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#OrchidsandOnions: Checkers Sixty60 delivers a perfect Mother's Day

It is easy to cynically regard Mother's Day as an invented holiday and a capitalist way of getting the sentimental and the gullible to part with their money.
A mother is suprised by her son for Mother's Day.
A mother is suprised by her son for Mother's Day.

It is all that…but it is also an opportunity to celebrate the people who really hold society together and for families to reconnect across the miles and even the oceans.

Loving phone call

I was reading somewhere that when surveyed, most mothers were not really interested in gifts on Mother’s Day. Most of them wanted some real “me time”, to be able to relax from the everyday grind of running a household (go on – tell me how many men run homes..) and raising kids.

Even more important, for those mums whose kids are living or working far away, the greatest gift is simply to chat to them. It was thus in our house over the weekend, when the phone calls from Cardiff and Oxford made up for the lazy husband who was, in any event, working…

Our daughter and son often send us gifts ordered online from South African outlets – obviating the risk of having a precious item bought overseas stolen somewhere on its route to, or in, South Africa. We do likewise with them on occasions like birthdays, when excellent sites in the UK – the ones which accept SA debit cards, that is – can deliver presents within days.

That is the thinking behind the Checkers Sixty60 ad for Mother’s Day, which I initially missed but then had to look up because so many women on social media were praising it.

Full experience

The reason for that is plain to see: The ad gets the emotion in the bond between child and mother exactly right.

We see three women sitting in a plain room in Cape Town , obviously unaware why they have been summoned. Their faces transform into joy as they are given phones and connected to their kids far away – from Sydney in Australia to Joburg in Gauteng.

They are all video calls, so the mums get the full experience. And then, to emphasise the love, each one is given a gift bag from Checkers Sixty60, obviously ordered from them by their children.

The reactions, because they are unscripted, are priceless.

It’s a great ad because it is sentimental without being over the top and it makes the point that you don’t only have to use Checkers Sixty60 to get groceries for yourself; you can use it to send someone else a little special gift…and have it delivered within 60 minutes.

Apart from putting out the call to action message for Mother’s Day, the ad also further burnishes Sixty60’s reputation as the go-to quick grocery delivery service. Checkers really does own that space – partly because it offers good service and partly because it doesn’t stint on marketing and advertising.

Orchids to Checkers Sixty60, it agency 99c and Juan Visser from Human Studio, who directed the spot.

Lets move with the times

Staying on the subject of Mother’s Day, it is plain that mothers just want a day off… and a lazy man like me basically ignored that using the man’s old excuse to his wife: Well, you’re not my mother.

My shortcomings as a husband notwithstanding and, at the risk of sounding hypocritical, I don’t think it is particularly clever for any brand – even one specialising in kitchen appliances – to remind a mum that she should be slaving over a hot stove.

#OrchidsandOnions: Checkers Sixty60 delivers a perfect Mother's Day

Yet, that is what Defy chose to do.

Its Mother’s Day execution features a mother and her child getting together to bake a special cake for her mother and the kid’s granny. In other words, what happens every single day in most houses.

How much better it would have been to show the Defy high-tech stove standing idle while Dad takes everyone out for lunch…or even with Dad himself using the Defy recipe to produce a stunningly surprising cake for his wife and her mother. Opportunity lost.

So, Defy, you get an Onion for not breaking the mould and, even unintentionally, reinforcing the belief that a woman’s place is in the kitchen.

About Brendan Seery

Brendan Seery has been in the news business for most of his life, covering coups, wars, famines - and some funny stories - across Africa. Brendan Seery's Orchids and Onions column ran each week in the Saturday Star in Johannesburg and the Weekend Argus in Cape Town.

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