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Tips & Tricks

Pretend Holidays Are a Brand's Best Friend

Whether it’s National Doughnut Day or National Hug A Plumber Day, brands love hopping on the social media-worthy celebrations.

When you read the words “National Pancake Day,” “National Taco Day,” or “National Sandwich Day,” do you think of IHOP, Taco Bell and Subway? If so, then those brands are glad you did!
More brands are jumping onto the marketing bandwagon of “fake” or “pretend” holidays to score marketing wins, using discounts, promotions and charity tie-ins to build fan appreciation and customer goodwill. Over the past few years, these “holidays” have become something of a growing tradition (OMG! What did we do BEFORE National Pancake Day?).
Brands are using these holidays to create fun and whimsical content marketing, mixed in with social media distribution and offline traditional event planning and promotion to rake in big consumer impressions and goodwill.
The National Day Calendar is the online site for the majority of fake and made-up holidays. There, you’ll find encouraging holidays for brands like “National Making Life Beautiful Day” (June 11) to more vague dates like “National Just Because Day” (August 27). Depending on a brand’s content marketing, they can could either go straight with a made-up holiday or have a little whimsical fun with one. Let’s take a look at the calendar’s with brand’s work on those days.


March 8 – National Pancake Day – On this day, International House of Pancakes offers a free stack of buttermilk pancakes to customers in return for a donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The brand used personalized Twitter ads to invite those who showed social media interest, along with a spread of memes, gifs and other fun.


April 26 – National Pretzel Day – This so-called “unofficial” holiday (technically not registered by a brand) nonetheless gives the state of Pennsylvania many content opportunities to promote the pretzel as a symbol of the state’s history. Did you know, for instance, that the U.S. pretzel industry banks some $550 million every year?


Last Friday in May – National Heat Awareness Day – On the start of Memorial Day weekend, the National Weather Service uses a content information campaign that is part of a larger overall safety campaign to prep Americans with summer heat advisory information.


June 27 – National Sunglasses Day – is behind National Sunglasses Day, with a little boost from The Vision Council, in order to spur more people to wear sunglasses year round. For sunshine states like Florida, Arizona and California, this is a no-brainer. But also uses good blogging and infographics to shore up its National Sunglasses day promotions.


September 29 – National Coffee Day – Probably the granddaddy of all brand holidays, Dunkin’ Donuts has owned National Coffee Day since its 2010 inception. Last year, DD rolled out a new Dark Roast flavor and pushed it on a one-day Snapchat geofilter to coincide with National Coffee Day.
Don’t get left out – brands still have an opportunity to create their own fake holidays to build social media buzz.

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