Your mom does not want a bowling ball for Mother’s Day, and don’t even consider a Groupon for boxing classes or a household-cleaning gadget like a vacuum.
Fresh-cut flowers? Those are safe, but not very creative. Come on, you can do better.
These are a few of the lessons that advertising and marketing communications giant JWT hopes to impart to all the adult kids out there who desperately need to get it right this Sunday. Or, as the case may be, avoid getting it really wrong.
JWT this week launched a program called Intelligift, which the agency has dubbed “the world’s first service for focus group testing Mother’s Day gifts.” As seen in the video describing the project, it’s real, but it’s also a little tongue-in-cheek.
“You don’t want to disappoint your mother,” says Mark Truss, JWT’s global director of brand intelligence, by way of introducing the service. “It’s just that most of the things you do fall short of her expectations.”
So why mess up a softball holiday like Mother’s Day, Truss asks, when you could use it to buy yourself a year’s worth of much-needed parental goodwill?
In this case, science can help save your clueless selfIn this case, science can help save your clueless self.
Much as it does for its focus tests of commercials and marketing campaigns, JWT gathered a sampling of moms, with kids at least 18 years old, around the country. From that representative sample – reviewing various ideas submitted to them — the agency learned what qualified as good or crappy gifts.
On a scale of zero to 100, the bottom three gifts were bowling ball, boxing classes and bagel. (Bagel?) Vacuum did poorly, also. At the top of the scale were “gifts that aren’t gifts,” Truss said, meaning they aren’t stuff — they’re experiences.
“The best gifts were flying across the country to surprise Mom, taking her to a play or a concert or dinner or brunch,” Truss said. “Spending time is what Mom wants.”
She might also dig a laptop, a tablet or a spa day, he said, which ranked just below the mommy-and-me experiential choices. Pre-made gift baskets, books, candy and gift cards landed smack in the middle of the scoring, which implies that they’d work in a pinch but they’re not standouts.
This run-through may serve as a beta test, having processed a few hundred queries from hapless gift-givers in its first 24 hours. So, expect Intelligift to pop up later, Truss said, perhaps in time for holiday gift giving.
Taking his agency’s own advice, Truss is switching it up this year. He usually gives his mother a hanging basket of live plants and flowers, which seemed sufficient until now. He said he plans to make lunch for his mom on Sunday instead.
“It might not even matter how well I cook,” he said. “It’s just about being there.”
Aw, good son. Want to test your gift idea? Check out the video and be prepared to return that Roomba.