No matter your Thanksgiving morning tradition – waking up at the crack of dawn to put the bird in the oven, running in a turkey trot, or simply bracing for the onslaught of relatives – over 40 million Americans and their families ended up in front of their television to watch the 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC.
For the brands that proudly paraded their giant helium balloons and floats along the over two-mile route in New York City, Thanksgiving morning felt more like Christmas morning. With the opportunity to attach their Brand to a universally beloved, national holiday tradition and be in front of that large of an audience at the kick-off of the busy holiday season, is a massive opportunity.
“It is one of our most sought-after assets in our portfolio, and not just because of its proximity to the start of the holiday shopping,” Alison Tarrant, Executive Vice President, Client Partnerships at NBCUniversal told AdWeek. “It’s also the emotional connection that consumers have with the parade and the start of the holiday season.”
This year’s parade featured 29 giant character and novelty balloons – including the Pillsbury Doughboy (debuted in 2009) and Ronald McDonald (debuted in 1987) – and 30 floats, sponsored by brands like Build-a-Bear, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Delta Air Lines, Ocean Spray, Discover, Homewood Suites By Hilton, Krazy Glue, King’s Hawaiian, and newcomers Entenmann’s, Sour Patch Kids, and Green Giant.
“The Macy’s Parade has always reflected characters and brands that have significant and sustained pop culture relevance” said Jordan Dabby, Vice President Partnership Marketing for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Unlike SuperBowl commercials brands in the parade come with little to no verbal or written communication, relying solely on the essence of the balloon or float to do the talking. This makes the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade not the best stage for all brands, but ideal for classic brands, such as Pillsbury and Green Giant, who use the parade as a way of reinforcing and rekindling their Brand among their target audience.
“Green Giant is thrilled to join the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade line-up, helping us to reintroduce our jolly brand ambassador to a new generation of fans,” said Jordan Greenberg, Vice President & General Manager, Green Giant. “With its incredible reach that captures the imagination of millions, our Macy’s Parade float is just the latest way in which Green Giant is cementing our place at the festive holiday table for generations of Americans.”
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been the stage for pop culture’s most memorable brands to be a part of American history, but we can’t forget about the main Brand that has made this possible … Macy’s. The tradition began by marching borrowed, live animals from the Central Park Zoo to their flagship store on 34th Street. Now, 91 years later, Macy’s has become the Brand American’s expect to see on Thanksgiving.