‘Dear Mrs. Claus’ ad campaign flips script to bring mothers to forefront


Image used with permission from Zulily.

A young girl shares a wish list not for the guy in the red suit, but for his wife, Mrs. Claus. In its latest ad campaign, Zulily is highlighting the true force behind the holiday season.

Omar Mettwely, Cub Reporter

“You better watch out / you better not cry / you better not pout / I’m telling you why / Mrs. Claus is coming to town.”

That’s right, it’s about time that someone recognized the work of Santa’s wife and not just jolly ol’ St. Nick’s or his elves.

A 30-second video posted Oct. 24 on YouTube promoting this idea has recently reached 10 million views as of Dec. 13 and has earned its own hashtag: #dearmrsclaus.

It starts out with tight closeups of three women of different backgrounds and ethnicities, each saying, “Dear Mrs. Claus.”

Then the camera pans to a tight shot of a young girl wearing her PJs and holding a toy rocket in her right hand. It zooms out to reveal that the girl is resting comfortably in the arms of her mother.

The voiceover continues:

“Dear Mrs. Claus, for centuries you’ve run this holiday.”

Then viewers see another closeup — this time, it’s of that mother’s fingers holding onto her phone and scrolling through toy items on the website, “Zulily,” while the voiceover resumes, “Tirelessly searching for that perfect gift, keeping the flame of every tradition.”

The spot, which has also been broadcast on several TV stations, ends with this final pitch:

“Thank you for being in every family and every heart. giving until you can’t give no more and giving again,” followed by a tight shot of a girl wearing a hoodie and saying, “Dear Mrs. Claus, thank you.”

Zulily, an online retailer based in Washington, teamed up with marketing company Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners [BSSP] to shed light on mothers and their behind the scene efforts to raise her children.

“This isn’t a new concept, but over the last few years — and especially now facing the current challenges of COVID — women really have a lot put on their shoulders, especially moms,” according to a statement from Nicole Michels McDonagh, BSSP’s group creative director. “This is a reality 365 days a year that is dialed up even more during the holidays.

“We wanted every woman who sees this work to feel acknowledged, appreciated and recognized, and hopefully men and women collectively will say, ‘It’s about time someone came out with this message.’ ”

Though many of the Sunny Hills students and staff were not aware of the Zulily ad campaign, upon sharing the video link with them and then their watching it, many agreed with its approach.

“I believe the design of this advertisement isn’t looking to push with the recent female empowerment but rather possibly to direct your attention toward women in general,” science teacher Jack Adams said. “Mrs. Claus asks people to focus on the often neglected women in their lives.”

Senior Alice Pham said Mrs. Claus serves as a symbol of encouragement for her.

“[She] is a symbol for the compassionate, hardworking individuals in our lives to emphasize that the viewer should be appreciative of the Mrs. Claus in their lives,” Pham said.

Despite being exposed to the online retailer, the senior doesn’t plan on checking on Zulily anytime soon.

“I am not too sure if I am convinced to purchase from this company because I wasn’t aware of the service being advertised other than a quick flash of the company name,” Pham said. “I do think that this is a meaningful commercial that on the surface may seem as though they are solely preaching female empowerment; however, it has more depth to it as well.”

Math teacher Dorothy Cheng offered a different take on the Mrs. Claus commercials.

“The commercial tries to make women seem like they are oppressed, and so they need a commercial to make them feel valued,” Cheng said. “I would have rather liked to see a commercial where men and women work together and use each other’s unique strengths to accomplish great things.”

Perhaps the math teacher may have offered Zulily its marketing strategy for the next holiday season: “Thank you, Mrs. and Mr. Claus.”

This story also appeared in the Dec. 14 print issue, which can be read here.