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The Value of Choosing the Right Words This Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

messaging language for mother's and father's day

When it comes to celebrating our mothers and fathers, we’re often searching for gifts that show how much we love and appreciate them. But even though our intent remains the same, the language brands use in their advertisements can—and has—differed between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Persado’s language analysis of 2,400 messages across 15 clients over the past two years shows how messaging changed throughout time, and how factors such as pandemic lockdowns and affordability impacted marketing campaigns.

‘Value for Money’ was the Theme in 2021

Last year, people responded to language surrounding these two holidays in very similar manners. For both days, consumers were likely to show their appreciation for the mother or father in their life by buying them a tangible gift.

And when it comes to deciding what gift to give, it’s all about getting a valuable gift at a good value.

In 2021, we saw that Gratification, or language that signifies value or financial gain, claimed its stake as the top-performing emotion for both holidays.

The Top Emotions of Mother’s and Father’s Day 2021


While Gratification might have manifested itself in different ways for both of these holidays, its strong performance for both days highlights how much consumers are motivated by getting a gift of good value, especially if they are considering making a long-term investment in a gift.

Curious to see some examples of how Gratification worked for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day? Here are some of the top-performing messages of 2021.

Mother’s Day Gratification

Father’s Day Gratification

Different Year, Different Emotion, Different Language

When we look beyond the top-performing motivation of Gratification, you start to notice the differences in language used for the two holidays.

Many brands choose to use Mother’s Day messaging that contains more sentiment than the language used in Father’s Day campaigns.

These differences in language were more obvious during Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in 2020. Gratitude, or language that shows appreciation, performed exceptionally well during Mother’s Day 2020.

Some examples include:

But for Father’s Day that same year, you could see a clear difference in language. Safety, or language that eliminates worries and doubts, became the top performer.

Examples of this type of language include:

We found that more affectionate words—like “appreciation”, “thanks”, “best”, and “special”—were the top performers for Mother’s Day campaigns in 2020. For Father’s Day 2020, creating an “easy” and “worry-free” experience was the story that resonated with consumers the most.

The Impact of Emotions and Timing on Language

Biases certainly exist around the roles of Mothers and Fathers, but we attribute the difference in language performance in 2020 to something else: emotion and timing.

Mother’s Day 2020 was the first cultural, socially-distanced holiday after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. While we were still socially-distanced when Father’s Day arrived one month later, attitudes toward the pandemic had changed slightly, shifting the focus more towards ease and hassle-free gifting. It’s not surprising that sentiment and stress-reduction ruled the 2020 holidays as the world was experiencing the fear and uncertainty of a new pandemic.

It seems that emotions leveled in 2021 as pandemic fear was replaced by pandemic fatigue and a desire for normalcy. When we compare the top performing messages between the two holidays in 2021, the rankings for emotions (the primary language motivators) stayed remarkably similar despite the difference in language choices.

Mother’s and Father’s Day 2022: Language Recommendations

This year, we expect messaging to keep its focus on the value of a gift. Customers will continue to show appreciation during both holidays through giving a meaningful gift, and it helps to know that they are buying something that is worth the investment.

Looking for ways to tap into the idea of value in 2022? You can try phrases like:

Our data shows that in addition to Gratification, motivators such as Gratitude, Safety and Fascination (language that signifies newness or freshness) are top performers and are worth integrating into your Mother’s and Father’s Day messaging.

In the end, in 2022 customers just want to know they’re getting something for mom and/or dad that feels worth it. If you’re getting a deal, that’s great. But the gift itself should be special and worth it if you have to pay a little extra. So highlighting that gifts are valuable for your customers will go a long way in driving action.