Happy Turkey Day!

Today, on the last Thursday of November, America celebrates the end of the bloody conflict between the native Indians and the newcomers from Europe. They had dinner together and ate Turkey, and that’s how Thanksgiving became Turkey Day. The festivities have escalated massively since. Moms are posed up in the kitchen from 7am until dinner time (which is generally more around 4pm than normal dinner time), to cook mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and the Turkey of course.

thanksgiving.jpgAt 10am, the Macy’s parade is on TV (live from NYC), where hundreds of flats and performance groups march, dance, fly and ride down 6th Ave.





The event is aired nationally and gets Macy’s, the department store, a lot of awareness in a warm communal context. It’s considered quite the tradition for children to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, as it is very entertaining:

From a young age, most children are familiar with Macy’s, but more importantly: it creates a family friendly identity for parents. In marketing, this positioning strategy is very important, and is guided by the why  of the company. Some marketing masterminds at Ogilvy showed me a new perspective on this old concept. A brand must find their best self: the company they wish to be, and they must understand who their customer wants to be. The overlap between these two characters is what should determine why and how the brand sells what they do, to the consumer. Ogilvy calls this the Big Ideal.


Macy’s targets a very large market segment: families. They offer a wide array of products and services, from socks to suitcases, because they want to the brand that allows people to one-stop-shop. What parents want, is to come in and get their children new wardrobes, buy a present for a family member, and maybe get themselves something nice as well, all at a fair price. Macy’s speaks to this segment very effectively with their Thanksgiving Parade, by showing them that they are focused on being a family friendly brand. Although this event is largely watched for entertainment, it is the biggest marketing and positioning activity of the year for Macy’s.

On one hand, it’s a very smart and playful way to position the brand, as viewers do not perceive it to be  a huge marketing stunt, but how much does the affair cost Macy’s? Do you think it’s worth it?  


Susanne ten Brink


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