Traditional holidays offer natural themes for food product tie-ins, but they are also so crowded and noisy that your messages can be drowned out by much bigger players in your category.
Outside of Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day and Easter there are a host of “editorial seasons” that food brands can take advantage of.
Not your traditional stuff, these are opportunities created by associating food to news, cultural or entertainment events that touch a large group of consumers.
The theory is the backbone of advertising, but is also a natural way to start or enter a conversation or editorial feature.
By playing outside the boundaries of the common holidays, food marketers get multiple opportunities to speak to their audiences and have a chance to own a unique season – or two.
Consider the breadth of topics available in the early part of the year:
- January – Healthy New Year’s resolutions or top-trend lists offer a great start to the year if your brand fits. If not, at the end of the month, throw resolutions aside and make the most of menus for parties around the Super Bowl
- February – Love is in the air, but it’s also Oscar season. With more than 5.5 million viewers in 2016, this is still a major event. Consider mains and hors-d’oeuvres that play off the storylines or cultures of nominated films.
- March – Sure it’s a great time to promote fun kids meals for March Break, but there are also more gym memberships sold at the end of March than at the beginning of January. With the prospect of stripping out of parkas on the horizon, lean meals to support your journey to a bathing suit body are a natural fit.
Opportunities can also arise around persistent news stories, music trends inspired by their originating culture or lyrical content or semi-regular events such as local or national elections, global sports or even moon pies or green-cheese dip for a lunar eclipse.
Step back from your offering – or hire an agency to do it for you – and consider your audience, product seasonality, origin or its inherent benefits to your consumers to create opportunities that take advantage of non-traditional influences and timing to set your brand apart from the competition.