In the run-up to Father’s Day, I’ve noticed a distinctively different feel in marketing…almost, dare I say a lot like Mother’s Day? The newest marketing campaigns, both local and national, show a more sentimental side of fatherhood. I am rejoicing in the turn from ads showing dad as the bumbling guy at the grill to a man who raises confident humans. This evolution in messaging Father’s Day is using every form of communication to get our attention wherever we are and whatever we are doing – from traditional TV and print ads to Twitter and YouTube. It is also illustrates my favorite example of how people have adapted to digital communications, my dad.
I’ll start with some context. At least once a week, we hear from potential clients who wave their hands and proclaim, “I’m not good with a computer. I don’t get ‘the Facebook.’ I wouldn’t know what to say in a blog.” We gently coach them with content planning and training into the reality is that these communications tools are here to stay. The principles of communications remain the same in that we still need a clear message that speaks to our intended audience. It’s just the places and platforms on which we convey the message that are different.
Now, to how my father is an example of these changes to communications: His first career was in the Navy and his second career was in higher ed administration. He experienced the revolution from the 1960’s secretaries typing letters and endless paper files to online project management and instant messaging. No one gave him the choice NOT to enter the digital age. His campus thrived on being the first to adopt new technologies and he did not need a computer science degree to keep pace. Retired 10 years, he is on his computer daily as a volunteer board member and a consumer of news and all of the interesting things the web brings to his Google searches. And yes, he even uses Facebook to keep up with his kids and a few friends scattered across the country.
Just as a generation before him adjusted from horses to cars, it’s time for everyone to buck-up and accept that online communications are here to stay. Today we call it Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Tomorrow it MIGHT be something else. Yet if you don’t have solid content (words, photos, video), it doesn’t matter what method you use to communicate. The timeless thread will always be the power of a good message.
This brings me back to Father’s Day 2013 and my favorite marketing campaign from Oral B. They remembered that dad was the one who taught tooth-brushing in their families. Turning to YouTube, they found examples of all of the other wonderful ways that dads teach their children and “give a smile.” Of course, wrapped around the tear-jerking video tribute are email campaigns and traditional advertising to convey the message of giving your dad a smile on Father’s Day – and hopefully one of their toothbrushes. Remember though, that all of this digital mastery doesn’t mean anything without the compelling message.
And if the rain continues, you and dad can share a few laughs and tears watching these great examples of how YouTube is changing advertising with content-centered video (refreshing change from hard sell TV ads).
Lego Star Wars: Happy Fathers' Day
Sears: Not A Super Hero
And a 2009 video-blog by the Green brothers asking the oft un-asked question: who are the fathers of the founding fathers?
This weekend, give your dad a hug – in person, by phone, or in memory. He’s taught you more than you realize. Thanks Dad!