Over the past few years there has been an emphasis on “tough moms” in Mother’s Day advertising. The 2017 “All Hail Mom” campaign from Carhartt, and the 2016 “One Tough Mother” campaign from Teleflora, showcase the strength motherhood requires. While this creative approach can be effective, as it evokes emotion, it also shows a somewhat limited view of what it means to be a mom. Yes, moms are tough, but they are also a million other things – 65% of US moms say they are reliable, 35% say they are social, and 25% say they are physically fit according to Mintel US research on how to market to moms. This is perhaps why this year brands are focusing more on what makes moms unique, instead of focusing on what makes them the same.

For Mother’s Day 2018, Teleflora launched a video series called “Love Makes a Mom,” shining a light on three real moms with distinct family stories. In contrast to the brand’s campaign from the previous year, “Love Makes a Mom” shows a more well-rounded view of motherhood. All three videos in this series challenge what it means to have the perfect family. But the stories don’t only demonstrate the hardships mothers face, they also show the joy, the harmony, and the support that can be a part of raising kids.

Amazon’s 2018 spots, “Bee Keeper” and “Painter” say that for every unique mom, Amazon has a unique gift. As the titles suggest, the moms portrayed have specific passions that set them apart – like beekeeping and abstract painting. While other Mother’s Day ads talk about the individual qualities of moms, they tend to focus on moms’ parenting abilities. For example, the Boots pharmacy chain’s #ShowThemYouKnowThem campaign emphasizes that moms are special “for holding my hand on the way to school” or “for giving me Tuesday nights off” – certainly admirable qualities, but these things don’t indicate that moms have personalities outside of their role as parents. While family is a top priority, 43% of moms say that their passions are what make them unique.

Pandora’s #MyMother campaign may be the bridge between the standard “tough mom” archetype, and the more recent “unique mom” positioning. Their 15 second spot shows a mom changing a flat tire, and encourages shoppers to “give your mother a gift that shows you know her.” Even though the ad depicts a strong mom, it also makes the point that every mom is different.

Our research shows six in 10 moms agree they like advertising that shows the funny side of parenting, but humorous Mother’s Day campaigns aren’t common. Showing the unique side of the parent/child relationship in a funny way may be a rich area for brands to explore. Jewelry brand Alex and Ani brings some lightness to the ad for their Mother’s Day Collection, which highlights parents and kids in casual conversation. While 2018 may be the year of the unique mom, the trajectory of advertising for parents, particularly Millennial parents, suggests that in the coming years ads will be funnier, more human, and feel more spontaneous.

Dana Macke is an Associate Director, Mintel Reports, Lifestyles & Leisure. Dana incorporates her background in strategic marketing to deliver actionable insights on a wide range of lifestyle and leisure topics.