The Purpose Behind “National” Days


National Walking Day.

National Pet Day.

National Chocolate Day.

These all seem generic and normal enough, but what about National Lima Bean Respect Day? After a quick Internet search, I guess I too am ready to celebrate this “national” holiday in just a couple weeks (on April 20, for all you fellow legume lovers).

These oddball holidays are having a “’moment” right now in the world of marketing and PR. Anyone who has a Snapchat probably noticed the special 4X4 Jeep-sponsored filter presented on 4/4/16, and it wasn’t just the automotive brand that took advantage of the calendar date.  Wendy’s used the numerically pleasing day to promote its limited time “4 for $4” meal offer, further capitalizing on the fact that it was MLB opening day by sponsoring giveaways during the 4th inning of various games.

So how effective, really, is it for marketers to play off these kooky national days?

For one thing, the concept gets agencies’ creative juices flowing.  These holidays present the perfect opportunity to celebrate, ad hoc, what would be a completely average Tuesday or Saturday, through the funneled lens of a brand-specific message. There’s a good chance that each year on National Margarita Day, I’m making my way to the nearest TexMex establishment to properly celebrate the occasion, and brands are aware of these sorts of CTAs that traditions (new or fledgling) can spur.

The hashtag #NationalMargaritaDay was the number one trending topic on Twitter, and brands like Bud Light did not let this level of awareness and brand-to-consumer interaction slip through the cracks.  They utilized the social platform to share new advertisements showcasing their canned Lime-A-Rita product, also including the brand specific hashtag #MargaReady.  Another brand to take advantage of the fun was On The Border, a casual dining Mexican restaurant, which offered $2 margaritas all day long this past February 22. This tactic no doubt brought in customers who supplemented their discounted drinks with full-priced meals.

Its not just consumer product brands that can benefit from these special days – a lot of good can come from them, as well.  “Roof Over Your Head Day” is celebrated in the beginning of December, and provided the opportunity for real estate company Coldwell Banker to donate to charities working against homelessness. Of course, as we marketers appreciate, this positions the brand as inextricably tied to and associated with the holiday’s great cause. Even when these days seem to be far fetched (gotta bring it back to Lima Bean Respect Day), we can still recognize the positive possibilities – for both brands and service – that come along with them.

Yet, the question remains: are all of these national holidays created by the ad world for the purposes of free and targeted publicity?  If so, we can’t refute that the idea was genius, as we’ve witnessed inarguably effective campaigns as a result.  The next time one of these ambiguous holidays pops up on my calendar, there’s no doubt it’ll be celebrated to the fullest with Snapchat filters, Instagram posts, and – dare I say it – high likelihood of actual purchases (I’m looking at you, National Pizza Party Day).

~ Guest post by Annie Draper, CerconeBrownCompany