The Best Thanksgiving Campaigns We’ve Ever Seen

best thanksgiving campaigns

Thanksgiving is one of the most important business holidays for retailers. According to the Robin Report, retail spending rose by nearly 30% in 2021 during Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, and Black Friday — fueled by Americans’ desire to celebrate the holiday with their families and a healthy dose of stellar Thanksgiving campaign ideas. That’s why, as the 2022 holiday season approaches, it’s time to review some of the best Thanksgiving marketing campaigns to help you prepare for the season.

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Interesting Thanksgiving Marketing Statistics

Every good marketing strategy begins with data. Consumers spent $5.17 billion during 2021’s Thanksgiving season and another $10.7 billion during Cyber Monday. Data is what provides the fuel for the best Thanksgiving social media posts, allowing retailers to pursue their marketing goals in a way that’s authentic and relatable. We’ve put together some of the best Thanksgiving campaigns we could find to help other companies get started on their own best Thanksgiving campaigns and skyrocket their conversions during this holiday season.

Thanksgiving Campaign #1: Coca-Cola

Source: brafton.com

Why we liked it:

What does Coca-Cola have to do with Thanksgiving? More than someone might think, thanks to the company’s ingenious Happy Thanksgiving social media posts on Pinterest, which ingeniously turn the company’s product line into one of the best Thanksgiving campaigns we’ve seen. Ever thought you’d see a Coke bottle dressed up as a turkey?

  • Incredibly creative — the company found a way to keep itself relevant during a time of year most wouldn’t think of it.
  • Coca-Cola’s wonderful design sense is sure to make its Pinterest feed the envy of all who see it.
  • Its posts are a great example of how to use social media to connect with customers in a fun and engaging way, even during the peak of the holiday season when other brands take a break from posting.

Channel: Social media, specifically Pinterest.

Thanksgiving Campaign #2: REI

rei thanksgiving campaign

 

Source: REI Instagram account

Why we liked it:

Apparel brand REI created a compelling video of a young woman preparing holiday-themed meals in the great outdoors, wearing its clothing. The video shows the brand’s products in action while also providing a healthy dose of humor and personality, making it worthy of being listed among the best Thanksgiving campaigns.

  • The company found a way to showcase its clothes without being too self-promotional.
  • The video features a woman who is both outdoorsy and stylish, but still relatable to the target demographic.
  • It’s a good way to incorporate seasonal elements without going too far.

Channel: Social media (Instagram)

Thanksgiving Campaign #3: Samsung

 

Why we liked it:

Samsung’s “Unwrap the Feels” video perfectly encapsulates the joy of receiving a gift during the holidays. The brand released the video to commemorate its first VR headset, which is designed to bring families together.

  • The ad succeeds in being one of the best Thanksgiving campaigns not only by evoking a familial setting but also by capturing the sentimental feeling of being together during the holidays.
  • The ad is surprisingly emotional and heartwarming, which makes it a great reminder to customers that they’re not alone in their holiday cheer.

Channel: YouTube

Thanksgiving Campaign #4: Whole Foods

 

Source: Whole Foods Instagram account

Why we liked it:

Whole Foods partnered with Chloe Coscarelli, best known as the champion of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” on Instagram to create a charming, ethical, and vegan-friendly unboxing reel. It’s full of such holiday favorites as vegan turkey, casserole, stuffing, and, of course, pie. 

  • Working with an influencer can be a great way to reach new audiences without spending a ton of money on traditional advertising methods.
  • Niche branding tightens the focus on a specific audience. In this case, it’s vegans.
  • It becomes one of the best Thanksgiving campaigns by effectively connecting to social issues at the top of the mind of consumers, like animal welfare and sustainability.

Channel: Instagram

Thanksgiving Campaign #5: Publix

 

Why we liked it:

Publix’s “Head of the Table” ad debuted on YouTube, featuring three ethnically diverse families marking the holiday together with a meal. The ad promotes a message of togetherness, which is an important part of the Thanksgiving holiday.

  • An emotional and fitting addition to the Happy Thanksgiving social media post lineup.
  • Sure to strike a chord as one of the best Thanksgiving campaigns with customers who are looking for a way to celebrate the holiday with loved ones.

Channel: YouTube

Thanksgiving Campaign #6: Durex

Why we liked it:

Durex China used the Thanksgiving season to interact with Wrigley’s on the Weibo social media network, creating a series of funny dialogues that had users laughing and sharing their reactions.

  • This campaign built on the company’s existing brand awareness, increasing engagement with its target audience by providing a fun outlet for sharing opinions.
  • The co-branding interaction led to increased awareness for both brands, which is a big win for them and their fans alike and lets it stand out as one of the best Thanksgiving campaigns. 

Channel: Weibo

Thanksgiving Campaign #7: Postmates

 

Source: designmantic.com

Why we liked it:

Deciding to focus on offering value for its company’s Thanksgiving social media posts, Postmates created a mix of how-to instructions and seasonal recipes aimed at helping users plan their own Friendsgiving celebrations.

  • An engaging and informative read easily turns something simple into one of the best Thanksgiving campaigns. 
  • Established Postmates as a “thought leader” and authority on all things Thanksgiving.

Channel: Pinterest

Thanksgiving Campaign #8: NYC Tourism promotion

 

Why we liked it:

What do you get when you dress Billy Crystal as a turkey and Robert De Niro as a pilgrim? One of the best Thanksgiving marketing campaigns anyone will see in a long time, that’s what.

  • New York City uses star recognition to promote tourism to the Big Apple — an intelligent and effective way to show off the city’s appeal.
  • A funny, snappy script provides a memorable way for potential travelers to visualize what their trip would be like.
  • The video is short, sweet, and to the point.

Channel: YouTube

Thanksgiving Campaign #9: Stove Top

Why we liked it:

We would expect a holiday staple like Stove Top to put out good Thanksgiving posts, and it doesn’t disappoint. Its “They Sell It All Year, You Know” hilariously captures its customers’ love for its stuffing and its own brand of holiday cheer, easily landing it a place among the best Thanksgiving campaigns. 

  • Confidence: Stove Top knows its product is loved and isn’t afraid to talk about it.
  • This ad is a smart way to build brand loyalty and promote its products.

Thanksgiving Campaign #10: Perdue

Thoughtfulness is key to the best Thanksgiving marketing campaigns, which is precisely what Perdue showcased with its 2020 “ThanksNuggets” campaign. Rather than simply promoting its products, Perdue used the holiday as an opportunity to share a message about gratitude by creating a small batch of turkey-shaped nuggets for people who just wanted to do something small for the holiday.

  • Perdue made sure to stand out by creating a limited-edition package.
  • This was a good way to engage with and thank customers while also driving sales.

Channel: Social Media (Twitter)

Thanksgiving Campaign #11: Hotel Tonight

 

Source: planable.io

Why we liked it:

HotelTonight found a way to leverage something everyone can relate to with its Facebook post for Thanksgiving — crazy family holiday stories — and turn it into sheer customer engagement. The company asked customers to share their holiday horror stories for an opportunity to win $500 in credit with HotelTonight, ensuring that the brand was front and center during the holiday season.

  • The use of the eminently relatable slogan “Visit, Don’t Stay” meant customers knew exactly what they were getting into.
  • Found a way to keep customers engaged during an otherwise busy time period by creating an opportunity for them to share their stories and win something.
  • Humor, combined with a strong call to action and a clear reward, became a powerful tool in HotelTonight’s customer engagement arsenal.

Channel: Facebook

Thanksgiving Campaign #12: Edeka

 

Why we liked it:

Edeka is a German supermarket brand known for powerful holiday ads, and “Time” is no exception. The video depicts people so busy with their lives they forget to spend time with those most important to them, reminding everyone to take a moment to appreciate their loved ones.

  • Excellent production value, from the camera work to the music.
  • Edeka knows where its customers will be shopping for the food they will eat alongside their loved ones.

Channel: YouTube

Thanksgiving Campaign #13: Butterball

Butterball turkeys are an American classic. Well known for taking customer calls asking for cooking advice around the holidays, in 2020, Butterball continued the tradition — with a “staying-at-home” pandemic-themed take that lightened the mood.

  • Butterball successfully took a lighthearted approach to a serious topic.
  • The company provided actual value to its customers, all while still creating a memorable and engaging campaign that was fun to watch.
  • The brand continued the joke with engaging, lighthearted interactions with its customers in the comments section.

Channel: Twitter

Thanksgiving Campaign #14: TD Bank

 

Why we liked it:

Pay attention to the title of TD Bank’s YouTube video: “24 people. 24 days. 24 communities” memorably tells the stories of 24 people TD bank gave $30,000 to with the goal of having them do wonderful works of charity in their communities. The happy results are documented in its promotional video, making it without doubt one of the best Thanksgiving campaigns ever made.

  • TD Bank found a heartwarming way to showcase its commitment to helping others.
  • The video is a great example of how companies can use their content marketing strategy to connect with customers and prospects on a deeper level.
  • It kept TD Bank in the minds of its customers while also reminding them of the brand’s values and mission.

Channel: YouTube

Thanksgiving Campaign #15: Old Navy

 

Source: flipsnack.com

Why we liked it:

Another of the best Thanksgiving campaigns came from Old Navy, which found an exciting way to give back for the holiday. The company offered the first 500 customers who lined up at its stores the opportunity to win a $1 million prize — the perfect way to get people in the mood for Thanksgiving!

  • Offering customers a substantial gift was a great way for the company to show how much it appreciates them.
  • By having customers line up outside its stores, Old Navy created a sense of excitement and anticipation that was sure to get customers talking about its campaign long after it was over.

Thanksgiving Campaign #16: Budweiser

Why we liked it:

Budweiser thought of a fun way to engage with its Twitter audience over the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday, releasing an image of its “leftover locking container.” The company asked customers to tag family members who always steal their leftovers — and instructed viewers to retweet if they happened to be that family member.

  • This is a Thanksgiving social media post that asks customers to promote the brand directly with the message, and creating user-generated content is always a smart move.
  • Budweiser’s post is simple, fun and playful — all things that can help attract a wide range of viewers and turn a simple post into one of the best Thanksgiving campaigns. 

Channel: Twitter

Thanksgiving Campaign #17: Delta

Source: Twitter

 

Why we liked it:

Safety is first on everyone’s mind when it comes to air travel, and in 2020, Delta Airlines understood the power of this message and ran a powerful Thanksgiving marketing campaign to convey it. With no desire to be flashy, Delta simply explained the steps it was taking to ensure passenger safety during the height of the pandemic.

  • A simple, no-frills video with excellent production value and a clear message.
  • Captures both the importance of holiday travel and the need for confidence in one’s airline of choice.
  • Notice how succinctly Delta Airlines captures its audience’s attention without being overly dramatic or needlessly flashy.

Channel: Twitter

Thanksgiving Campaign #18: Macy’s

Why we liked it:

Macy’s had a small little problem in 2020: Almost no one would be attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City owing to the pandemic restrictions that year. Rather than calling quits, the brand released a Happy Thanksgiving social media post explaining how to draw your own parade balloons at home.

  • Cleverness, fun and flexibility is a surefire way to end up on any list of the best Thanksgiving campaigns. 
  • The video made sure to connect with Macy’s customers at home and to show them that the brand still had a place in their lives despite the parade’s cancellation.
  • Once again, smart production value and a strong message made this a hit.

Discover more seasonal & holiday marketing campaigns by top brands

Your Partner in Creating the Best Thanksgiving Campaigns: Omnichannel

Every retailer must provide an exceptional in-store and online experience during the holiday season. Through ContactPigeon’s omnichannel customer engagement platform, companies can build a 360° view of their customers, allowing them to reach customers wherever they are. Our platform helps predict customers’ needs and ensures that they’re equipped to deliver an exceptional in-store and online experience every single time. Book a 30-min free consultation call with one of our skilled experts, and unlock your brand’s potential this Thanksgiving.

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