With Mother's Day around the corner, we asked our advertising mums to share their expert insights

These mothers know best

Four Lavender Mums share what’s at the top of their wish list for Mother’s Day advertising.

Erin O'Rourke, Gail Ma, Ingrid Spiga, Natasha Velkova



6 minute read

Grab the tissues, it’s Mother's Day again. In an effort to uncover whether emotive ad spots truly are the way to a mum’s heart, we asked four of our very own to tell us which representations of motherhood had stuck with them and why.

When 80% of household spending is controlled by mums,1 it seemed like a pretty good place to start – and one that more brands across the country could be mining for insight.
Samsung’s ‘Texts from Mom’ (2015)

An ad that leverages common texting ‘mumisms’ to get kids to reach out to their very own.


Best quality:

Love notes:
  • It isn’t a super teary and emotional way in, which could have been a realistic choice for a product that can facilitate memory making through photos and D&Ms over calls.
  • We’ve all received texts like these – only with many more extra spaces between the words. But understandable that it needed to be understandable. This is also a behaviour that will be relatable as long as there are smartphones and mothers to incorrectly use them (so, for ages).
  • The use of POV shots to ramp up the relatability angle is smart, but what’s even smarter is how it keeps talent and production costs down while continuously heroing the product.
  • It convincingly ties in with how a customer would use the product in and around Mother’s Day.
  • It doesn’t demand immediate spend but targets the audience that will ultimately be responsible for it – the kids. Sounds obvious, but not all spots are this deliberate.
  • Counter point: it uses the day as a launchpad for a brand piece showing how funny Samsung is and why you should make your next phone (not Mum’s next phone) one.

As a Mum I…

Feel like I’m the centre of the joke but also, as a daughter, feel like I can take part in it too – so no hard feelings, Samsung.                            

Gail (Mum of Alex)
Kraft’s ‘Swear Like a Mother’ (2017)

An ad that comically hits at the unrealistic pursuit of perfect f------ mothering.


Best quality:

Love notes:
  • Perfect casting. Not only is Melissa Mohr an actual, PhD-level expert in swearing, she’s a refreshing contradiction when it comes to representations of the white American ‘Mom’ (Kraft’s key target market).
  • Mum is the central comic figure – finally! Not just the one being made fun of. This tells me this ad is really a brand piece for her, not the kids who’ll be doing the gifting come Mother’s Day.
  • Celebrates the perfectly imperfect, which couldn’t be a more authentic insight on mothering and the almost equal balance of challenge and reward that comes with it. The cat’s out of the bag, Insta Mums.
  • This championing of authenticity runs all the way down to the product itself and its positioning in market – with Kraft owning its reputation as a quick and somewhat-dodgy alternative to a nutritious home-cooked meal, ultimately validating it as a guiltless choice for mothers everywhere.

As a Mum I…

Feel like I’ve been seen, and that this huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders in terms of nailing this thing that’s harder than anything else I’ve ever done before.

Natasha (Mum of Wanda)
Pandora’s ‘The Unique Connection’ (2015)

An ad that demonstrates the irrefutable connection between mother and child via social experiment.


Best quality:

Love notes:
  • By relying on the viewer to figure out the meaning of the repeated action they’re seeing from the get-go, this ad teases your curiosity and keeps you watching till the end.
  • It takes kids (already cute) and uses their irresistible innocence when picking out their mothers blindfolded to really emphasise the ‘awww’ factor.
  • Using real-life mums and kids not only authenticates the strength of the relationship through a kind of ‘science’ but makes you engage with the ad on a deeper personal level – would my kid be able to pick me out in a crowd?
  • It makes you appreciate the diversity of mums and mothering styles (although could pick up its game on the racial diversity front).
  • Product placement is very subtle throughout and almost takes a second watch to notice it, keeping the focus on the feeling that’s so central to the power of the ad.
  • Emotive space feels like a natural fit for a brand that sells charms intended to tell a story, and potentially be passed on as (more budget friendly) heirloom pieces.

As a Mum I…

Love the attention it draws to how incomparable every mother-child relationship is. Not being like other mums isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength.

Erin (Mum of India)
Fiat – The Motherhood (2013)

An ad that uses rap to playfully paint a very real picture of motherhood and the life that was.


Best quality:

Love notes:
  • The use of surprising plays on words and rhyme keeps you along for the ride (pun intended), despite the ad running relatively long.
  • It perfectly captures the essence of motherhood in that it balances a brutal level of honesty (‘orgasm faker’) with the undeniable humour of raising a tiny human.
  • The level of honesty in the ad makes it read as authentic, as it goes for scenarios that might not be ones commonly known to non-mums or ones that these mums (though true) wouldn’t be first to admit.
  • Now eight years old, the ad’s angle seems even more relevant to a mothering landscape dominated by flawless social media mums.
  • There’s a power in recognising the life that was and providing a space for it to be lamented, guilt-free.
  • Motherhood is positioned as this ‘cool’ club/state of being that mums can be proud to own, however messy – giving what could be interpreted as a laundry list of complaints, a positive spin.
  • At first watch, you wouldn’t be able to guess what the ad was trying to promote. For a mum that can relate to what’s being said, a subtler intro to the brand that lets her self-identify versus a hard product push is probably more effective.

As a Mum I…

Am so grateful for the laughs this ad brought me and the lightness it throws on what can be a relentless and often underestimated job.

Ingrid (Mum of Austin)
A final word on ‘Mum’
If the above has proven anything, it’s that ‘Mum’ is a pretty hard person to pin down. We’re suckers for ads that show precious moments with our rapidly growing littles ones, but are just as smitten with those that throw our over-publicised, loving nature out the window.

So how do you give your own ad baby its best shot in life? Here’s some motherly advice:

  • Don’t be scared to get real – Motherhood is ugly and beautiful, funny and so exhausting you could cry. For the 80% of millennial mums that feel the pressure to be perfect,2 it could be just the representational relief they’ve been waiting for.
  • Show mums of all kinds – While there’s lots we mums can agree on, there’s plenty that sets us apart like race, culture, income and more. You don’t have to stray wildly from your target audience but it’s undeniable that inclusivity is of growing importance (and an area that the above, despite all their merits, fail in). Here’s a look at how we tackled this in our Stockland Mother’s Day campaign.
  • Be clear on who you’re selling to – If you want mums to buy your product, be sure you’re talking to them and representing them in a way they can be proud of. As keeper of the family bank account, you really don’t want to piss us off.
on women at the top.
While corporate Australia likes to think it has improved in leaps and bounds in terms of gender equality, a 2020 study found that there were more ‘Andrews’ (12) leading ASX 200 organisations as CEOs than there were women (9)3. The number of female CEOs has also declined since 20183. Not cool, man.
Four ways to smash stereotypes

Stereotypes about mothers aren’t just lazy, they’re potentially harmful to your bottom line, especially with Aussie mums making more than 80% of household spending decisions1. Combine that with the fact that more than half of Aussie mums are working mums4, and it’s clear that they’re not only pulling the purse strings, but also filling that purse too – so they need to be treated with respect!

With that in mind, here are four easy ways to take a sledgehammer to those unnecessary stereotypes.


  1. Free her from domestic duties – Mums do so much more than pack kids’ lunches and fold laundry, so let’s ditch these dated tropes.

  2. Celebrate their diversity – There are many different types of mums, from single mums, to step mums, to CEO mums, and mums of every race, religion, ability, and sexual orientation, so be sure to represent them equally and not default to the nuclear family version of mum that we’ve all seen to death.

  3. Don’t assume – Not every woman can or wants to be a mum, so don’t make assumptions about how women define family today.

  4. Tell inspiring stories – Think you’re celebrating a mum’s success by showing how she overcame a frantic morning to get the kids to school on time? Aim higher. Much higher. Like Whitney Wolfe Herd, who recently launched her hugely successful dating app Bumble on the Nasdaq, sending her worth to an estimated US$1.6 billion. And who did she have with her as she rang the bell for the launch? Her one-year-old son, Bobby.
  1. Jackie Hanafie, New conference to reveal purchasing power of Aussie mums (27 October 2017) B&T.
  2. Jeff Fromm, When Marketing To Millennial Parents: Authenticity Is Required (21 September 2016) Forbes.
  3. Conrad Liveris, Gender Equality at Work 2020 (February 2020) Conrad Liveris.
  4. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Happy Mother’s Day from the ABS! (10 May 2018) Australian Bureau of Statistics.
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