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5 Brands that really ‘get’ how to advertise to families

Advertising to a single audience is a tricky business at the best of times. Advertising to multiple generations is even harder.

Sometimes, just appealing to the kids in a family is enough to get the parents’ attention. But often, that’s just not enough—you have to appeal to the entire family, including across multiple generations.

It can be hard to stand out from the noise, too, and develop trust. But there’s lots of evidence of brands doing it right. Here are our Top 5!

1. McCain’s: Making it “real”

McCain’s Foods, a global food and French fries/potato specialties manufacturer, gets how food doesn’t just feed people. They believe it brings people together and shapes families.

So much so that they’ve invested about $4 million USD into their “We Are Family” ads, which included real families of diverse races, backgrounds, abilities, genders, etc. interacting with one another during mealtimes.

McCain’s was smart enough to follow recent research that suggests that there’s too much gender/family stereotyping in advertising, and created a campaign that applauds and supports diversity and inclusion.

Essentially, their message is clear: “It’s mealtimes that make a family”.

The reason it works is that the campaign is consistent with McCain’s longstanding mission and brand values. Their family focus isn’t new, but redefining what a family means is (and ensuring more people relate to their brand).

What did they gain? Awards, but of also a big improvement in a number of brand metrics (brand meaning and perception, as well as differentiation).

Check out their Here’s to love and We Are Family 2018 and 2019 ads.

HP: Real to reel

McCain’s aren’t the only ones paying attention to “real” families. HP did something very similar with real families in Chicago for their 2018 “All American” campaign to break down the suggestion the All American family is a white mother and father and kids.

The result? Tons of media attention (and HP’s focus on diversity and inclusion) and an impressive 48% purchase intent for their printers.

2. Lego: Supporting families by involving the kids

COVID-19 has been tough on everyone, including advertisers. Family-friendly LEGO broke through the noise and stepped up during lockdown with their #letsbuildtogether campaign.

They not only created videos with incredible and fun builds but also packaged them into beautiful videos (with STEM experts) that encouraged others—they developed a slick landing page and split-audience website (children and parents). Parents can go shop on one side, and kids can get ideas to play on the other.

The website offers kids colouring pages, builds, LEGO sets, and activities for families to learn and play together during the pandemic.

Oh, and that’s not all: they also showed their commitment to families through the campaign by donating $50 million to support underprivileged kids by supporting access to learning through play.

The result? More than 4 billion views on YouTube, social media shares and lots of creative minds fired up! (That means serious loyalty!)

Check out the video and website.

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3. Delta Airlines: Going for cute

Delta Airlines, one of the world’s largest airline brands (if not the largest), hits the high notes with its super-cute ads, often using children to pull at the heartstrings.

Their Shared Humanity ads show the world through the eyes of babies, toddlers, and slightly older children—an absolute hit with families.

But there’s more than just cuteness to these ads. They use great tactics of emotional marketing by reminding us of how much we have in common, rather than what divides us.

And isn’t that something all parents have in common?

Recently, they managed to break through the noise (and recent social media grumbling) with an Election Day ad.

The ad aims to find “the uncommon common ground” and fit in perfectly with their “bringing the world closer together” campaigns—while at the same time, letting families dream of a more unified tomorrow.

Their ads frequently win awards and get the attention of the media.

Check out the family-friendly Close the Gap campaign and earlier Happy Father’s Day ads.

4. Tesla: Use the buzz

You wouldn’t usually put Tesla and advertising together in the same sentence—it’s a brand that’s never needed to… but that doesn’t mean they don’t appeal to families.

Tesla broke the mold as the only automobile manufacturer that’s never used traditional advertising. (There’s more demand than supply of their cars, and with Elon Musk at the helm, it’s little wonder they’re doing things their own way.)

Tesla relies on its brand reputation and fanatically loyal customer base as word-of-mouth advertising. And when it comes to families, Tesla’s still reaching out in unconventional ways.

Tesla is ultra-cool, but don’t think they don’t have appeal with children. In fact, they have a range of children’s products that—unless you have a Tesla—you may not have noticed.

When they launched their Model S for kids, they knew that this product would strike home at the heart of both children and their Tesla-owning parents.

Parents got super involved by tweeting home videos and pictures of their kids and the entire family enjoying the Model S for kids.

And if you’re not convinced that Tesla is creating a snug little space as a family brand, check out how customers call the Tesla Model S the “ultimate” family car. And just imagine how cool the falcon doors of the Tesla Model Y  look to kids.

Is their strategy working? You bet.

Check out some of the home videos and tweets for the kids’ version of Model S.

5. Disney World: Multigenerational advertising on every level

It was a clever move for Disney World to its Grand Adventure campaign, targeting children AND their grandparents (and by extension, parents!). They’d done their research on the grandparent travel market!

The Grand Adventure campaign reaches out to children of all ages (!) and encourages families—specifically, grandparents—to enjoy a vacation to the multi-generational theme park together.

And Disney World is ready: there are now several attractions that will allow grandparents to share some of the joys and icons of their childhood, for example, with the retro-Dumbo ride and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

That’s one multigenerational campaign that’s yielded dividends. Not only does Disney World reap the benefits, but they make it easier for travel agencies to actually sell their products to a new audience segment. Smart!

They also invited comments from grandparents to share their adventures of Disney World with their grandkids.

Check out the cute “Grand Adventure” campaign.

There’s more where that came from…

We hope you’ve enjoyed some of the innovative and creative ways these brands are advertising to families—and more importantly, how they’re getting it right. Even without traditionally family-focused products, these brands are able to understand the zeitgeist, leverage their reputation, use emotional marketing, and get really creative in reaching out to families and new segments.

And now it’s over to you: how could you revamp your advertising to market your brand to children and parents?

Looking for more great ideas? Check out our blog article on Marketing to Busy Women and Advertising to Millennial Parents. And to find out how to reach families in the REC Media network, please contact us today. And if you’ve enjoyed this email, why not sign up to our email list to receive the next one in your inbox?

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RENATA MCMANN

As the Senior Accountant, Renata’s responsibilities include reconciling account balances and bank statements, maintaining general ledger and assist with tax returns.

Renata works hard to oversee general accounting operations by controlling and verifying the financial transactions, in an effort to ensure accuracy and effectiveness in all of Rec Media’s accounting tasks.

Originally from Prague, Czech Republic – Renata has close to 20 years of accounting experience with a thorough knowledge of accounting principles to analyze financial reports and forecasts.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Renata hanging out with her three boys (mostly in hockey arenas) or enjoying Canada’s beautiful forests and scenery.

KAREN MECKELBORG

As a member of the leadership team, Karen helps set direction for Rec Media’s business development. Her background in business strategy, with expertise in sales and marketing, makes her contributions focused on the company’s brand integrity, customer relationships, client innovations, and partnership development.

Previous experience includes business development and sales/marketing management with a variety of companies, including CTV, RedPoint Media, and Canada Wide Media. She now runs a successful consulting practice and is proud to include Rec Media as a favorite.

Karen is happiest working with a team, guiding everyone toward the corporate vision. Her career and life journey has taken her from Saskatoon to Toronto, then Calgary, Vancouver, and now back in Calgary where she spends most of her time with her large, exuberant, very active, and extremely close circle of family and friends.

CHRISTOPHE LECOMTE

Christophe is a Financial and Operational Consultant/Entrepreneur who is skilled at navigating organizations through change, achieving increased efficiencies and bottom line results. Christophe is an engaging entrepreneurial team-builder combining strategic, analytical and creative approaches to solution development and implementation.

His specialties include mergers and acquisitions, financing, process reengineering, forecasting and budgeting, Management Practices, Communications, Performance Improvement, Strategic Planning, Change Management, Mentoring & Coaching Staff, Radio and TV Broadcast Media operations and Team building.

DAVID SEDGWICK

David Sedgwick is a managing director with Balmoral Wood Alternatives which designs, invests in and manages global alternative investment strategies.

David has an extensive background in capital deployment and management related to real estate, infrastructure, energy and non-correlated alternative asset categories, as well as general corporate finance expertise across a variety of mid-market manufacturing, services, real estate, energy and alternate asset industries.

David is actively interested in alternative investment opportunities for institutional grade investors.

AMANDA PLOUGHMAN

Amanda has extensive experience in both media strategy and broadcasting, with a solid track record of leading businesses and teams through complex environments. Amanda is skilled in Digital Strategy, Integrated Marketing, Advertising, and Business Development; and has held senior leadership roles in organizations such as Cossette, MediaCom and Shaw Communications.

She is a savvy industry veteran who intimately understands the needs of both advertisers and consumers.

STEFAN DANIS

Stéfan is Chief Talent Officer & CEO at Mandrake Human Capital which operates in the Search, Career Transition, Leadership Development, and Onboarding/Executive Acceleration.

Mandrake has recruited more than 10,000 executives in Canada and is one of the country’s largest firm in its sector. A graduate from McGill University, he started his career as a marketer at Procter & Gamble before joining Mandrake as a Consultant. He became Partner in 1991, and CEO in 1999. He is also is Executive Director of IMD, Mandrake’s 30 country strong global partnership.

Stéfan has led hundreds of executive engagements in Finance, Sales, HR, Marketing, Communications, and Strategy for various service, not-for-profit, and manufacturing companies.

He is an expert on the issues surrounding the changing face of human capital in today’s market, and a leader in creating and structuring competitive advantages for clients.

BRIAN TAMKE​

As Account Manager and Venue Partnerships, Brian consults directly with businesses to grow their brands and reach the communities they serve through our recreational facility network and advertising platforms. Additionally, Brian works with our venues to ensure the highest level of long-term success for both our clients and venue partners.

Originally from Saskatchewan, Brian has called Calgary home for over 30 years, most of which in the Calgary media landscape in radio broadcasting, print, OOH, and digital advertising.  Brian's knowledge of our venue audience and expertise in advertising platforms, campaign planning and brand development is a valuable resource for our clients.

Brian and his wife, Joy, have two teenage boys that keep them entertained.  When Brian's not working, you’ll still find him at the local rink enjoying his kid's hockey games, spending a weekend away camping or playing golf at the nearest golf course!

MIRZA GHALIB

As Retail Account Manager, Calgary & Area, Mirza helps brands connect with their local community in recreational facilities.

Mirza works hard to ensure that he fulfills his client’s key marketing communications ethos day in and day out.
Prior to immigrating to Canada, Mirza obtained an MBA in Marketing & Sales from Amity Business School and worked with companies throughout India, UAE and Mauritius, managing advertising campaigns at various levels across the OOH and traditional media domain.

When Mirza is not working, you’ll find him travelling the world with his wife, playing cricket, watching Lawn Tennis and sharpening his singing skills.

JEFF YOUNG

As the VP of Sales, National, Jeff oversees the Rec Media sales team and works directly with corporate and agency accounts to grow their brands strength and integrity in the community recreational facility landscape.  He’s passionate about helping businesses uniquely connect with local communities in over 5,000 facilities across Canada.

Jeff grew up on a farm in Southern Alberta, has an MBA from the University of Calgary, and has 20 years’ experience leading sales teams within the broadcasting, digital media, and software industries.

When Jeff’s not working, you’ll find him boating with his wife and three kids, working on his classic Mustang fastback or playing a tune on the piano.

TAYLOR GIBB

As the Accounting Clerk, Taylor’s responsibilities include collecting and posting accounts receivable invoices, verifying and processing accounts payable, as well as assisting in daily accounting operations.

Originally from Mountain View, Alberta – Taylor graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelors of Commerce majoring in Accounting. When she’s not working, you can find Taylor enjoying the outdoors with her husband, riding horses on her family ranch or curled up with a good book.

ALLIE PENTLAND

As Operations Team Lead, Allie is responsible for overseeing the execution of advertising campaigns by liaising with both the client and recreational facilities that the advertising is placed in.

Allie works hard to ensure that clients’ media requirements are accurately and timeously executed; while developing and maintaining key relationships with recreation facilities across Canada.

Allie was born and raised in Calgary and graduated from the University of Victoria with a major in Sociology and minor in Business. While in University, Allie studied abroad in Utrecht, The Netherlands. When she’s not working, you can find her on the Padel courts, watching movies, or traveling.


RENATA MCMANN

As the Senior Accountant, Renata’s responsibilities include reconciling account balances and bank statements, maintaining general ledger and assist with tax returns.

Renata works hard to oversee general accounting operations by controlling and verifying the financial transactions, in an effort to ensure accuracy and effectiveness in all of Rec Media’s accounting tasks.

Originally from Prague, Czech Republic – Renata has close to 20 years of accounting experience with a thorough knowledge of accounting principles to analyze financial reports and forecasts.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Renata hanging out with her three boys (mostly in hockey arenas) or enjoying Canada’s beautiful forests and scenery.


ASHLEY GRANT

As a Media Project Coordinator, Ashley works on liaising with clients and various recreation facilities to help businesses reach the communities they serve.

Ashley works hard to ensure that the client is completely satisfied with the end result and the advertisement looks exactly how they pictured.

Originally from Birmingham, England – Ashley has one year of experience in the media advertising industry.
When he’s not working, you’ll find Ashley working out, playing hockey or just about every other sport.


SYLVIE LAFAVE

As the Ski Advertising Sales Consultant for the Quebec region, Sylvie helps local businesses connect with desirable audiences in some of Canada’s most sought after ski resorts.

Originally from St-Sauveur, Quebec, Sylvie has spent many years on the ski hills (since she was 3 years old!) and knows her territory all too well. Her 20+ years in the sales and marketing field has enabled her to understand the specific needs for each of her clients.

When she is not working you will find her at the many sporting competitions (soccer, skiing and volleyball to name a few) her four children are involved in! She likes to ski, go for walks in the woods with her hubby and enjoys a delicious latte to kick start her day!


DIANNA CALDER FARNHOLTZ

As the Senior Account Manager for Calgary and the surrounding areas, Dianna’s primary objective is to help businesses reach and connect with desirable audiences in community sports and recreation environments.

Dianna works hard to ensure that she has an understanding of her client’s business needs in an effort to determine their best fit to fulfill their campaign marketing goals.

Originally from Edmonton, Alberta – Dianna has over 20 years of sales experience across a variety of industries.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Dianna traveling to tropical destinations and indulging in her favorite pastime, paddle boarding. She also loves to be creative, painting with acrylics or just relaxing with a good book and a nice glass of wine.


MARY K LALLY

As the VP of Sales, Eastern Canada, Mary K works with corporate advertising agencies and clients in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Having worked in the out-of-home advertising space for 20 years she understands the effectiveness of the medium and recognizes that Rec Media provides advertisers with a unique advantage to “give back” to communities!

Mary K is passionate about building relationships and developing partnerships within the industry. By promoting Rec Media’s community recreational network and providing corporate social responsibility solutions to marketers across Canada she is excited for what the future will bring.

Mary K is truly living the Rec Media story. She loves to ski with her family, play basketball in the driveway and spends the majority of her winter in hockey arenas across the GTA watching her son work towards his NHL dream!


JUDY BELL

As the Office Manager/EA, Judy provides administrative support to the CEO as well as the entire team. Judy juggles everything from people to pens; and uses her extensive experience and organizational skills help keep the Rec Media engine running! In addition to organizing meetings, training sessions and other team events; she assists the IT and Accounting Department with various daily tasks.

Judy’s experience and many years with the company enable her to effectively assist the team and ensure they have everything they need. Needless to say; she has become the natural go-to for her colleagues.

Originally from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan – Judy’s prior experience has primarily been in Retail Management.

When she’s not working, you’ll find Judy spending time with her family, attending live performances or creating her own fun!


TROY SEDGWICK

As President and CEO, Troy’s role touches on just about everything in the organization. A serial entrepreneur, he loves (much to the chagrin of his staff) to have his fingers in everything!

Thankfully, over the years he’s gotten much better at empowering and trusting the capable people on his team to do the job they were hired to do. He still manages to keep a pulse on and provide insight on all things marketing, sales, operations, IT and even accounting – just from a little farther distance than before. Troy works hard to ensure that his oversight and guidance resources and supports everyone in their role, without crossing over into the realms of micromanagement, nor abdication.

Originally born in La Belle Province (Montreal), and having spent several of his younger years in southwestern Ontario (Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto), Troy now resides full-time in Calgary, with frequent trips between the Calgary head office and Rec Media’s offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Troy has had the privilege of residing in all four of the great Canadian cities where our offices are located.

With almost 25 years’ experience in the marketing and advertising industry, Troy frequently jokes that he “started when he was 12”. But he loves the industry and wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.

When Troy is not working, you’ll find him out swimming or riding his bike, or just hanging out with his wife and 3 kids eating great food and drinking even better wine (hence the need for the biking and swimming!), and tackling the never ending list of amazing places to see and visit on this beautiful planet.