Half of mothers Over 40 Think Brands Don’t Get Them.

Whatever it is, the way you tell your story online can make all the difference.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day

I have such mixed emotions about the day. While I’ll never complain about someone bringing me coffee in bed or proudly making me dinner or creating a beautiful card with blossoming art skills, I get frustrated about a one-day recognition that’s spurred on by a consumer complex that says “Quick! Buy her something! Anything! This! It’ll do, you’ll get the credit, and (phew!) you can tick the box and go back to business and life as usual.”

The sheer number of Mother’s Day gift lists filling my Apple News feed was staggering

And some of the suggestions were jaw-dropping. I’ve always thought skincare was kind of a weird gift (Mom, I’ve noticed you’re looking a little tired these days so I thought you’d appreciate this eye cream or worse, Honey, remember the glow you used to have 15 years ago before parenting changed everything? I got you this heavy-duty serum! ). And anything cleaning-focused just seems like a reminder of what society considers our place. But this year when it was suggested I give my mother-in-law a selection of (what I am sure are probably very high quality) menopause relief products I wasn’t sure if it was just an uncomfortable suggestion or actually a genius way to ensure that we’re never invited to Thanksgiving dinner again.

over half of Women over 40 think brands misunderstand their motherhood experience

When Fancy surveyed nearly 500 women over 40, we asked the moms whether they felt that advertisers understood their experience of motherhood. Given the above, it’s not surprising that over 50% said no. Think about it. In the advertising world “mom” = “harried woman, 25-35, with toddlers through grade-schoolers, trying to hold it all together.” There’s precious little that touches the experience of the 48-year-old mother managing college application season while caring for elderly parents and more than likely trying to hold down a job. Or the anxiety we might feel while seeing a teenager sleep (there are so many opportunities to see a teenager sleep!), wondering about having “done it right” in a world where there are no do-overs. Or that the pride we experience when we’re invited to their first apartment is the same as when we saw them take their first steps. Because life is a series of first steps and as parents, we are filled with awe and emotion at all of them.

Moms, and mothering figures, give their all. Usually. But not always. There are certainly people with very strained, or even no, relationships with their mothers. There are people whose mothers have died. Mothers whose children have died. People who wanted to become mothers and didn’t. And people who didn’t want to and did. 

There’s a world of nuance, often triggering, around the concept of motherhood

nd this year a bunch of brands gave us the option to opt out of Mothers Day marketing. This decision was largely a result of the pandemic and the fact that many many of us have lost people and being told to “Remember Mom!” every time we check our email is the gut punch that keeps on giving. The good news is that these opt-out efforts were really well received and this year won’t be the last. 

This way of thinking goes a long way towards connecting with consumers on a human level. Towards showing people that you understand their experience. They may be having a hard time, but they also may not, and the choice on types of communication they receive should be just that: a choice. 

personalization can make the world a better place

As we demand a more and more personalized brand experience, brands have the opportunity to demonstrate that they “get” us. That they have a positive purpose in our lives. That they can be a catalyst for the change that makes the world a better place. 


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