Caregiver, protector, cheerleader, referee – the word “mom” doesn’t seem big enough to encapsulate the job of motherhood. In an effort to connect with modern moms, marketers are portraying motherhood in advertising in ways that speak to the complexities of the role.

The roses and thorns of motherhood

Fewer than half of moms with kids in the household say they see themselves in the moms portrayed in advertising. This shows that many brands are missing the mark when they target moms. A more realistic version of motherhood may be better received than one that only shows the positive. For example, even though 82% of moms say they are proud of their kids, 61% admit that their kids aren’t perfect.

Advertising that depicts those less than perfect parenting moments may have moms at home nodding along in understanding. The Teleflora Mother’s Day ad #OneToughMother focuses on the trials and tribulations of parenting using the tagline, “Motherhood isn’t always hearts and roses, Mother’s Day can be.”

#ONETOUGHMOTHER | TELEFLORA

SOURCE: TELEFLORA YOUTUBE CHANNEL, APRIL 24 2016

Technology can help, instead of hinder, quality time

The role that technology plays in the lives of kids continues to evolve – the American Academy of Pediatrics has even adjusted their guidelines on kids’ screen time to account for the varied ways children interact with technology on a daily basis. Parents may lean on technology to interact with, entertain or educate their children, but may feel guilty for the family time they spend in front of a screen. More than three in four moms report that the quality of time they spend with their kids is more important than the quantity, and a majority agree that their family spends too much time in front of a screen.

To strengthen their connection with moms, technology brands need to remind caregivers of how their products can augment quality time, not replace it. Apple’s 2016 Mother’s Day commercial features real footage consumers captured on their iPhones to preserve family memories, emphasizing how technology can bring families together.

SHOT ON IPHONE | MOTHER’S DAY

SOURCE: APPLE YOUTUBE CHANNEL, MAY 1, 2016

A helping hand for mom

More than three in four moms feel that being a mom is a never-ending job. This is no surprise as more than 80% of moms report having some or all of the responsibility for preparing meals, washing dishes, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, or grocery shopping, and half of moms often feel like servants around the house . Although more moms say spending time with family is important to having a good life (69%), than having time for themselves (32%) or having successful careers (22%), demonstrating an understanding of the unpaid work that can come with having a family may help brands forge relationships with working moms (ie, all moms).

Laundry detergent brand Ariel started a conversation about gender roles with their touching ad that shows a father apologizing to his adult daughter for not setting a better example of how partners can share the burden of household chores.

ARIEL – #SHARETHELOAD

SOURCE: ARIEL INDIA YOUTUBE CHANNEL, FEBRUARY 19, 2016

Millennial moms look to raise high-achievers

Procter and Gamble’s new Thank You, Mom spot for the 2016 Summer Olympics may resonate with Millennial moms more than any other group: three quarters of Millennial moms, criticized for being “helicopter parents,” believe they are more involved in their children’s education than most other parents. Additionally, 66% of Millennial moms say they have higher expectations for their children. This emphasis on achievement aligns with the fact that Millennial moms are the most likely of all generational groups to believe that raising ambitious children is important (16%). The most recent commercial for the ongoing P&G campaign features Olympic athletes remembering advice from their mothers about overcoming adversity.

P&G THANK YOU, MOM – STRONG | RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES

SOURCE: PROCTER & GAMBLE YOUTUBE CHANNEL, APRIL 27, 2016

Turning a baby’s cry into a smile

Motherhood is a hard job, and this territory is pretty well worn by marketers. However, showing specific scenarios that resonate with moms can help them feel understood by brands. More than two in five moms agree that they feel pressure to make sure their life and family looks put together from the outside, and more than a quarter feel compelled to hide some of the “dirty truths” of being a mom. But it isn’t always easy to live-up to other’s expectations of how a mom (or kids) should behave.

JetBlue created a unique Mother’s Day campaign that recognizes the stress that moms feel when traveling with young kids. The company selected a cross-country flight from New York to California and rewarded all of the passengers on board with ticket discounts every time a baby cried. The experience of the moms and other passengers was captured in the JetBlue commercial, FlyBabies.

JETBLUE | FLYBABIES

SOURCE: JETBLUE YOUTUBE CHANNEL, MAY 2, 2016

Dana Macke is a Lifestyle & Leisure Analyst at Mintel. Dana incorporates her background in strategic marketing to deliver actionable insights on a wide range of lifestyle and leisure topics.

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