Hallmark’s Mother’s Day Ads Are Shockingly Edgy. Just Kidding, They’re Really, Really Sappy

Ready for more love and gratitude for moms?

Adland's trend toward weepy gratitude continues, just in time for Mother's Day, as Hallmark rolls out a series of videos from Leo Burnett in which people express love and appreciation for their moms.

The ads are part of the brand's "Put Your Heart to Paper" campaign. Hallmark encourages its subjects—who are unaware their moms are watching in another room and will soon join them on camera—to express their deeper feelings beyond predictable phrases like "Thank you" and "I love you."

This elicits some heartfelt, even impassioned responses.

Alana, raised by a single mother and a new mom herself, says, "If I didn't have my mom, I think I would be lost." Emilio says of his mother Floridalma, "She taught me what it is to be a man and what to look for in the mother of my children."

It's almost impossible not to be moved by this stuff. Which, of course, is the whole point. Still, the basic concept—thanking those you love—no matter how well intentioned or executed, feels tired, simply because it's been trotted out so much lately.

Ogilvy & Mather's award-winning "Why Wait Until It's Too Late?" campaign for funeral insurance company Dela got things rolling. Other notable entries include MetLife's "Who Do You Live For?" spots from Crispin Porter + Bogusky, and the recent "Thank List" initiative created for American Greetings by Mullen.

With these mom-themed videos, Hallmark contributes a perfectly fine flight of tearjerkers to the category. At this point, however, I'm a little burned out on branded gratitude, and crying mostly because I wish the trend would stop.


Client: Hallmark

Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago

Chief Creative Officer: Susan Credle

Executive Creative Director: Charley Wickman

Creative Directors: Mark Wegwerth, Christopher Cole

Senior Art Director: Kate Sullivan

Senior Copywriter: Adam Ferguson

Head of Production: Vincent Geraghty

Executive Producer: Tom Keramidas

Senior Producer: Rena Dusenbury

Business Manager: Anne Carbo

Senior Talent Manager: Linda Yuen

Music Supervisor: Chris Clark

Music: Massive Music

Managing Account Director: Karla Flannery

Account Supervisor: Amy Walloch

Senior Vice President, Participation Strategy Director: Kevin Lilly

Planning Director: A.J. Livsey

Production Company: Chelsea

Editing Company: White House Post

Postproduction Company: The Mill

Director: Lauren Greenfield

Head of Production: Adam Guliner

Line Producer: Julianne Maloney

Editor: David Cea

Assistant Editor: Travis Hockswender

Executive Producer: Kristin Branstetter

Audio Mix: Erik Widmark

Colorist: Luke Morrison

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@DaveGian davegia@hotmail.com David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.