While it’s true that Thanksgiving often gets overshadowed by Christmas even before the turkeys have the time to realize their demise, there is one staple of Thanksgiving that has remained popular through the years: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.
An astounding number of people watch the parade on TV—or, rather, have it on in the background as they get ready for Thanksgiving dinner. But even if you only catch a glimpse of it here or there, you’ll notice that brands have their logos and mascots all over the place.
Believe it or not, this was not always the intent of the parade…if you believe what Macy’s spokespeople have to say.
While we’re not going to say that this parade has become nothing more than a blatant twist at consumerism just a month away from Christmas, we will say that…no, wait, we are going to say that.
Sure, there are the staples from cartoons…Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Dora and SpongeBob. But beyond that, it seems that companies like Disney and Universal are constantly sneaking in floats that tie into a movie that is being released right around the corner. Speaking of Disney, they actually have a brilliant branding strategy in place for the parade: to remind the viewers that they have characters and stories that represent Thanksgivings past as well as Thanksgivings of the future. This is why you will often see Mickey in the same parade as whatever new character they have to flaunt to promote a new movie.
It stands to reason that companies want to ride the popularity of the most prominent Thanksgiving event out there—especially when it can be presented as a form of entertainment.
As of late, even food brands have started to take advantage of the parade. This year, keep a look out for staples like Ronald McDonald, the M&M candy characters, and the Kool-Aid Man, courtesy of Kraft foods.
Hmm…food brands jockeying to get in front of viewers on a holiday that is all about eating. Is this clever or just soulless?