Lillie Sun, a growth marketer at Three Ships, is shown in a handout photo. Canadian companies are offering customers the ability to opt out of Mother’s Day emails ahead of the May 9 celebration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

Lillie Sun, a growth marketer at Three Ships, is shown in a handout photo. Canadian companies are offering customers the ability to opt out of Mother’s Day emails ahead of the May 9 celebration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

In nod to sensitivities, marketers adjust Mother’s Day messaging

Some brands are letting customers opt out of emails about the holiday

Some Canadian companies are putting sensitivity ahead of sales in the run up to Mother’s Day in acknowledgment of customers who may be dealing with bereavement, estrangement or fertility issues.

Toronto beauty brand Three Ships and Vancouver dinnerware purveyor Fable say they are providing the ability to opt out of marketing material associated with the May 9 celebration.

They follow global brands like Marks & Spencer, Etsy, Aesop, Pandora jewelry and Deliveroo, who have offered opt-outs for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or both.

Lillie Sun, a growth marketer with Three Ships, pitched a Mother’s Day opt out to the company’s founders after receiving a similar email from online marketplace Etsy.

“I have a friend who lost a parent almost a year ago and also someone else really close to me was struggling to get pregnant, and I’ve always been very conscious around Mother’s Day not to bring up memories…that might be uncomfortable,” she said.

“I don’t know all of our customers, but I’m sure there are people on our email list who are in the same boat… so it was a no-brainer.”

It took no convincing to get Three Ships founders Connie Lo and Laura Burget on board, Sun recalled.

Mother’s Day is typically a busy season for their brand, but they felt the gesture was the right thing to do and would foster better relations with customers.

Hours after the company sent an email explaining the option, Sun said at least 30 recipients responded praising the idea, sharing why the holiday is so tough for them and telling Three Ships they had customers “for life.”

The reaction was just as “overwhelmingly positive” when Fable sent an opt-out email this month.

“While we have had some people opt out, even people who were not opting out were really excited about what we were doing,” said chief executive and founder Joe Parenteau.

But allowing customers to avoid some marketing campaigns could put sales at risk.

Average Mother’s Day purchases last year in Canada amounted to $20.40 for bakery goods, $87.04 for flowers, $169.28 for sporting goods, $173.57 for cosmetics and $377.99 for jewelry, said payment processor Moneris.

Some of those industries are more likely to rely on the celebration this year because the COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled big revenue generators like weddings and corporate parties.

“Mother’s Day is super important because that’s all we have right now to make up for the dollars that we’re used to getting from events,” said Becky De Oliveira, the owner of Toronto floral businesses Bloom School, and Blush and Bloom.

“I am holding onto Mother’s Day very tightly right now.”

De Oliveira considered sending out an email with Mother’s Day promotions to customers, but decided not to after industry friends started chatting about companies backing away from campaigns tied to the day.

She is still promoting Mother’s Day items on social media, but regularly posts warnings advising followers to step away from the account if they find it difficult.

Mattress company Endy also edged away from overt Mother’s Day marketing, but chose not to send an opt out email.

“We felt that if the purpose of this was to be sensitive, this approach might end up causing more harm,” said Sarah Krafman, the company’s senior director of brand strategy and communications.

Instead, the Toronto-based mattress company proactively stopped using Mother’s and Father’s Day messaging in email campaigns and will celebrate parents in “non-promotional ways” on social media.

Such approaches reflect the increasing attention companies are putting on personalizing experiences and being thoughtful towards customers and what they celebrate, said Seung Hwan (Mark) Lee, an associate professor of retail management at Ryerson University.

ALSO READ: Study co-author says planned C-sections may be less risky for some moms and babies

While some brands might fear that letting people opt out of will hurt sales opportunities, Lee said those who take them up on their offers likely weren’t going to buy make a purchase that holiday.

But offering an opt out still has it’s troubles, he said.

“You’re sort of forcing the person to…make a choice of whether they are part of this day or not and even framing the idea of a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day opt out reminds them of their loved ones,” he said.

It can get even trickier if companies look to apply the strategy to Valentine’s Day or December holidays that are not celebrated by everyone or that can be difficult for some.

“It’s very difficult for a company to continuously ask individuals to ask they would like to opt out,” he said.

He envisions companies will eventually evolve and use data to identify which consumers often avoid their promotions around specific holidays and then tailor their approach to those people based on the habits they discovered.

But he said, ultimately, “Understanding customers more will help you make better decisions on what messages get sent out in the future.”

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Mother's Day

Just Posted

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Highway 4 reopens after accident at Taylor River Flats

Multi-vehicle crash had closed highway to west coast

Grade 12 graduates Jada Touchie, Timothy Masso and Brendan Brown are all smiles after receiving their Goodies for the Grads gift packs thanks to a small neighbourhood grant from the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet Secondary School grads set to parade through town

Family and friends can cheer on the Class of 2021 this Saturday, June 19 at 4:30 p.m.

From left, Ahousaht First Nation Hereditary Chief Richard George presents a $10,000 cheque to Tofino Hatchery manager Doug Palfrey alongside Tyler Huebner of TCH Contracting The funds will go towards rebuilding Cypre river Chinook. (Carallyn Bowes photo)
Tofino Hatchery receives $10K donation

Tofino Salmon Enhancement Society tackling massive drop in Chinook salmon stocks

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

This rendering shows the potential layout for a 40-unit staff housing cooperative being proposed by the Pac Rim Home Development Cooperative in Ucluelet. (Image from www.prhdc.ca)
Pac Rim Cooperative pitches staff housing project in Ucluelet

“We’re looking at it as if it’s like a resort for employees”

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Most Read