Zales Starts 'Friend Your Mom' Movement

Friend-your-Mom-BNow that a significant subset of American women have fairly exhausted themselves trying to convince reluctant offspring to friend them on Facebook, Zales is hoping to spark more social-media love for mom.

The Dallas-based jewelry retailer wants people to access its Friend Your Mom app and share funny mom moments, earning a chance at gift-card prizes, or a three-carat diamond necklace. The digital effort also includes 15- and 30-second videos running on Zales’ YouTube channel, reminding people “that Mom loved you even through your awkward years -- bad hair, braces and all.”

A line of “Let Mom Shine” gift ideas and inspirational quotes are part of a Pinterest push. And it has tapped five mom bloggers to create content, including sharing about awkward maternal moments on social media. The campaign, from GSD&M in Austin, includes digital banners as well.

Zales is hardly the only marketer hoping to make money on ma this May 12: Mother’s Day is the second-biggest gifting holiday of the year, and while florists, restaurants, greeting-card companies and spas are all typically big beneficiaries, jewelry is expected to shine this year. A recent report from IBM -- based on 22 years of historical data as well as current saving, spending and digital trends -- predicts that jewelry will be the fastest-growing sector of retail in the second quarter, with sales climbing 11.4%.

Tiffany & Co., for example, is evoking the Art Deco age, creating a pendant and earrings from the Victoria collection, as well as bracelets of cultured freshwater pearls.

Last year, the National Retail Federation estimated that Americans spent $18.6 billion on Mother’s Day. And it’s a steadily expanding franchise: In addition to the many types of real moms (according to the U.S. Census Bureau, that’s 53% of women ages 15 to 44 and 81% of women ages 40 to 44, including 4.1 million new moms, 5 million stay-at-home moms, and 10.3 million single moms) more people are buying gifts for women who are merely mom-like. Last year, for example, of those who celebrated the holiday, 22.4% bought a gift for their wife, 10.5% for their daughter, 8.2% for their grandmother, 8.4% for their sister, 7.6% for a friend, and 2.1% for a godmother.

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