These Lovely Ads Go Beyond Cliche and Show the Breadth of What It Means to Be a Mother

For Mother's Day, Teleflora highlights how 'no mom is typical'

After serving 8 years as a U.S. Army combat medic, Denise Barry is now taking care of her 15-year-old sister, Taylor. Teleflora

Emotions run high in these Mother’s Day ads from Teleflora that focus on moms raising their children in situations that pose unique challenges.

The flower delivery service has certainly produced tear-jerker commercials around this particular holiday before. But this campaign, which introduces the tagline “Love Makes a Mom,” should come with its own box of Kleenex.

That said, sentimentality takes a back seat, and straightforward storytelling carries the day in affecting fashion. The minute-long ads, crafted by The Wonderful Agency (the in-house marketing unit of Teleflora parent The Wonderful Company), and Wondros Productions directors Chris Riess and Amy Hill, touch a nerve because they’re so real, unfiltered and, ultimately, uplifting.

First, we meet a mom whose young daughter shows her “a different kind of perfect.”

Next, an African-American lesbian couple overcome “opinions and judgments and criticisms” as they raise their little girl:

Finally, a U.S. Army veteran and entrepreneur, Denise, serves as the primary mom figure for her school-age half sister, who was struggling with grades and other challenges while being raised by a grandmother whose health was failing:

“We wanted to create something that transcended the stereotypes and emotional tropes typically portrayed in advertising around Mother’s Day,” says Wonderful Agency executive creative director Amber Justis. “Because, let’s face it, no mom is typical. And every mother-child bond is unique. These videos are meant to celebrate and highlight that special kind of love that doesn’t just come from a biological mom, but can transform someone into a mom, too.”

Justis credits filmmakers Riess and Hill, known for their quirky festival-circuit documentaries, “for drawing out real and honest stories” from the campaign’s subjects.

“Amy asked poignant and thought-provoking questions that revealed the stories in ways we hadn’t anticipated,” Justis says. “Chris captured unguarded moments and beautiful interactions without a rehearsal, without ever asking our families to perform.”

Each film was made over the course of several days, allowing the crew to delve into “the intimate and often very private history of each family,” Justis says. This approach yielded films that feel natural and unforced as they resonate with real power.

“The entire team was left deeply connected to these mothers and these children. The goodbyes were long, and our collective hearts grew from knowing them.”
Amber Justis, ECD, Wonderful Agency

Justis says the creatives were often as moved as they hope viewers will be.

“During our interviews with Cara, Mia’s mother, Mia found her way into the video village and enchanted everyone she met, at one point leading a group of a dozen women in singing her favorite song, ‘Who Stole The Cookie From The Cookie Jar,’” she recalls. “The entire team was left deeply connected to these mothers and these children. The goodbyes were long, and our collective hearts grew from knowing them.”

Kelly McKeone, vice president, consumer and florist marketing at Teleflora, says the team strove for diversity and realism, attempting “to accurately depict women’s experiences” as part of its commitment to the Association of National Advertisers’ Alliance for Family Entertainment supporting the #SeeHer initiative.

“Most women do not feel like they are accurately portrayed in the media,” McKeone says. “Teleflora wants moms to know that we understand that there is no cookie-cutter version of motherhood. All moms defy the odds and rise to the challenge every day. And for that, they should be celebrated.”

You can learn more about each of the mother figures featured in the ads by reading their bios on the campaign website.

Notably, the notion of using Teleflora to send flowers to your mom (or perhaps someone else’s) is never raised. Instead, viewers can infer the call to action as they ponder the complex definition of motherhood and the deep relationships that underpin the holiday.

For a more traditional and transactional Mother’s Day promotion, the company teamed up with singer/songwriter Jason Mraz for a sweepstakes that runs through May 9. Fans who enter the contest could win $100 Teleflora gift cards.


Client: Teleflora

Vice President, Consumer and Florist Marketing: Kelly McKeone
Senior Director, Consumer Marketing: Danielle Mason

Agency: Wonderful Agency
President: Michael Perdigao
Chief Creative Officer: Darren Moran
Executive Creative Director: Amber Justis
Senior Copywriter: Janna Carney
Director of Integrated Production: Corey Bartha
Senior Integrated Producer: Nadia Pack
SVP, Managing Director: Lori Hobson
Senior Digital Producer: Nicole Klein

Production Company: Wondros Productions
Directors: Riess/Hill
DP: Chris Riess
Executive Producer: Sophie Gold
Producer: Leah Allina
Production Supervisor: Shelly Silverman

Editorial: Cosmo Street
Editor: Bill Chessman
Executive Producer: Yvette Cobarrubias-Sears
Head of Production: Marie Mangahas
Assistant Editor: Rich Gonzalez
Producer: Jonlyn Williams

Visual Effects: Carbon VFX
Executive Producer: Matthew McManus
Creative Director: John Price
Colorist: Aubrey Woodiwiss
Color Assist: Bree Brackett

Mix: Lime Studios
Audio Mixer: Loren Silber
Audio Assist: Mark Nieto
Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan

Music: SOUTH Music & Sound Design

@DaveGian 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.
Publish date: May 1, 2018 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT