Friday, March 21, 2008

Beyond Santa & the Bunny - Mall Marketing Plan for Father's Day

Last year I wrote on this topic of how it is odd to me that people go to the mall to visit the Easter Bunny. Unlike Santa Clause, there just simply doesn't seem like there would be any thing to talk about with the Easter Bunny, frankly there more mythology associated with the tooth fairy then with the Easter Bunny, and sitting on the lap of who-knows-who's-under-there simply is creepy.

Yet, I was thinking that especially with Easter being early this year, the malls of America might be trying to think of similar ways to market themselves and bring people into the mall to visit with and sit with another person/animal that represents another holiday.

Then it struck me -- Father's Day! While I am and have been very blessed to have a great dad (and hope to be a great dad as well), I continually encounter kids and adults who struggled with distant fathers. Some fathers where absent as a result of heavy issues like drugs, alcohol, abuse, jail. While others might have been distant because of a divorce, re-marriage, blended family situation. Or maybe they were business travelers or workaholics. The likely-hood of dismal fathering is certainly prevalent in the United States.

Again, I'm thankful for my father and certainly would never visit "a stand-in Father at a mall" but I wonder if there would be a marketing draw to have a generic Father fill in at the mall for kids (or parents) to visit.

I'm not really sure what that interaction would look like, and while I am strongly against the idea of many children coming to sit on some strange man's lap, I wonder about the practical variations of a "Visit a Father campaign" at a Mall. For many people there Father is as the Easter bunny, so this all seems plausible to me.

I could see the Mall-Father being of a number of varieties and appearances, it would probably take some trial and error to create the ideal Mall-Father. But I could see the Father sitting at a desk where the mall visitor could pull up a chair and tell the Dad what was going on in his or her life. I could also see the dad reclined in a chair with mustard stains on a white t-shirt watching TV while the mall visitor got to blast the Father for whatever ill and harm their real father had done to them.

And then I realized that there's always the opportunity for a photo with the Easter Bunny or Santa. Why not the chance for a photo-shoot with the stand in Dad. Families who's distant or absent Father isn't or has never been around for a family photo could come up the mall and get a Family photo or Father-daughter/Father-son photo shoot.

The possibilities are endless. But remember, mall marketing departments bring in Santa Clause and Easter Bunny to drive up mall traffic, and while there may be debate over whether everyone will get behind the idea, it's not like there is not disapproval by some over Santa Clause or the Easter why not? right.


Dad said...

That's weird man. I doubt it will happen. There could however be some computer program that lets you "insert" a father into your family pictures. I guess they could set up a photo booth in the mall.

Or maybe a mannequin.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You are a strange dude :-) I don't know if I should be laughing or concerned as your wife...

I look forward to reading your Mom's comments on this one ;-)

Anonymous said...

I can actually see your Dad working as one of these "Mall Fathers".

He'd be great.

Anonymous said...

haha that would be sessions with fathers. It would probably be an epic change for malls worldwide.