June 7, 2018

*Updated!* This ain’t your father’s [day] marketing email.

**June 20, UPDATE**

Well, another Father’s Day is in the books. How did the 2018 email landscape stack up against the 2017 activity (detailed below)? There were some surprising findings! Most notably, retailers were more bullish on BOGO and dollars-off deals rather than percentage-off, and they scaled even further back on day-of and post-holiday email:

Pop back over to Mailcharts to see even more updated insights for 2018.

As much as your dad would like to claim he doesn’t “need” any gifts for Father’s Day, we all know better. You know who else knows this? Retailers, of course, and they’re here to remind you Dad deserves some love in the form of gifts, too.

We partnered with our friends at MailCharts and looked at 941 emails sent by IR1000 brands for Father’s Day in 2017, to see how they’re using our favorite form of advertising to get you to splurge on something other than socks and underwear for all the dudes in your life.

First things first, there’s a long ramp-up period for Father’s Day email campaigns. Unlike holidays that fall on the same date every year (July 4, Christmas), Father’s Day is a sneaker. You know it’s coming, but when? Sometime in June, probably, but seriously, WHEN? This year, it’s June 17.

Last year, marketers started sending Father’s Day emails two weeks prior to the holiday, likely to remind people it was coming and to not sleep on it like Dad would after a Sunday cookout. Only 2% of retailers sent a post-Father’s Day last-chance reminder.

“Once the day is over, it’s over. Very few retailers bothered to extend their promotions, which makes sense,” said Carl Sednaoui, director of marketing at MailCharts.

What did late shoppers miss out on? Here’s a breakdown of the promos sent out in 2017:

How big did they go for the big guy? Pretty dang big, thanks for asking:

FYI, all of these 941 emails used the term “Father’s Day” in the subject line, so there’s no ambiguity here. These discounted duds were for Dad.

We asked MailCharts to pull a couple examples for us to analyze from a creative perspective, and they did not disappoint.

Father’s Day email examples

Banana Republic

#DadJokes show off Banana Republic’s sense of humor. Layering bold text over a simplistic display of clothing items allows subscribers to preview merchandise with a can’t-miss joke. Scroll down and let the punchline lead you to the call-to-action (CTA) suggesting “we have the perfect gift for dad.” By adding humor to the campaign, Banana Republic creates a connection to their audience—everyone appreciates a good chuckle, softening them up to be more inclined to click through.

vineyard vines

Getting right to the point in this email campaign: They have “GIFTS FOR DAD”! To create a connection between brand and consumer, the founders added quotes and personal photos of what fatherhood means to them between merchandise. Who better to suggest gifts for Father’s Day than actual fathers? Subscribers can scroll to find categories for stereotypical dad-types with a structured hierarchy: Header, products, and then CTA. Easily find your dad’s category and start shopping! You can thank Shep & Ian for the recommendations.


Sophistication is an understatement when it comes to this email. Staying on brand, Burberry keeps a classic setup to remind its subscribers that Father’s Day is closing in, so you better shop their stylish merchandise. An added bonus: Free next-day shipping! Offering an incentive will increase the click-through rate, especially for those who are slacking. Next-day free shipping proves Burberry is a trusted brand that has your back in this urgent time of need. Did we mention the sophistication?


Again, we’re seeing categorized dad-styles to encourage you to shop specific items. However, Jacamo showcases products assembled together in an environment rather than itemized lists. This subtly allows the viewer to browse more merchandise. The sooner the buyer sees what item they need, the more prone they are to click-through and land in checkout. In one email, Jacamo proves they have every gift for every dad.

What else might you consider doing to dress up your Father’s Day promotions?

“Gift guides are a great option for retailers looking to ramp up sales for Father’s Day. Dads are hard to shop for, so giving your email recipients a look at a variety of items could be the spark they need to actually purchase a gift for him, from your store,” said Sednaoui.

Touch of Modern

“A gift guide is an essential email for any holiday, but especially for people who aren’t sure what to get dear old Dad on his special day. We like this guide because it organizes its gift guides by persona. Today’s email is for techie dads, with an unusual collection of products that you won’t find in other emails. Your gift guide also should highlight products your customers might never find or consider without your suggestions,” explained Sednaoui.

For more examples of exemplary emails, head over to MailChart’s Father’s Day page.

If your brand has good personalization insights like whether or not a recipient is a dad, a day-of “Happy Father’s Day” email without any call-to-action or sales push is a great touch. However, if you aren’t sure, don’t do it—a dad-centric email to a teenage girl is a bad look.

Overall, we expect to see more of the same marketing and creative tactics this year, but we’re excited to see if any of the new privacy regulation across the globe (we’re looking at you, GDPR) impacts 2018 sending frequency and volume. Will brands opt for fewer emails with a more targeted approach? We’ll update you with a look back on how Father’s Day 2018 shakes out here, so be sure to check back after the date. Plus, we’ll give you some pre-July 4 insights to help you optimize your campaigns soon, so don’t go too far.

Author: Alex Eilmann

Alex Eilmann is the senior designer at 250ok. She joined the company in its infancy, acquiring creative and email design best practices by being the driving force behind 250ok’s evolving visual brand.

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