Timeless Marketing: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Thanksgiving Day means two things: turkey and the timeless Macy’s Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. The phenomenon started in 1924 as a Christmas themed parade with animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. The parade quickly evolved into the one we all know and love today; giant helium balloons walking the streets of New York City being held down by thousands of volunteers. After the Rockettes, Al Rocker, and performances by well-named performers, Santa Claus closes the parade sitting on his iconic red chair, waving to people on each side of him to kick off the Christmas season. In an interview in 2015, Orlando Veras, the Parade spokesman was asked about the price of the parade; however, he responded that every good gift doesn’t come with a price tag, so you have to wonder, how do they do it? How is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade so successful? We took the liberty to analyze what marketing techniques they’ve used and how they’ve done it and why it works!
They keep it consistent
You know what to expect when you turn on the television or line up at 5:00am on 34th Street to watch the parade. You know you’re going to see hundreds of clowns bouncing around from one person to the next, taking selfies, and well, clowning around. There will be floats with people riding them waving for miles, ranging from famous hockey players to Disney stars, and other famous actors and singers. The Rockettes will cancan, pristine high school bands will perform, and Broadway shows will give us a glimpse into their musical. Consistency is key in the case of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade because consistency brings tradition, and tradition is what brings people together every year to watch the parade.
They keep it relevant
While the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade keeps things consistent, they’re always switching items in and out in order to keep the parade relevant. They continuously add new content, like new floats to mirror a new hit television show, or a new helium balloon from a popular movie, in order to keep people from all generations engaged. While new content is added, like Olaf from Disney’s Frozen, the parade is kept traditional, like featuring the 1968 Snoopy who floated for the 40th time last Thanksgiving. The traditional and relevancy incorporated into every parade allows people who have been watching for years to relate just as those enjoying it for the first time.
Everything is aligned with their brand, but marketing is subtle
Have you ever watched the parade and just analyzed it? Probably not—that’s why we’re here writing this blog post after all. Every person selected for the parade is thought out carefully. If you look back, it will probably be hard to find a controversial person who appeared in the parade. Macy’s likes to keep the Hollywood drama in Hollywood and select performers and brands that resemble role models and are considered wholesome. Along with selecting their famous partners strategically, the parade is filled with subtle marketing. After all, it is called the MACY’S Thanksgiving Day Parade. However, it doesn’t feel like marketing and this is why people continue to watch. Marketing and promotions are not thrown in your face, rather floats and giant balloons fill your environment.
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