With Mother’s Day almost a month behind us, you may have already forgotten about the viral sensation, “World’s Toughest Job.” Thanks to the creativity of Mullen, I can guarantee you that your mom, most certainly, remembers the heartwarming message created for Cardstore. But in case you need a refresher: the most important—and world’s toughest—job has no breaks, and neither should your appreciation of mom. So, watch it again:
Now that the ingenuity of the ad has reminded you of just how much of a superhero your mom is, go give her a hug.
Although the video was met with admiration, “awws,” and a not-so-modest 20 million YouTube views, it did invite one inquiry. At bars, offices, and beer league basketball games across the nation, a common question emerged from the hushed whispers of dads: “Hey, what about us?”
While most advertisers wouldn’t suggest producing a campaign that ignores, and potentially offends, half of the population, Mullen was confronted with a rare paradox: this was actually a good problem to have.
A good problem? When is a problem ever a good thing? For Mullen, a point of criticism became an opportunity to replicate its viral success, with a little twist. In what many in the advertising industry would consider a bold move, the agency published a sequel to its original “World’s Toughest Job” video, with dads holding the title this time around.
Even though both of the ads were for the same client, American Greetings, Mullen positioned the videos in competition with one another, allowing for mom and dad to duke it out viral-style for the “World’s Toughest Job.” It’s a prize that most sane people wouldn’t fight for, but hey, that’s why we love our parents.
With just over a week until Father’s Day, the video is the perfect celebration of dads, with its all-too accurate depiction of fatherhood. The creative team over at Mullen wrote a sitcom-worthy script that is entirely realistic with a hint of comedy. But these aren’t actors; these are real people. And so is the overarching message: In real life, there’s no script for being a dad.
So, if you need to be convinced that there are more embarrassing fathers out there than your own, then watch these guys tell their children, “You’re not wearing no string bikini,” and “We can talk about this in an adult manner…it’s all good…in the hood.”
Both of the “World’s Toughest Job” videos are clever and heartfelt and should come with a warning label for moms and dads. Warning: what you are about to watch may cause watery eyes and runny noses. Yet the brilliance behind both of these viral knockouts is that while the campaigns may leave a lasting impression on mom or dad, they aren’t even the desired target audience but they buy into it anyways.
At the end of the day, advertising is all about branding and driving purchase decisions. But everyone should take a page from Mullen’s book: advertising and marketing can be transformed when selling takes a backseat to sincerity.
A flimsy, paper greeting card doesn’t compel the consumer to drive to the store on a rainy, Netflix-induced-coma kind of day, the message inside of it does. This element of uncertainty heightens the experience of both greeting cards and videos; as a reader and an audience, we never know what either may contain. However, there seems to be one consistency behind the cards we keep and the videos we actually watch in entirety: emotion.