Should companies give up promoting holidays on Facebook?

It all started with this.

Oreo Gay Pride

Simple. Brilliant. And just a great move. Then they moved on to much more obscure holidays.

Oreo Bowling Day

And, even more obscure holidays.

Oreo Talk Like a Pirate

 

OK, so a few other brands might have beat Oreo to the punch of promoting holidays on Facebook in somewhat interesting ways. But, it was Oreo that brought it to the next level. They popularized it.

And now, it seems, everyone is following their lead.

Brands big and small now routinely celebrate and acknowledge mainstay holidays like Easter and Valentine’s Day as well as the innane (but now suddenly popular) holidays like National Pi Day and National Ice Cream Sandwich Day.

But, as you look at all these brands suddenly recognizing these holidays, doesn’t it seem like engagement for the sake of engagement?

I have to raise the question: Is all this work promoting holidays by brands really beneficial?

As usual, the answer is gray: It depends. Depends on your strategy. Your goals. What you’re trying to achieve with Facebook.

For some brands, it makes sense. Here’s one example:

Sbux Holiday2

For Starbucks, this makes sense. They’re committed to the environment as an organization–celebrating Earth Day is a logical alignment.

But, other brands just don’t seem to be as aligned. Take a peek at just a few I found doing some simple searching:

Kleenex Holiday1

First, Cousins Day? Second, what does that have to do with Kleenex?

 

Old Navy Holiday3

Um, did Old Navy change businesses? Are they selling cookies in store now?

 

Old Navy Holiday1

Not sure how this could possibly align with the Old Navy brand…

So, where does this leave us? I think brands just need to take a closer look at this business of using holidays to procure engagement on Facebook. If the day/month/holiday you’re recognizing doesn’t squarely align with your brand, its values and your culture, don’t promote it.

Simple, right?

Plus, I just have to say, enough with these ridiculous holidays. I mean,  does anyone really care about National Trail Mix Day? Or, National Cream-Filled Donut Day? Or National Pins & Needles Day? (All real “holidays”, by the way)

Chances are, most people haven’t even HEARD of this so-called “holidays.”

So, why promote them? Why take time and brainpower away from connecting with your fans about REAL topics, concerns and problems they have? Why not focus all that time and energy on developing content that: 1) Solves a problem, 2) Entertains, or 3) Educates, or (here’s a shock) 4) Results in leads/sales for your company.

I think brands continue to promote these holidays because they represent fairly easy content opportunities. And, let’s be honest, there’s an awful lot of brands (and the agencies that support them) that want to be like Oreo.

But again, are these kinds of posts going to lead to conversions for your brand (whatever those look like)? Are they going to build brand for your organization (they’re not exactly “ownable” content opportunities)?

So again, why do many brands persist?

I’m not sure.

For me, it comes down to the “less is more” theory. If brands are having a tough time coming up with content, maybe these companies should be posting fewer times, not more.

Maybe it’s OK to say less.

Maybe instead of focusing on holidays that don’t have much to do with their brand (or holidays their fans haven’t even heard of), they could be devoting those resources to developing unique and creative content that’s directly related to their brand–and their fans?

That’s my two cents. I’m really curious to hear what you think about this topic. From where I sit, a fair amount of brands are taking this approach, so I’d like to hear why so many folks are going this route–and what the pay-off has been.

Please weigh in with a short comment below.

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8 comments on “Should companies give up promoting holidays on Facebook?

  1. kmskala says:

    I am going to politely disagree with you. We’ll use Old Navy as an example. The National Chocolate Chip Cookie post got 15,000 likes. Based on that, I’d say people enjoy/like that content. I don’t want to get as deep as “likes don’t equal sales” convo, but these posts generate engagement. For Great Clips, for example, the posts that generate the most activity are often the mundane, simple posts — who’s the greatest guitarist, etc. Not posts that talk about hair.
     
    I think it’s fine that Old Navy is doing this — after all, do we really want to see post after post about shorts and pants? Mix it up a bit.

  2. I wish more brands would spend their time working on unique and original content vs. copying Oreo and everyone else’s content. Yes Old Navy may get 15,000 likes for a post about National Waitresses and Waiters Day but what is a like worth these days? In my opinion getting likes it a small part of the mix, but seems like most brands are strictly focusing on content that can only earn a like at best…

  3. AyalaDenisse says:

    I think it depends on the overall strategy and goal you have set for you brand. Celebrating certain holidays that align with your brand are great, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to recognize all the holidays. I agree it’s good to mix it up every now and then, but be creative in the way that it goes back to what your brand stands for and your brand’s values.

  4. arikhanson says:

    @kmskala Right, it got likes. But, what do those likes mean for Old Navy? Not much, in my view. The content is not related to the brand–at all. So, they may have “gamed” it for now, but what does that ladder up to? That’s kinda what I’m talking about. Can brands get likes/comments using this approach? Yeah. But, what do those likes/comments really mean from a bigger picture POV?

  5. arikhanson says:

    @AyalaDenisse Agree. When it aligns–go for it. Starbucks does a great job there. As does a brand like Target. I still question Old Navy’s approach…

  6. kmskala says:

    @arikhanson I’d argue it’s very related to their brand. Their target demo are families. Not everyone wants to talk about fashion 24/7. You talk about what your community wants to talk about and I’d argue that they have a solid understand of what their consumers are interested in.
     
    It’s the same reason Nike doesn’t constantly talk about shoes. Red Bull doesn’t constantly talk about drinking an energy drink.

  7. ElissaFreeman says:

    I’m with you on this one @arikhanson ; I call it copycat brand hopping – or bandwaggoning (even if the latter isn’t really a word). When Oreo first came out during the SuperBowl blackout – it was groundbreaking. Their subsequent ads are now sort of ‘expected.’ However, I do hope they hop on over to another strategy soon…as at one point they are going to ‘jump the shark.’

  8. arikhanson says:

    @kmskala Cookies are related to Old Navy? C’mon now. I agree about Red Bull, but they talk about topics and issues that are related to an entire subset of people they’re targeting (thrill seekers/alternative sports junkies/etc). I guess you could say chocolate chip cookies are relevant to the Mom market, but that seems like a pretty big stretch. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, sir 😉