Father's Day ads in Iceland

Design | 08 min read

7 of the greatest Father’s Day ads in the world

If inspiring Father’s Day ads are what you crave then read on my friend…

Unsurprisingly, Father’s Day doesn’t have the same impact as Mother’s Day, but it is still a golden opportunity for advertisers. Yet, it’s not enough to advertise and be done with it. Viewers associate poor advertising with a poor quality product. Fail to invest in your creative and the Father’s Day shopper will dismiss your ad. You need to stand out from the crowd.

Father’s Day ads and advertisers

It’s competitive out there! Take Father’s Day in the US for example. American consumers spend $15.5 billion on gifts, cards, dinners, ballgames, and much more. While, marketers in the states are likely to spend about $2 billion on advertising to take advantage.

Around the globe the holiday means different things to different advertisers too. AdRoll analysed its 35,000 advertisers in the two weeks leading up to Father’s Day to see what industries were benefiting. The results were surprising. North Atlantic and Central Europe (NACE) saw a 109.5% increase in specialty retail conversions; as expected. While, Asia-Pacific brands saw an 88.9% increase in sporting goods conversions – amongst other findings.

But before we go any further it’s worth noting when Father’s Day is for your local market. Here in Sweden and the Nordic countries – excluding Denmark – we celebrate Father’s Day the second Sunday in November each year. While in the US, and many countries, it’s the third Sunday in June. Plus, it’s completely different for loads of other nations too – I’m looking at you crazy Danes. Take a moment to make sure you know the dates for the different markets you advertise in!

Now let’s admire seven of the most interesting Father’s Day ads in recent years. I imagine there’ll be a nugget or two that will help inspire, and if all goes well, make your own campaign stand out!

The traditional take done well: Carhartt

Father’s Day ads often have a particular narrative tone – warm and sentimental. Carhartt Father’s Day campaign is a perfect example of what makes a good “traditional” campaign. The campaign features Jason Momoa, and other fathers, talking about fatherhood. What the Carhartt ad manages to do (which some brands fail miserably at) is link the brand with the positive virtues of what it means to be a dad. They are inspirational and real. No fake firefighters, or grinning pilots, or stock images of children here!

In all of the ads the inspirational dads wear Carhartt apparel, reinforcing the message that a great dad is a Carhartt dad. According to Tony Ambroza, Senior Vice President at Carhartt this connection works a treat. “Since many of our consumers are also dads, it’s important that we recognize their values of hard work and tradition”. The campaign is simple yet effective and links the positive values of fatherhood with the clothes brand – without be corny!

Programmatic done wisely: Funky Pigeon

Programmatic advertising and Father Day’s ads are a match made in heaven. In the UK card producer Funky Pigeon worked with creative agency Found to achieve better results in the weeks leading up to Father’s Day. Using Google Analytics, Found identified key audience segments that had favourable behavioural metrics and high conversion rates. This audience profile was then used to form the framework for all targeting. Through the use of prospecting and retargeting it targeted display ads to the viewers that bought.

Funky Pigeon Father's Day ads

Using behavioural, contextual, and demographic segmentation, it also synced its display campaign to its TV adverts. Meaning that Funky Pigeon only invested its ad budget into the users most likely to convert. The end results were pretty spectacular. A whooping 321,000 visitors were driven to FunkyPigeon.com for the first time. While the ROI for the campaign was 1763%! It was a campaign that both won rewards, and was rewarding for the card brand.

Using social to personalise: Glenlivet

Facebook can be restrictive but when used well it can be effective and personal. To launch The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve, Pernod Ricard UK used Facebook advertising to engage with givers and whisky loving dads. It turned Facebook into a personalised Father’s Day gift generator!

Father's Day ad for whisky

Why we like this Father’s Day ad campaign: for a start, the award winning campaign successfully established a new product range with a 11% sales uplift. Plus, over 8,000 miniature drams were gifted to dads – who were no doubt raising a glass to Glenlivet. But most of all, it’s managed to combine an interesting personalised offering with social effectively. It was a traditional gift giving idea that relied on novelty but it was a winner.

Not just about “dads”: Dove Men+Care

Dove Men + Care often produces decent video advertising for Father’s Day. The ads tend to focus on the “care” that dads provide their kids and are informal. Ian Crouch of the New Yorker writes, “from a brand perspective, it makes sense. Buying your father moisturiser suggests closeness”. In 2017 the brand added a new feature to its Father’s Day campaign. It presented the notion that influential men in our lives aren’t always dads.

The 30-second branding spot, sees Dove Men + Care celebrate the teachers, uncles, coaches and grandfathers in our lives. A brave move, which not only highlights the modern family dynamic but shows us that not all father figures are actual fathers.

Then in 2018, the brand went one step-further and championed paternity leave worldwide. Creating a dedicated resource-hub website advising men on taking paternity leave, hashtag campaign, and video ad on the subject. Oh, and parent company Unilever decided to give its new fathers a minimum of three weeks paid leave, by the end of 2019. (Though still somewhat short of the Scandinavian average!)

Yet, let’s not nitpick. By all accounts Dove Men + Care uses the familiar connotations of Father’s Day advertising but cleverly subverts them and wins.

Subverting stereotypes: #MakeAMoment

Let’s be honest, often when think about Father’s Day ads we’re conditioned to think of a stereotype. As we’ve mentioned not all father figures are actual fathers, then why should we assume that all fathers are the same? That’s at the heart of the narrative in the #MakeAMoment advertising campaign produced for The Ad Council and the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC).

Placed across multiple channels, the ad campaign defied gender stereotypes by encouraging dads to “take a moment for a moment” with their children. In particular, it did not seek to define stereotypically what that moment could be. It could be dancing to “I’m a little teapot“, or washing hair, like in the ad below. In actuality, rather than simply rejecting stereotypes the campaign also presented real moments that most fathers would recognise.

National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse Father's Day ad

As well as, reflecting the multifaceted role father’s play in bringing up their children, it can be a winning strategy too. Speaking to Forbes, Marketing Strategist, Christine Michel Carter recommends subverting “traditional” gender roles. “Don’t be discouraged. Create funny, smart or artistic gender-neutral content. A father playing dress-up, wearing pink, or even painting stars and rainbows with his children”. The simple lesson is that when creating Father’s Day ads, be sensitive to well-worn stereotypes. Sometimes breaking the mould – or showing reality can be rewarding.

The classic old school use of humour: Durex

Here’s a classic Father’s Day ad from Durex.

A classic example of a Durex Father's Day ads

It’s pretty obvious. It’s funny. And it’s brilliant. Unsurprisingly, Durex has returned to this theme in their Father’s Day ads year after year. Happy Father’s Day indeed.

Lacking nuance but striking: Nike

Do you remember Tiger Woods? In his pomp he was awesome. He was spectacular. A global star that defied convention and made golf accessible to a range of fans who otherwise wouldn’t have cared. He was also one of Nike’s most important ambassadors. So when it turned out his private life was, well…a disaster, the ad below was meant to help redeem the super star golfer.

It is striking and does grip you. But sadly, for Nike and Tiger, reaction to the spot proved mixed. One commentator, Jason Piroth, was to the point. “Using the out-of-context words of your dead father in an attempt to clean up your image just might be more offensive than nailing dozens of hookers across the U.S. while your wife raises your kid”. Some did find positives. Tim Nudd, writing for Ad Week noted: “[it] might not have been a great ad, but it did feature a great dad – the voice of Tiger’s father Earl”.


So there you have seven of the best, or at the very least the most interesting, Father’s Day ads. What each ad proves is that there is no hard and fast rule on what makes the perfect Father’s Day ad. However,  creativity and heart is key in all of them. Each ad also shows us that having a solid narrative helps too.

In this list we’ve avoided looking at advertising that relies on well-worn stereotypes, and yes, there is a time and a place for such ads. But Elaine Kwon, Founder of e-commerce management firm Kwontified makes an interesting point: “overused tactics like banner ads featuring flowers come off as bland and possibly not genuine”. There’s no harm in referencing traditional values but try to personalise your message if you can. Take the Glenlivit campaign for example. Everything about it is traditional but it’s approach is new and individual.

Producing a great Father’s Day ad whether a banner or another format requires the right tools. Use a creative management platform like Bannerflow and your brand can create remarkable display ads with ease. Plus, if you’re canny, you can easily control and update your Father’s Day banners for better performance!

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