Best & Worst Father’s Day Social Media Campaigns 2014

For PRo’s, Father’s Day is more than a day dedicated to Daddies. It’s also a great way for us Communications geeks to have a look at how companies and charities are upping their game digitally and creatively to find new ways to jump on the Father’s Day bandwagon.

The most interesting ideas are normally found on social media, where brands try to engage “ordinary people” in the hopes of shares and further positive promotion. Where the real world tries to woo you with retail promotions to buy experiences and “stuff” for Dad, the online world offers a chance to thank your Dad, mock him or win him “stuff” you don’t have to buy!

The Good…

#JJCOOLDAD campaign Jack&Jones

Clothing retailer Jack Jones have run a successful photo upload campaign (actually using a photo-based social channel – Instagram – surprisingly unusual for brands who tend to stick to Twitter for images). #JJCOOLDAD invited users to upload old pictures of their dads as entry into a competition to win a voucher as well as a chance to be featured in next year’s campaign.

The campaign has garnered a lot of entries. Despite the tagline ‘Because Dads Never Go Out of Style’, the campaign has seen a wave of style-questionable retro outfits, hair do’s and moustaches/beards! It has the right mix of emotion and humour and it’s an easy way for a brand to build a stock image library!

We don’t normally expect dads (or men in general) to join in posting sentimental pictures on social media, but that hasn’t stopped several brands from continuing the #selfie upload craze in a slightly altered format.

Macmillan Father's Day campaign

Whereas Cancer Research UK gained the most funds through the #nomakeupselfie campaign, it is MacMillan this time who have promoted both Facebook and Twitter posts for their #thatsmydad campaign. The idea is to post 3 words describing your dad, plus a photo of you both and by texting it to the charity you will also donate £3 so that “no dad will have to go through cancer alone.”

I like this one because so much of the activity of cancer charities is focussed on women, who are seemingly easier to engage (think Pretty in Pink for Breast Cancer, RunHer, etc.) and yet there is a very real need to promote services to men when it comes to all health issues.

Volkswagon Father's Day ad

Volkswagon didn’t run their own online campaign (they’re busy with the World Cup), and yet their above-the-line advertising campaign has proved popular enough to be posted numerous times by others on social media. Again, this plays on both nostalgia and the right mix of sentiment and humour, with a particular focus on one of the stereotypical male interests: new cars and vintage cars alike. VW could have benefitted more in promotion had they instigated the campaign online themselves.

British Army Fathers Day Campaign

Another heart-string-pulling campaign that regularly makes an appearance at this time of year is the servicemen posted oversees story. The red-top tabloid papers will rake this out annually regardless of lack of creativity, because it sells papers. However, I like that the British Army have put a spin on their own version of the promotion online, highlighting fathers and sons who are serving together in Helmand. This has the dual benefit of showing a new angle to the service personnel story, while also building positive sentiment among an increasingly anti-war public.

Ulster Museum Father's Day and WWI centenary

Locally, I also liked Ulster Museum’s contribution to the social media landscape, with yet another retro image but this time, cleverly linked to World War I with the upcoming centenary next month. This is a local organisation that have been really clever with their social channels, engaging a wide variety of people on lots of issues and peppering their feeds with humour and “blast from the past” interesting tit-bits from history.

Dark Bunny Tees Darth Vadar Father's Day Funny

However, for me, the winners in this field are always the creative businesses. The smaller and more boutique, the more freedom they have to use humour. And humour = virality on social media. One of my favourites was from a Norfolk-based t-shirt company. Darth Vadar is of course well used for this holiday (even more so since Disney purchased the franchise) but adding a Jeremy Kyle spin for UK-audiences… inspired!

Now, for the Bad…

Missguided Father's Day Twitter Post

Although I’m a fan of online retailer Missguided, and although they’ve had an impressive number of shares on their Father’s Day post, I am dismayed by the lack of creativity and the fact that it makes us women look like the shallow, overly-maternal, bimbos we’re often accused of being. Granted, he is the husband of a woman in the fashion industry. And the image is easy on the eye at least. But it lacks any real thought and reminds me of similar posts used by link farms to gain likes on Facebook pages for sale. Lazy.

Tesco Value Father's Day card

The worst for me, and it rears its ugly head every year, is the Tesco value cards. Yes it was funny the first time. It’s no longer funny. In fairness to Tesco, they don’t continue to re-hash this, it is the wannabee comedians on their own channels. It keeps their brand name in people’s minds but I don’t see how it helps them in terms of positive sentiment.

Asda Father's Day gnomes

Not to be outdone by their supermarket rivals, Asda came up with this confusing, off-the-wall post. Does anyone know what it means??