On Thursday, over 50 million Americans will watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from the comfort of their homes. With this kind of massive audience, advertisers know this is just as important as the Super Bowl. But how did this yearly tradition get the coverage it has today? Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began as Christmas parade. Floats designed to match the scenes portrayed in the New York City shop windows traveled down the streets . They even borrowed animals from the Central Park zoo to come along for the ride. In 1927, the signature gigantic helium balloons made their entrance and are still around to this day.
The target audience for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is, not surprisingly, children. The goal of their whole campaign is to encourage children to ask their parents to go to Macy’s during the holiday season. It’s the ideal platform for other companies like Disney, Cartoon Network, and even Broadway to debut their new shows and programs.
Another one of the benefits of advertising at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is that Thanksgiving is non-partisan. There’s an overwhelming amount of pride that Americans feel on this specific day. It’s advantageous date of the year plus the happiness Americans feel on that Thursday triggers a consumer need to shop for their loved ones for the holidays in American stores.
The consistent viewership of the parade is an advertiser’s dream. They are able to spend all year preparing for this one day that they know millions will see. It’s pretty exhilarating when you think about it.
One on hand, the wholesome holiday of Thanksgiving just isn’t the same without the annual parade in NYC. However, on the other hand,, advertisers love taking advantage of the opportunity to reach the largest audience they may encounter all year with persuasive broadcasts.
So, this Thursday when you’re snuggled up in bed with your family and watching the parade, what will you see?
I knew that Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was a platform for advertisers, but I have never considered the target audience to be children. Essentially all families I know watch the parade, regardless of if they have children or not. After watching the parade yesterday I see the appeal to children. There are many children tv show floats and there are children throughout the crowd watching. I agree that Thanksgiving is not the same without the parade and advertising is part of that package.
I really enjoyed this post and the way you captured consumers shopping on the holidays. It’s interesting to see where you are coming from that the Macy’s Day Parade changed holiday marketing. Very well written post!
I never knew the actual concept of the parade was for children to ask their parents to go shopping at Macy’s. That is really interesting to know though and also that they prepare all year for this one day is crazy too. It is obvious to see how much work actually goes into the whole parade which is great to see as well.
Thanks for sharing!
As a child I loved tuning into the parade on Thanksgiving morning. I’m nostalgic for that excitement because the parade does not feel the same watching it as an adult. It truly feels like one giant commercial spectacular now; The mystique is gone. So, if their target audience is children then they were definitely successful. They had me hooked and wowed as a child…but the balloons, floats, dancers are all advertisements because they know their audience is tuning in. Thanks for sharing!
The parade is still one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving. I love drinking hot chocolate while watching the parade in the morning. I have watched the parade every Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. I am not sure how successful the parade is at actually getting people to go to a Macy’s store. The parade gets the Macy’s name out to the public. However, it does not seem like it actually gets people to shop at a Macy’s store.
I have heard about the Macys Parade, but i never knew what the purpose of it was. I found this interesting that the purpose is so that kids would ask their parents to go shopping their. I found it even more interesting that their target market was children. Thanks for sharing!
Here again, I see how advertising is all around us and I was unaware of it for so long! The Macy’s parade is a tradition to watch in every home or if you’re lucky to see in person. My whole view of this parade has changed, I had just thought it was to celebrate Thanksgiving and give the kids something to enjoy. Targeting the kids to target the parents is a great advertising plan but crazy how the whole concept has changed in my eyes.
I found this article very interesting because growing up, I watched the Macy’s parade every year and just saw it as a fun, pretty show. But after reading, I do see how it is just one big platform for advertisers to target children. This really emphasized that advertising could be seen anywhere and a parade could really just be one giant, fun commercial.
For whatever reason, I had never considered the fact that it was the company of Macy’s who was putting on this parade. I knew the name of the event but just hadn’t made that connection. This is an interesting phenomenon to me because I had never considered that companies would go so far as to host a parade to see marketing done for their company. It’s kind of wild to see the efforts made by companies that have impacted the U.S. on a scale larger than your typical marketing campaign. This was a neat article.