Thanksgiving has become a watershed day for marketing strategy and retail marketing. As holiday marketing becomes more and more prevalent earlier in the season, it’s easy for brands marketing for Thanksgiving to get lost in the shuffle.
According to the 2011 AllRecipes.com holiday survey, 82% of consumers surveyed think Thanksgiving has been drowned out by early Christmas marketing. So what have brands been doing do to get their Thanksgiving campaigns noticed? The five great examples here offer some insight into the marketing trends that have resonated with consumers this year.
1) Inspiration Meets Visualization: “Best Thanksgiving Ever”
Recognizing the rise of the tablet and smartphone as an essential Thanksgiving planning tool, three big brands teamed up for the Pinterest sweepstakes “Best Thanksgiving Ever”. AllRecipes.com, Better Homes and Gardens and Campbell’s have been encouraging consumers to pin their turkey day plans, recipes and ideas for a chance to win $5000.
This is a fascinating campaign, not just because it acknowledges the obvious trends in visual marketing, gadgets, Facebook and Pinterest. It also acknowledges that we may pick up our tablet or phone to look for an online video recipe or visual recipe board (before before calling home for advice). This is a huge shift in Thanksgiving attention, and opens up a host of marketing opportunities for the smart marketing strategist. In fact, both AdAge and the 2012 AllRecipes.com Measuring Cup survey points out that Thanksgiving Day is becoming a force to be reckoned with for online shopping, in many cases edging out Black Friday.
2) Marching Marketing Offline: “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”
No Thanksgiving marketing strategy list would be complete without a nod to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This is one for brands with deeper pockets, to be sure, but participating in the Macy’s annual parade is one way to get your brand recognized offline. Millions of viewers tune in each year to see the parade, and the sponsored balloons and floats that come with it, while they gather for their Thanksgiving feasts. In fact, the parade sees over 3 million people on the ground, with over 50 million tuned in last year to watch at home.
3) A Subtle Stand Leads the Way: “Nordstrom One Holiday At A Time”
Each year Nordstrom increases its online awareness in the build up to Thanksgiving by the simple act of placing a sign in their stores indicating that they won’t be decorating for Christmas until the Friday after Thanksgiving. In November 2011, the simple sign gained them 16,000 shares on Facebook in the first 24 hours: a pretty good return on a simple gesture.
The signs read: “At Nordstrom, we won’t be decking our halls until Friday, November 23rd. Why? Well, we just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving. Nordstrom will be closed Thanksgiving Day. On Friday, our doors will open to welcome the new season.”
4) Taking The Brand To The Consumer: “Butterball Cookbook Plus”
In keeping with the trend toward getting advice right in your pocket instead of calling Mom or Grandma, Butterball created an app called Butterball Cookbook Plus. Packed with recipes, tips, categories, mix-and-match recipe ideas, timers, voice controls and more, the app complements Butterball’s existing phone hotline. Not content to stop there, Butterball has also been reaching customers via Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Live Chats on their website.
5) Brand Awareness Meets Public Safety: “Shatner On Turkey Fryer Safety”
For this last campaign we’re bringing back an ad from 2011 from State Farm, designed to raise consumer awareness of the fire dangers that surround careless use of turkey fryers. Teaming up with William Shatner, an Internet favorite, State Farm released a video about fryer safety that starred both Shatner and their own AVP, Joe Strupek. The Thanksgiving marketing campaign was a hit on YouTube and on Twitter under the hashtag #ShatnerFryersClub
Honorable Mention: Integrating Social Media, Sweepstakes, and Charitable Giving: “Dream Receipts”
Kohl’s department stores are running a multi-faceted campaign centered around a sweepstakes called “Dream Receipts”, where the department store chain will pay the entire bill of one lucky customer each day for the month-long period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Combining the two holidays gives Kohl’s a chance to incorporate a variety of other supporting campaigns for a multifaceted marketing approach. From being able to choose a dream gift via Facebook likes, to pinning and sharing boards on Pinterest, mobile marketing (including free WiFi in all stores), Toys for Tots donations based on Facebook fans and more, Kohl’s is blanketing the airwaves this season.
There are a variety of ways your business can leverage a “one holiday at a time” approach to your marketing to appeal to consumers. So how will you be approaching the rest of the holidays?
Image: JeffreyW (Creative Commons)