Every Day is a #Hashtag Holiday (Sort Of)

By Maya Shaff     |     June 28, 2017

You’d have to be living under a rock (or had suffered a major WiFi outage) if you didn’t notice National Donut Day earlier this month.

While Father’s Day, the first day of summer and the Fourth of July have long been favorites for brands and marketers to create fresh summer content, there are now an almost infinite number of “national-fill-in-blank” days to celebrate.

Our brainstorm sessions for all kinds of clients — including those in the consumer packaged goods industries — always include a calendar of these days to see if there’s something that makes sense for those brands. Take National Donut Day: If you’re a donut maker or shop, it’s a no brainer.

But if you’re a candy maker, why not sprinkle your confection on a box of donuts? If you make coffee machines, peanut butter, paper party supplies: There are a million brands that “go” with donuts. Which may explain the popularity of the #NationalDonutDay hashtag (But probably not: Donuts are delicious.)

National Whatever Days and marketers are chummy for a reason: We’re always looking for new, fun ways to reach out to our brands’ fans. A lot of the “holidays” were created, in fact, to promote a product (raisins!) or activity (golf!)

But since everyone’s doing it, everyone’s doing it. So while it may be fun for your brand to be “in” on the conversation about National Selfie Day or National Bring Your Dog To Work Day, it’s not enough to just slap some content together with a hashtag and call it a day.

Do’s and Don’ts For Brands on Holidays

Be authentic. If fresh and funny is in your brand’s voice and your audience loves it, use that to your advantage. If your content is always polished and self-aware and you suddenly pivot to blurry and silly, your brand’s message will fall flat and you’ll come across as lazy. You can still participate in your chosen day: Just take your time to keep your message consistent.   

Be sensitive. Think about your audience and don’t be a jerk. A lot (maybe most) Cinco de Mayo social media comes across as culturally unaware, and there are social issues like bullying that will be a great fit for some social conversations — and terribly disrespectful for others. If you want to see a hashtag and a brand’s campaign implode, look no further than the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad, which most people think trivialized the #blacklivesmatter movement.

Be fresh. If you’re marketing every holiday, you’re boring. Really think about whether a certain holiday fits with your brand — and if it doesn’t, move on to something new. Unless it’s National Donut Day. That day is for everyone.

About Maya Shaff

Maya is an Account Director at Room 214. She helps helps lifestyle and CPG brands tell their stories through informed, strategic marketing initiatives and works with her clients to be courageous, even when it makes them uncomfortable. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @OregonMaya.

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