Retailers Embrace ‘Dadcore’ Stereotypes to Combat Father’s Day Spending Pullback

boy not laughing at dad's joke

As Father’s Day approaches, retailers are seizing on different paternal stereotypes to drive engagement and sales, from dad jokes to “dadcore” style to that tangle of unidentified, no-longer useful cables that so many dads seem to be unwilling to part with.

Panera, for its part, is rewarding consumers’ best and worst dad jokes with a sweepstakes that began Monday (June 10), per a company announcement. Participants enter by following Panera on Instagram and commenting on the brand’s Father’s Day post with their groan-worthy jokes, and the restaurant chain is rewarding 50 entries with a $25 Panera gift card.

“Dads are known for their love, support, and, of course, their legendary sense of humor (or lack thereof),” the press release stated. “To honor these champions of the pun, Panera Bread is asking fans to engage on social media and share their best (or worst) dad jokes for a chance to win a Panera gift card to treat your dad.”

Burger King, meanwhile, is going for the “dadcore” aesthetic, having announced via its social media channels earlier this week the launch of a tacky, loose-fit, short-sleeve button-down shirt emblazoned with Burger King products.

“To kick off grilling season, we’re celebrating the real grill masters. get your father figure our limited-edition dadcore shirt, because every king deserves a ? ?,” the quick-service restaurant (QSR) giant posted on X (the social media platform formerly known as Twitter) last Saturday (June 8).

Staples is marking Father’s Day with a promotion poking fun at the clutter of outdated cables that the cliched father might accumulate. From May 20 through June 10, the retailer invited shoppers to recycle old cables, cords and other tech items that would typically be difficult to dispose of at Staples stores nationwide at no cost. Participants were entered into a sweepstakes to win a limited-edition “Cable” Knit Sweater Vest, a garment woven from actual recycled cables.

“Literally crafted from cords woven into the fabric, you can give dad the ultimate statement piece he’ll actually want to wear, ensuring he can keep the cables he loves close to his heart,” the retailer said in a press release.

In Burbank, California, IKEA is looking to take advantage of consumers’ demand to find fun, special family experiences for the holiday to drive loyalty program signups and bring consumers into the store. The retailer’s location in the city is hosting a ticketed Father’s Day brunch with a live mariachi brand for members of its IKEA Family program.

These moves come as brands look to keep up consumers’ engagement in spite of an overall environment of more conservative spending. In fact, consumers are projected to reduce their Father’s Day spending this year compared to previous years. The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that last year, Americans reached record-breaking holiday expenditures. However, for this year, the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics’ annual survey anticipates a slight dip in Father’s Day spending, estimating it to drop by roughly $500 million. Additionally, the average expected spending per person is seeing a moderate decline to $189.81, down from $196.23 last year.

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