Thanksgiving is over, but it’s not too late to look at some of the best Thanksgiving ad campaigns from over the years. Thanksgiving is the one time of year when you can eat as much food as your heart desires without feeling guilty. You might decide to go for the mashed potatoes or even go straight for the turkey, but there is no doubt that you will be filling up on quite the feast each year!
Since this holiday is all about giving thanks, it’s the perfect time for brands to show their customers how much they care. Plus, once Thanksgiving is over, it’s time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Between all of the major deals and sales, it’s a critical time of year for advertising. Companies need to get the message out and convince customers to shop at their stores instead of the hundreds of other places having sales.
Here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving ads and campaigns from over the years.
Postmates’s “Friendsgiving on Demand” Campaign
This campaign centered itself around a trend that Postmates noticed. In addition to Thanksgiving, many people were holding “Friendsgivings” where they could celebrate and spend time with friends who felt like family. To appeal to this particular audience, Postmates compiled a list of holiday recipes that people could use for Friendsgiving events. The recipes were selected by real moms, not professional chefs, which added a sentimental aspect to the campaign. All of the ingredients needed were available “on-demand” from Postmates. Since this campaign launched, Friendsgiving has continued to increase in popularity, and more brands have tried to hop on the trend.
“Share a Coke” Drinkable Placecards
For Thanksgiving, Coca-Cola decided to expand upon its “Share a Coke” campaign. The Share a Coke program allows customers to customize bottles with people’s names. So Coca-Cola had the brilliant idea to encourage people to use Coke bottles as drinkable place cards for Thanksgiving dinner. Promoting this idea on multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter made the drinkable place cards a huge success.
REI’s #OptOutside Campaign – My Personal Favorite
In 2015, REI launched a campaign like no other. The company shut down all of its stores on the biggest shopping day of the year–Black Friday. Why would they do this?
Well, REI is a co-op which means that it’s more focused on the greater good of its employees and members than making a profit. REI also believes “A Life Outdoors is a Life Well Lived.” Using both of these ideas as touchpoints, REI launched a campaign using the hashtag #OptOutside. Instead of urging people to come to their stores and shop, they encouraged them to go outside and spend time with their friends and families. By doing this, the company was able to show its employees and members how much it cares.
REI didn’t just shut down its in-person stores; Nothing could be bought online either. Shutting down its stores both in-person and online allowed the brand to grab the public’s attention. The campaign went viral, with 1.4 million people using the hashtag #OptOutside to share photos of them outside instead of shopping. Through the success of this campaign, REI was able to establish long-term brand awareness and add 1 million new members to the co-op. REI’s brand message truly resonated with people through this campaign, which is why the brand still shuts down its stores every Black Friday.
An Important Time of Year For Advertising
As we can see by the success of these campaigns, Thanksgiving is a crucial time of year in the advertising industry. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday right after Thanksgiving, there are so many different angles advertisers can take. They can focus on Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving) like Postmates and Coca-Cola, or center their ads around Black Friday like REI did.
Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to start getting ready for Christmas! With the holidays finally here, we are all going to be trying to find the perfect gifts for our loved ones. Use ads to your advantage and find out what the best deals are this holiday season!
By: Grace Seymour