Thanksgiving is a time of year in which many Americans gather with family to cook good food and and relax a bit from their busy lives. For many college students, it means a break from classes and mom’s best turkey or vegetable dish. However, while we dream of delicious food, many of us do not even realize how intense food and grocery companies in America advertise their products during this time of year.
First of all, though the price of Thanksgiving staples drop around this time of year, the annual household spends more and more each year over the holidays — Forbes projected holiday spending in 2016 would reach over one trillion dollars. Thanksgiving prices do fluctuate every year (a family of 10 in 2016 can have a Thanksgiving meal for about $49.87, whereas it cost $50.11 in 2015), but the price of the holidays have steadily increased over the years and that could be due to campaigns from companies in order to sell you their products.
In an article for the Chicago Tribune, the paper got nostalgic and posted a multimedia article showing the average coupon clippings in the Tribune around Thanksgiving for every decade in which these coupons were present in the newspaper. This shows that Thanksgiving has been commercialized and the food that has gone into the holiday has been advertised for years dating back to 1915. But where advertisements and deals were listed in the local paper back in the day, companies now have to seek more ways in which they can promote their products across platforms.
This can be seen best with subscription meal services like HelloFresh and Blue Apron. Subscription boxes have become popular over the past few years, whether it be for dollar razors or new makeup samples, but subscription boxes for food is a rather novel and recent idea. These companies have options for a Thanksgiving meal as well as multiple side dishes from which to chose. They promote all of these options on their websites and provided discounted bundles for the holidays. However, their marketing efforts go further than this.
These companies also promote their products through online “influencers,” like YouTubers and social media celebrities. They will create partnerships and pay YouTubers to film unboxings of their products as well as show a walk through of how to cook the food. Most of these videos will end with some explanation of how this is a sponsored video; social media posts work the same way, except it may just be a static image or a short video to social media.
These groups also create buzz about their products by partnering with email companies like Gmail and Yahoo in order to send discounts and promotions to users of these platforms. And they also encourage their own users to promote their brand and product by telling their friends and incentivizing this by offering discounts for customers who successfully refer friends.
These new products are taking the advertising and promotion of food to a whole new level, and it is inspiring more traditional sources to keep up. Many food companies and conglomerates have social media pages now and partake in these same promotional ways. It can be a key way to target groups that may buy these products, especially during a food-frenzy like Thanksgiving.
So when you sit down with family to chow down on your Thanksgiving meal, you can now wonder how your family was inspired to buy specific products from certain vendors. Or just ignore that entirely and enjoy your holiday break!