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  • June 4, 2008

Season Finale: Mother's Day 2008

A look back on seasonal trends, email activity and standout B2C marketing:

Start to finish: The first reference to Mother’s Day was on March 10 by RedEnvelope. The final reference was on May 13 by FTD.

The distribution curve: The biggest days for Mother’s Day emails was Thursday, May 1, followed by Monday, May 5. Retailers sent the majority of Mother’s Day-themed emails after April 29.

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Noteworthy trend: I wanted to focus some attention on potentially valuable tactic used by several retailers during Mother’s Day—Getting people to buy something for their mothers but also for themselves.

The most interesting one was an April 13 email from Sephora with the subject line “Brand founders pick M-Day gifts!” (see separate comments on that subject line below). In this email, Sephora uses a right-side-up heart to represent “Mom” and a sideways heart to “me.” I’ve never seen that treatment before so it was really fresh and different to me. Combine that with some celebrity testimonials from the beauty world and it was a very engaging email.

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In an April 16 email with the subject line “Like Mommy, Like me,” Saks Fifth Avenue goes for the mini-me set by pitching matching adult and children’s clothing.

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And in an April 30 email, SmartBargains appeals to our self-interest with a little reverse logic—“She wouldn’t be a mom without you.”—to try to convince subscribers to buy themselves a little something while shopping for their mother.

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Cool tool: In an April 21 email with the subject line “Show Mom You Remembered with These Great Gifts,” Lillian Vernon includes a promotion for their email reminder service. That’s smart placement but I wonder if it would get even more traction if it were promoted right after Mother’s Day or another major holiday so that it attracted folks who waited too long to get gifts. That’s worth testing.



Kmart used a dynamic Mother’s Day countdown in their emails so that regardless of when that email was opened, it always reflected the correct number of days remaining. I see that tactic used a lot during the holiday season. It’s a nice urgency tool. You can see an example of it in this April 25 email:

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In an April 21 email, Wal-Mart targets moms with this callout asking them to create a wish list and share it with their kids. That’s a good way of incorporating wish list offerings into your email campaigns.



Standout subject lines:
Dell, 5/2 — Stay in Touch with Mom - Get Two Free Webcams from Dell
Lands’ End, 4/19 — Mother's Day is May 11 - consider us "landsend.mom"
Harry & David, 4/17 — Mom Really DOES Have Her Favorites ...
RedEnvelope, 4/29 — She's like a mom to you. Treat her special this Mother's Day.
Orvis, 4/10 — Be mom's favorite. Gifts that make life easier.
Ralph Lauren, 5/2 — There's Still Time To Make Mom Feel Special
RedEnvelope, 5/5 — Mother's Day Specials -- Because Mom always said...


Subject lines that stand out for the wrong reasons:
Harry & David, 5/6 — SAVE up to 25% on last-minute specials - there's still time to delight your significant Mother!
This subject line made me shutter. The incestuous pun on “significant other” just made my skin crawl. So very, very wrong.

Sephora, 4/13 — Brand founders pick M-Day gifts!
The use of “M-Day” in the subject line really caught my attention—and not in a good way. Just like marketers occasionally use “V-Day” for Valentine’s Day, this conjures up war associations for me—and I’m not even a boomer. Also, if Mother’s Day is M-Day, is Father’s Day F-Day? Not very flattering.

Read previous Mother’s Day Season Finales: 2007

Explore Mother’s Day tag.
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