Holiday marketing can be tricky: The competition for limited consumer attention seems even steeper this time of year, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of false sentiments your audience will most likely see through, running the risk of putting them off of your brand.
We rounded up the best Thanksgiving campaigns we came across this year that tapped into something different, or tapped into sentiment and charity in a truly genuine way.
Got a question or something we missed? Find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics.
Stove Top Stuffing gets goofy
Stuffing is a mainstay of Thanksgiving, but Stove Top decided to really mix things up this year when they could have stuck with some pretty traditional marketing tactics. Instead, they released an ad in the style of everyone’s favorite late-night informercials, featuring some real Stove Top Thanksgiving Dinner Pants you can actually buy:
Or you could, if they weren’t already sold out. According to Marketing Dive:
“To make up for the supply shortage, Stove Top is offering downloads of a branded holiday card on the site and encouraging owners of the pants to share their look on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #Thanksgivingdinnerpants.”
Those who did manage to score a pair of the pants are indeed sharing their holiday fashion fortune:
— Kerrie Adler (@KerrieAdler) November 21, 2017
The verdict on this campaign as a whole? It’s goofy and pitch-perfect for the season with the right amount of self-awareness of the American public’s love of making fun of our own ability to overeat, especially around the holidays. If Stove Top is smart, they’ll also capitalize on the UGC from fans and followers who managed to purchase the pants and are using the hashtag accordingly.
Pick n’ Save does sentimental just right
Pick n’ Save stores, located in Wisconsin, took a risk on tapping into the sentimental this Thanksgiving— and that risk paid off in a sweet ad that reminds viewers that Thanksgiving is all about family, no matter what kind of family yours is (with the subtle reminder that they also have whatever you need to make whatever it is your family wants to eat).
They’re also reinforcing the family message by using the same ad to remind followers that their store closes early on Thanksgiving Day so their employees can enjoy Thanksgiving too.
We wish you and your families a happy Thanksgiving!
Stores close at 3 pm Thanksgiving Day so our employees can enjoy time with family, too. pic.twitter.com/W76lQSsBBh
— Pick 'n Save (@PicknSaveStores) November 20, 2017
Consumers increasingly want to do business with brands whose values match their own, but brands sometimes fail to communicate their values in an authentic way which has the opposite effect on their target audience. Pick n’ Save nailed this one, however, both with its ad and how they reinforced it- and subsequently their brand values- across social.
Wild Turkey gives back
Wild Turkey is bourbon and therefore does not actually have anything to do with turkeys, but this year they capitalized on the name association as well as tapping into some star power with their brand ambassador (and Creative Director) Matthew McConaughey, passing out turkeys to every family in their hometown of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky in a surprise act of charity.
#MatthewMcConaughey and 250 volunteers helped us deliver a @butterball turkey, to every family in our hometown – 4,500 birds in total. Thank you, Lawrenceburg, for supporting us for over 100 years. #WildTurkeyGivesBack https://t.co/jgEGe3oUSO
— Wild Turkey (@WildTurkey) November 20, 2017
Launching this campaign on the association of “turkey” might have been a weak move, but launching it to give back to the town where they’ve had their distillery for over 100 years makes a lot of sense. As the ad covers, they also donated turkeys to the local food bank and nursing home, as well as donating Thanksgiving meals to families in need.
The boost in star power from McConaughey mixed with a little social media marketing savvy doesn’t hurt in boosting the reach of this campaign either. According to Marketing Dive:
“McConaughey teased the mission on his Facebook page and streamed parts of it on Facebook Live, attracting real-time interest from fans. Wild Turkey’s also pushed shorter snippets on its social media channels and, so far, the full YouTube video’s hit nearly 23,000 views in just one day, reaching #40 on the platform’s trending section at press time.”
Brands have to be careful that their charitable actions come across as sincerely motivated and well-fitted to the brand. In this case, Wild Turkey hit all the right notes and boosted the reach of the campaign by partnering with Butterball for the actual donated turkeys and tapping into the appeal and reach of their celebrity influencer.
We wrote about DSW’s campaign tapping into their brand values to share why they’re closing on Thanksgiving Day (but still opening for Black Friday) in a recent post. The Marketing Dive piece that covers the Stove Top and Wild Turkey campaigns also highlights one from GE that involves a dancing Snapchat turkey, and this Adweek piece is collecting holiday ads in case you want to get out in front of the rest of the holiday advertising as it rolls out.
You can also check in with us weekly as we write about the Campaigns We Love.
(And let us know if you need help measuring your brand’s holiday marketing efforts.)