Father’s Day Marketing: Winning Strategies to Celebrate Dad

Although it feels like we just celebrated all of our wonderful mothers, Father’s Day is already quickly approaching (if you’re bad with calendars, it’s on Sunday, June 17th). With just under a month to plan, you may be thinking you have plenty of time to find the perfect gift for your old man. But when it comes to a marketing plan to celebrate our favorite men, it’s getting down to the wire. In fact, the recommended timeframe to start marketing for Father’s Day is one month in advance (which, again for the calendar-challenged, was May 20th).

In case you just panicked a little bit realizing you don’t have a Father’s Day marketing plan in place yet, have no fear! We’re going to share some great marketing tips and examples of winning campaigns to help get your creative juices flowing. But before we get to that, let’s take a look at some concrete numbers to give you a better idea of where your business’ industry falls for this holiday.

In the U.S., over 75% of Americans celebrate Father’s Day. Just like Mother’s Day, consumers are willing to shell out a fair amount of cash to show the men in their lives how much they’re appreciated. In 2016, Father’s Day spending surpassed $14 billion – which, if you break it down by individual consumers, amounts to over $125 spent on average per consumer for the holiday. (Source) That number was even higher in 2017.

So what industries enjoy the biggest lift during the weeks leading up to Father’s Day? In a study that analyzed 2017 search and purchase data in the U.S. from May 15th to May 29th, compared to May 30th to June 18th, apparel topped the list at a 27% lift, followed by electronics with a 19% lift, home & garden with a 10% lift, and other categories with a 5% lift.

Taking this a step further, when looking at the breakdown of category winners by search volume, here’s how a couple of the top categories played out:

Category Winners by Search Volume: Electronics

  1. iPad Pro
  2. Drone
  3. 4k TV
  4. Speakers
  5. GoPro
  6. PS4
  7. Camera
  8. PS4 Pro
  9. Sonos
  10. Samsung

Category Winners by Search Volume: Home & Garden

  1. Fire Pit
  2. Grills
  3. Keurig
  4. Yeti
  5. Hammocks
  6. Goggles
  7. Tools
  8. Smoker
  9. Camelbak
  10. Hose


Based on these trends, it’s clear that many consumers were focusing on gifts for dad that help him have fun and relax (something we all want, no?). We can expect similar trends this year, and no doubt, e-commerce companies will be having a heyday with these additional dollars to be had in the days preceding Father’s Day.

Even if you’re not an e-commerce business, there’s still plenty of benefit you can gain from a solid Father’s Day marketing campaign. While extra dollars are always nice, that doesn’t always need to be the main focus (and shouldn’t be, in fact). You can still take advantage of the promotional aspect of the holiday to increase brand awareness and garner more potential customers, whether it’s in the form of followers, page likes, video views, increased engagement, etc. All of these things boost your brand.

Father’s Day Marketing Ideas

Rather than focus on the age-old “Best Gifts for Dad” marketing angle (yawn), many brands have found great success in recent years by focusing on what this holiday is truly about – celebrating the men who helped raise us. Father’s Day, and similar holidays, are a fantastic opportunity to show the human side of your business – something that has become increasingly difficult in this age of technology. How can I make our business seem human when I’m sitting behind a screen? you may ask. Easy – tell consumers a story. Share photos and messages that remind them there are people behind that screen. Crafting marketing campaigns that show sincere gratitude to the ones you love reveals the more compassionate side of a business, which is often neglected when the sole focus is dollar signs.

One easy way to tell a story is with a quick video (or multiple videos). As you may have heard, video advertising is booming to say the least; as of this year, one-third of online activity is spent watching video (Source). Creating a brief video highlighting dads and why they’re great is an instant way to win brownie points with consumers. Give even further insight into the heart of your company by interviewing staff members – ask them why they appreciate their dads, or what their dads have done for them. This is a quick, easy way to get several short, “snackable” videos that you can share over a period of time, ensuring your brand stays top-of-mind and relevant leading up to Father’s Day.

Or, take a different angle on the video creation and interview customers. Of course, you’ll need their permission to share the video on social media platforms, but most people these days are happy to oblige. This is a great approach to creating videos that are not only more likely to be shared, but are also more likely to result in increased page likes and interactions. For example, let’s say you interview Customer X about why they think their dad is the bee’s knees. You then tell Customer X to go like your Facebook page and follow you on Twitter, if they haven’t already, so that they can see their video. Then, you post their video later on and tag them. Customer X is excited to see themselves out there, and it’s very likely they’ll share the video on their own social accounts to thank dear ol’ dad. Boom! New and engaging videos, a new like/follow, and shared content, all in one.

Another great social media angle is asking people to share things – and be sure to incorporate popular hashtags. Last year, the most popular hashtags for Father’s Day on Twitter were #FathersDay (duh), #ilovemydad, #thanksdad, #firstfathersday, #BestDadAward, and #MyDadMyHero (Source). Being able to work these in is great, but be sure to think outside the box. Ask consumers to share their favorite #DadJokes (and be sure to share some of your own!). Or, take advantage of the hugely popular #ThrowbackThursday movement by asking consumers to post pictures of themselves when they were children with their fathers. Similarly, you could utilize #TransformationTuesday to prompt consumers to post an old photo of themselves with their dad, along with a recent one. The possibilities are endless, and this is a really easy strategy to create some Father’s Day buzz.

Be sure to take a look at your email marketing efforts during this time as well. June is often one of the hardest months to get consumers’ attention through other forms of advertising. Think about it – the kids are finally out of school and summer has officially started. In general, people are spending less time in front of their screens or in their homes, and more time playing outside, going on vacation, etc. Email marketing is a great way to get in front of people – literally – and incorporating a catchy subject line will ensure you catch their eye.

Father’s Day Marketing Timeline

All of these ideas are great ways to create more awareness for your brand this Father’s Day, but there’s another important element missing – timing. When should you do what? When do you need to start promoting? When should things be published? Use the below timeline to get you started.

One Month

As we mentioned earlier, Father’s Day marketing needs to start about a month out (so, now). Think of broad, all-encompassing messages that encourage people to start thinking of how they’ll honor their pops. Targeted display ads, social posts, and native ads are all great platforms for this. Also, if you’re running a contest or promotion that requires entries, now is the time to start pushing that and collecting submissions (again, think social media, hashtags, and email marketing).

Three Weeks

Start moving into consideration phase. Make sure you’re staying highly visible on search engines and have engaging content to support those searches. If you’ve been using iFocus to keep up with your SEO and content strategy, this should be a breeze. Paid search is another great way to maximize visibility on major search engines. Kick it up another notch with social media advertising, Gmail ads, and programmatic video ads. This is also the time to start putting out those feel-good videos we mentioned above.

Two Weeks

This is when consumers really start thinking about making a decision on what to do or get for dad. Make sure you stay relevant for consumers by retargeting them with display and social ads. Go one step further with dynamic retargeting – showing consumers specific products or services they looked for on your website. Site visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to come back to your site and convert (Source), so retargeting should be a must-have for your marketing plan.

One Week

Start pulling out all the stops. Retargeting, shopping cart abandonment, social ads, Facebook and Twitter hashtags, videos, display ads, paid search ads, etc. Re-engage consumers across multiple screens and make sure you’re always there with a message that’s relevant to them.

Day Of

Don’t let up as you approach the finish line! Be sure to have some good Father’s Day content scheduled for your social platforms. Refer once again to our hashtag and photo sharing ideas. Post pictures of your employees with their fathers. Remember, this isn’t just a retail holiday – we’re celebrating dad, after all! Show that human side of your business. Additionally, if you’re an e-commerce business, make sure you’re optimizing any last-minute promotions for mobile. Consumers are much more likely to be out and about on this day, so mobile-optimized campaigns are your friend.

For some other great Father’s Day marketing ideas, take a hint from these innovative brands below, and be sure to check out our ideas for Mother’s Day – many of the same rules apply.

Winning Father’s Day Marketing Campaigns

Dove Men+Care’s “First Fatherhood Moments” Video

We’re not crying, you’re crying.

This video, which was part of Dove Men+Care’s #RealStrength campaign, won the hearts of everyone in 2015 when they documented 12 men and their reactions to finding out they’re going to be a dad. Not only is it heartwarming and tear-inducing, but it speaks to a wide range of men – new fathers, soon-to-be fathers, and the “old pro” fathers (giving them all the touchy feelies about how they felt when they found out they were going to be a dad).

Check it out, but be sure you have tissues on-hand.

To date, the video has nearly 18 million views and was very positively received online. Dove Men+Care gained even more traction on social media by incorporating the hashtag #RealStrength.

We also have to give kudos to Dove Men+Care for this particular video – it’s a great example of utilizing user-generated content to engage a particular audience. Well done, Dove.

Combatant Gentleman’s #ByeByeDadJeans Social Media Contest

Let’s face it – there are a lot of fathers in the world who wear old, ratty, or downright unflattering “dad jeans.” Combatant Gentleman decided to use this to their advantage to run a social media contest encouraging people to share photos of bad dad jeans and use the hashtag #ByeByeDadJeans. The entrant who submitted the worst dad jeans would be the proud owners of three new pairs of jeans for their old man.

The humor of this campaign obviously made it very popular, and the simple hashtag made it easy to share and promote. Not only that, but the urgency created by this time-sensitive contest resulted in a nice spike in brand awareness.

Sears’ #GrillingIsHappiness Campaign

If promoting the best gifts for dad is really your jam, that’s great! Just do it in a fresh, unique way that makes you stand out from the crowd. Take a hint from Sears, who coordinated a live chat on Twitter in 2013 to generate more awareness and increase consumer engagement.

The general purpose of this campaign was to prompt followers to share their plans for Father’s Day, plus any grilling tips they had. Sears posed 10 different questions to consumers, encouraging them to answer back with live tweets, which made for a captivating, real-time marketing initiative.

This #GrillingIsHappiness campaign was actually an annual campaign that Sears ran, but by repurposing the content a bit and bringing a fresh format to it, they were able to make it work for a special occasion and garner more awareness for the campaign as a whole, all in one fell swoop.

By following in the footsteps of these brands and applying some of our Father’s Day marketing tips (listed above, and in the below infographic), you’re sure to have a winning campaign this year. And, of course, enlisting the help of experts will never hurt your marketing efforts. Be sure to give us a shout to help you get started on your Father’s Day campaigns!

An infographic from iFocus Marketing showing the top Father's Day marketing statistics

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