Brilliant Thanksgiving Marketing Campaigns Small Businesses Can Learn From

Creative Thanksgiving Marketing Campaigns

It’s time to rev up your creativity for your Thanksgiving marketing campaigns. If you need some inspiration to get the juices flowing, here are four fun (and smart) ways big brands have leveraged the holiday to get some buzz going.

REI #OptOutside

For the last four years,REI has opted to zig while everyone else zags. As an alternative to Black Friday sales mania, the brand takes the day off, and encourages everyone else to do the same. Each year the company decides not to participate in the Black Friday madness and closes all of its stores for the business the day after Thanksgiving. And they don’t stop there. REI invites people across the country to join them and say no to shopping on the biggest sale day of the year. Using the hashtag #optoutside, REI’s encourages their community to share how they spend their Black Friday outside instead.

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Coca-Cola’s Drinkable Place Cards

As a holiday-focused extension of Coca-Cola’s ongoing Share a Coke campaign, the brand touted the idea of drinkable place cards for your Thanksgiving dinner table. A little background here: The Share a Coke program lets buyers customize cans and bottles with people’s names, personal messages, and more. So, for Thanksgiving, Coca-Cola recommended using soda bottles with guests’ names on them as table place cards. It promoted the clever idea on social media via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Hotel Tonight’s Visit Don’t Stay

Travel website, HotelTonight, launched a campaign last year aimed at everyone who isn’t exactly looking forward to staying with family member during the holiday season. The campaign, dubbed “Visit, Don’t Stay” received praise for saying what everyone was already thinking – that visiting your family is great, but staying with them can be family overload. The campaign came to life through videos, still-images, and audio ads.

BarkPost’s Yappy Thanksgiving Eve

If you’re short on time, don’t underestimate the power of a holiday-themed email. To get everyone in the Thanksgiving mood last year, BarkPost sent an email the night before the big day. The email featured holiday-themed dog GIFs and videos, tips for what to and what not to feed your pup from your Thanksgiving feast, and other tips and tricks for bringing furry friends, people friends, and family together.

JetBlue’s How to Be a Thankful Traveler

JetBlue’s email campaign is a good example of how smart, emotion-grabbing content without any specials or deals can be just as effective at driving sales. The subject line, “Family, friends, food, and flying — all our favorite F words!” proved a well-played hook. And the email body was fun, shareable entertainment using common Thanksgiving themes: “Start stuffing your suitcase and dressing for the airport,” “Quit those other airlines cold turkey,” “Carve out time in your travel schedule.” JetBlue’s goal: keeping its brand top of mind right around the time that people book holiday travel.

Zappos’ Baggage Claim Game

In an effort to bring smiles to faces on the most stressful and frenzied travel day of the year (the day before Thanksgiving), the company created a baggage claim “wheel of fortune” for passengers on seven different American Airlines flights arriving in Houston. Zappos partnered with American Airlines to coordinate in-flight announcements, and when travelers picked up their bags off the conveyor belt, they won whatever prize block their bag landed on. The award-winning campaign succeeded by gaining national visibility, press coverage, and tons of social media buzz — in the form of 41 million media impressions and 2.4 million impressions across social media channels.

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