Standing Out Among All the National Pecan Pie Day Messaging

It's a major strategic and creative challenge to stand out during the holiday season -- as well as during other major holiday seasons like Mother's Day, Father's Day and Valentine's Day. It's significantly less challenging to stand out during the April Fool's Day or Cinco de Mayo season. Show up and the battle is half-won.

But in addition to having little to no competition around messaging for such minor holidays -- and therefore injecting instant uniqueness into your email campaigns -- the focused nature of many of these holidays means that messaging is tighter as well. For instance, if you promote National Pecan Pie Day, as Overstock did in a July 12 email, the products that you promote tend to be fairly narrow and manageable.

Minor holidays offer a wealth of opportunities to flex your creative muscles and do something different from your competitors. Here are some of my favorite minor holiday-themed emails from the past few years:



Bring Your Daughter to Work Day. In an Apr. 23, 2009 email, Spiegel leverages this holiday to make a value statement as well as humanize themselves by showing off some of their staffers' kids. Letting their kids play dress-up in Spiegel apparel yields a simple creative that has instant appeal on multiple levels. Plus, they deftly tie this dress-up session into their Style Quiz segmentation program. A very smart campaign.

National Bosses' Day. FTD promoted this holiday in an Oct. 10, 2006 email and the double-meaning of the subject line -- "Tell your boss what you really think" -- had me giggling all morning long. While the body copy didn't leverage the second meaning, the subject line was one of the best subject lines I saw that year.

National Splurge Day. In a June 28, 2010 email, Bluefly was the only major retailer I saw to jump on this great holiday for fun, lux brands. The simple concept behind the holiday was expressed well in Bluefly's subject line: "It's National Splurge Day! - Treat Yourself To Something Special..." In addition to the promotion, they explained the origin of National Splurge Day on their blog.

Grandparents' Day. While a few flower and gift retailers promoted their usual fare for this holiday, EB Games (now GameStop) made an untraditional play for Grandparents' Day dollars in this Sept. 5, 2006 email by promoting the Nintendo DS game "Brain Age." Designed to keep minds sharp with a wide variety of quick mental tests, the game will "refresh their tired brain cells," EB Games says in the email. What loving grandchild could resist such an opportunity?

Alex Williams of eROI has been publishing lists of upcoming minor holidays. It's a great starting place for ideas. Kicking yourself for missing National Cheese Day this year? Resolve now to take full advantage of minor holidays in the months ahead, particularly during slower weeks between major holidays.

Have you seen any other great emails that leverage minor holidays?

4 comments about "Standing Out Among All the National Pecan Pie Day Messaging ".
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  1. Liz Lynch from Demandware, July 20, 2010 at 10:39 a.m.

    Hi Chad,
    What a coincidence-this morning I got an e-mail from Dancing Deer Bakery promoting National Parents Day. It definitely got my attention, and the messaging was appropriate, saying "Spoil them for a change."

    Here's a link to the web version:


  2. Luke Glasner from Red Pill Email, July 20, 2010 at 11:13 a.m.

    Ahoy Chad,

    Looking forward to some pirate emails this September 19th for National Talk Like a Pirate Day, perhaps some cool emails will come sailing into my inbox. One group that could leverage this "holiday" are the sponsors of Pirates Week, a festival celebrating the culture and history of the Cayman Islands, which takes place in November Just enough time to request those vacation days and book your trip. And really who doesn't like to dress up like a pirate and say "Arr?"

    Attn Cayman Airlines, I would be happy to design one for you in exchange for ride. : )


  3. Chad White from Litmus, July 20, 2010 at 11:46 a.m.

    Luke, you've hit on a great point: The value of minor holidays is finding the ones that match up with your brand best--because there are a ton of little holidays, most of which won't make sense for a given brand. So your suggestion for Cayman Airlines taking advantage of National Talk LIke a Pirate Day is a great match.

  4. Juliette Cowall from Godwin Plumbing & Hardware, July 21, 2010 at 4:23 p.m.

    I intend to take advantage of "National Plumbers Day" on November 3.

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