Father’s Day and DNA Marketing: Removing the Stigma

Genealogy educator and author Thomas MacEntee analyses recent Father's Day Sales for DNA test kits and how DNA marketing has changed since 2015

In 2017, each of the major DNA test kit vendors are promoting a Father’s Day sale. But until just last year, the idea of tying the concept of DNA testing to anything paternal was practically verboten. So what has changed in the past 24 months?

The History of Father’s Day

While there are competing stories as to the origination of Father’s Day as a holiday here in the United States, it is generally accepted that the first instance was celebrated on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington. Sonora Smart Dodd created the observance on the third Sunday in June to honor men like her own father, a Civil War veteran. It was not until 1972 that Father’s Day was officially recognized as a national holiday here in the United States.

While Mother’s Day still garners most of the attention (celebrated the second Sunday in May here in the US), some form of a Father’s Day holiday is celebrated in many countries. Most, like the UK, Canada, and others mark the day on the third Sunday in June; other dates vary from March 14th in Iran to December 5th in Thailand.

The Maury Povich Factor: “You Are NOT The Baby’s Father”

A few weeks ago, as I planned some Father’s Day marketing campaigns for DNA Bargains and my other sites, some of my non-US based vendors were unaware of the phenomena of talk shows and DNA test “reveals” as entertainment. After locating a few video clips on YouTube, I had to explain how many in the US seemed to view DNA testing in terms of paternity. Mostly due to these views, in the past we’ve not seen DNA testing for genealogy marketed as a Father’s Day sale item. (And, by the way, who runs the DNA testing lab for the Maury Povich Show? None other than DNA Diagnostics, parent company of GPS Origins which sells DNA test kits marketed to the genealogy community.)

Father’s Day Marketing: From Predictable to Outrageous

The National Retail Federation has predicted Father’s Day 2017 spending here in the US at a record $15.5 billion dollars. Starting in the late 1930s, when men’s wear retailers began the “commercialization” of the holiday, most marketing was geared towards “Dad” things like tools, socks, and the ubiquitous electric shaver. During the 1970’s, when I was growing up, I always knew Father’s Day was upon us once I saw the commercials for electric shavers and cologne!

father's day vintage ad

Only in the past few years have we seen attempts at humor related to DNA and Father’s Day, often focusing on questionable paternity. Back in 2015, a PC Magazine article on gifts for Dad included this statement “P.S.: Seventy-eight bucks will buy you a quick DNA kit if you’re in the mood to double-check. Mom will never tell, that’s for sure!” And condom manufacturer Durex has been taking a snark approach towards Father’s Day as far back as 2006 (in print) and earlier:

condom manufacturer Durex has been taking a snark approach towards Father’s Day as far back as 2006

The Genetic Genealogy Market: 2015 vs. 2016 vs. 2017

What seems to be a watershed moment in marketing DNA for Father’s Day is the appearance of the sentimental Momondo clip (The DNA Journey) appearing on June 14, 2016. It also appears that during the same week Ancestry let loose with a volley of videos and ads related to DNA in general and specifically geared towards the Father’s Day holiday.

In June 2015, Ancestry launched its “Show Dad What He’s Made Of” campaign which was fairly low key compared to what we see in 2017 in print, television and digital media. In that same month, 23andMe was pushing its “Thanks Dad for the Great Genes” campaign a “A Father’s Day Ode to the Y-Chromosome.”

And a quick look at Google Trends for “dna father’s day” shows almost no action until May 2016.

More DNA Sales and Holidays in the Future?

My analysis shows that the DNA test kit market related to genealogy and family history is very competitive in 2017 and this competition will only increase with more vendors entering the market. No longer will we see major ad campaigns around Black Friday (November/December) and National DNA Day (April). It is likely we’ll see DNA sales all year round with a special push during National Family History Month (October).

In the meantime, check out all the Father’s Day 2017 sales on DNA test kits HERE listed at DNA Bargains.


PLEASE NOTE: The post content above contains affiliate links. This means I make a percentage of sales via these links. This does not INCREASE the price you pay as a consumer. It simply supplements my income so I can continue providing as much free genealogy content as possible through my “abundance model.”

Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statement.

Content and Images: All product content including images have been used by permission from the vendor.

©2017, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved

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