day TV commercial with footage of famous golf stars Earl and Tiger Woods. Video follows Tiger growing up next to his father. They used famous people to build trust in their brand and cause strong emotions by putting celebrities in another perspective. Connection through sport is an important part of this marketing strategy. Tiger as a well-known athlete is shown in the context of his relationship with his father. When you watch the commercial you don’t think about is he wearing Nike, but you consider him part of the brand while being touched by the family moments shown.
What did we learn by analyzing these commercials?
A brand does not always need to induce the emotion to sell a product, but when it comes to holidays like Father’s Day, Mother’s day, and other family-related holidays, it seems like a logical step. When used in marketing, emotions should relate to the brand, products, and brand message. “Executed correctly, emotion can make all the difference when it comes to connecting with consumers.”, says Derek Rucker.
Emotionally charged ads create powerful memories in people’s minds which motivates into taking action. According to Neuromarketing campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) with only rational content, and those that were purely emotional did a little better (31% vs 26%) those that mixed emotional and rational content. When emotionally engaged, people tend to make rash decisions instead of rational ones. They make purchases and take actions affected by emotions.
Another aspect of this is presenting the brand in a human manner. This leads to building stronger trust in the brand, makes customers feel safe when purchasing and using the product, and more likely to recommend to someone.
The emotion that brand causes with a commercial get associated with a brand itself which means that you should be extra careful when choosing a marketing strategy that contains emotional influence. Also, these kind of ads are more likely to be shared and to go viral.