Thanksgiving 2019 is delivering a plate-full of possibilities — for marketers, that is. From strategic partnerships to innovative campaigns to an expected $143.7 billion in digital ad spend between November and December, marketers are proving their eagerness to make every day count leading up to Thanksgiving and throughout the remainder of the holiday season.
A Shorter Holiday Season Results In Earlier Thanksgiving Promotion
2019 marks the shortest holiday season since 2013, with only 26 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. According to Adobe, Thanksgiving falling on its latest possible date leaves almost $1 billion in revenue behind. “However, retailers are able to make that up by starting sales earlier this year. Thanksgiving will grow at 20%,” the computer software company added.
The shortened season still has some companies in a panic. Toymaker Hasbro Inc. told investors it’s “teaming up with stores to increase demand in a holiday season that has six fewer shopping days than last year.” Other brands are relying heavily on technology and online sales as a means to promote their holiday offerings and provide ease for shoppers.
Walmart, for example, is helping encourage shoppers to get an earlier start this year by beginning some online seasonal promotions as soon as October 25. The retailer also introduced a digital gift-finder, which allows customers to search for potential presents through a scannable toy catalog. “We’ve been through this before; even though every season is unique, it’s not the first time we’ve dealt with this,” said Steve Bratspies, Chief Merchandising Officer for Walmart Inc., on the shortened holiday season.
Ultimately, losing six days between Thanksgiving and Christmas isn’t putting too much of a damper on holiday spending plans, with the average shopper expected to spend $1,047.83 this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Brands Seek Out Innovative Ideas And Meaningful Partnerships For This Year’s Thanksgiving Festivities
No matter the shopping timeframe, marketers are notoriously creating initiatives around Thanksgiving that bring people together, promote charitable events and tug at consumers’ heartstrings — 2019 is no different:
Fathom Events is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the hit TV show, Friends, by bringing eight Thanksgiving-themed episodes of the iconic series to movie theaters across the U.S. Titled "FRIENDSGIVING,” the campaign will run between November 24th and 25th, giving fans the chance to re-live some of their favorite moments from the hit show. "Fans showed up in full force for our initial Friends screenings, so we know there is demand for more," said Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt. "We're excited to put eight classic episodes on the big screen for fans to celebrate with their friends, just in time for Thanksgiving."
Bite Squad – a popular food delivery app – is taking the charitable approach to Thanksgiving this year, delivering free Thanksgiving meals to local families in need through its “Share Thanksgiving” food drive campaign. “Our goal is to ensure no one in our community goes hungry this Thanksgiving,” said Craig Key, VP of Marketing for Bite Squad. “If we can play a part in spreading a little bit of joy — even if it’s just in a small way like bringing them a hot meal, it’s worth it.”
For the 47th consecutive year, Boys and Girls Club of America will host its free community Thanksgiving Dinner. In 2018, the organization served roughly 360 sit-down meals and delivered an additional 350 meals.
Fleet Feet, a running shoes and apparel store, teamed up with Brooks Running to create "The Gobbler," a limited edition Thanksgiving and Turkey Trot-themed running shoe. Prior to the launch, consumers can enter a sweepstakes through the Fleet Feet Rewards App for a chance to win one pair of the limited edition shoe and a private "Friendsgiving" dinner.
Black Friday Is Already On The Minds Of Marketers
Just as the last serving of Turkey leaves the plate, Black Friday is in full swing. Marketers know preparation for Black Friday is equally as important as creating a stellar Thanksgiving campaign. Big name companies like Old Navy, New York & Company and Macy’s have already shared their plans to open their stores on Thanksgiving day and remain open nonstop until 11pm on Black Friday in order to get a head start on the holiday shopping madness. While online sales for Thanksgiving Day are expected to hit $4.4 billion, Black Friday online sales are expected to bring in an even more impressive number, potentially reaching $7.5 billion. Overall, this year’s Cyber Week (Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday) will remain as the biggest online shopping week of the year, with sales projected to hit almost $30 billion, accounting for 20% of the holiday season’s total online sales.
Thanksgiving marks a special time of year for marketers, as they know a large portion of consumers are shopping with the goal of purchasing. With sales expected to remain on the rise, this is the time for brands to get creative in their campaigns, strategically align their businesses with meaningful causes and deliver messaging that resonates with consumers.