Is it just me, or is Thanksgiving experiencing a kind of image problem that could use some shiny new PR? I’m not talking about the dinner – no one can tarnish turkey and trimmings. I mean the commercial encroachment that has turned it into “Thanks for giving up your holiday to shop obsessively!”
Some retailers have moved “Black Friday,” a fun shopping ritual of pre-dawn door busters and camaraderie to, essentially, “Black Thursday,” with employees leaving mid-meal to get to work and shoppers fleeing the table directly post-pumpkin pie. This is wrong on so many levels!
Other companies, like Nordstrom, have scored PR points by taking a stand against “black Thursday,” making the time right for a fresh Thanksgiving push. There are many elements already in place.
Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays where gifts are NOT expected, therefore PR messaging needs to stress the importance of severing it from consumerism and bringing it back to its core – giving and sharing with family, friends and strangers.
So, let’s talk turkey. Thanksgiving needs a spokesperson. If the Thanksgiving account were awarded to me, I would recommend creating a loveable, wholesome character, like a latter-day Santa or Easter Bunny, who can espouse the importance of sacred family time. The campaign elements could include an online contest component to crowd-source the character, give him or her a Facebook page and Twitter account, establish a mommy blogger advisory board, write a book with some “bold-faced’ names recounting beloved Thanksgiving meals, book a national media tour and voila, a campaign with legs.
I might also include a social media-driven petition drive aimed at taking back Thanksgiving.
Actually I would like to do that now, so please try to enjoy REAL Thanksgiving and put off shopping til at least sun-up Friday.