News & Press: General

The weird and wonderful awareness days your brand could utilise

27 February 2019  
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Alex Lawrence, Copy & Content Executive, IPM

The usual and familiar annual holidays – Valentine’s Day, Pancake Day, Easter - are all big business for brands. Savvy reported that 8 percent of UK shoppers were planning to get involved in Valentine’s Day this year, predicting spending to reach £853m. This reflects the fact that when these holidays come around, consumers are in a buying mindset and are therefore more likely to pay your brand some attention. This is often the perfect opportunity for brands to create themed activations to spark shopper interest.

However, because holidays like Easter are so popular with brands when it comes to creating great promotions or activations, it can mean it’s often hard to stand out from the crowd. This Easter, we can expect to see a lot of brand activity, with huge names like Cadbury monopolising the season.

That’s when, especially for smaller brands, the niche and less familiar national / international holidays can be helpful…

Recently, some brands stood out by not solely focusing on Valentine’s Day as most brands do, but also activating for Galentine’s Day – a newly invented holiday created to celebrate female friendships.

Regular Twitter users will be familiar with this breed of National and International Days, Weeks and Months that frequently trend. It’s not usually clear where these days dedicated to random things come from – only that they’re usually heavily talked about on social media for that day. This is sometimes simply because they are so completely random – there’s everything from National Love Your Pet Day to British Pie Week. Even when people take to Twitter to exclaim that “#NationalTeaDay isn’t even a real thing!”, they’re unwittingly boosting the hashtag and giving the event even more attention. Ultimately, whether you love or hate these days, they’re talked about so much online that it’s now impossible to ignore them.

The other kind of dedicated awareness events that trend are those raising important contemporary issues, like Disabled Access Day or University Mental Health Day. These are usually created by charities or foundations and are a great way of spreading important messages to new audiences.

Sometimes, the subject of the event will get a week or even an entire month dedicated to it. These are usually a bit more well-known: February was both LGBT History Month and Dechox, the British Heart Foundation’s initiative that encouraged people to get sponsored for giving up chocolate.

So, what does this mean for brands?

Well, given that pretty much everything and anything has a dedicated day, week or month, it means that there are plenty of chances for brands to promote themselves in quirky and unusual ways by focusing on their niche.

Below are some great examples of brands that have done just that:

Fairtade Fortnight

Fairtrade may have been the buzz a few years ago, but it seems to have quietly moved off the radar recently – perhaps overshadowed by the cruelty-free and veganism movements. Nevertheless, this isn’t necessarily a negative thing. As shown recently, it can actually be a great opportunity for creating brand activations that really stand out.

A perfect example is Rosine’s Hot Chocolate Salon which runs from 25th February to 3rd March, in time for Fairtrade Fortnight. The pop-up salon, secretly hidden in a newsagent, is named after a real cocoa farmer from the Ivory Coast and aims to highlight the importance of fair living incomes. The drinks served will cost £1.86, the same as the daily income required for a household to afford a decent standard of living in the Ivory Coast and a contrast to the average wage of 74p for a hard day’s work as a cocoa farmer. All money raised by the hot chocolate salon will go towards programmes such as the Women’s School of Leadership, which aims to empower women cocoa farmers in West Africa to become business owners and leaders in their communities.

Blue Monday

Supposedly the ‘most depressing day’ of the year, Blue Monday 2019 proved to be a great opportunity for brands to activate – even if it was ironically…

World Coffee Day & World Poetry Day

Clearly a fan of dedicated days, Viennese family-owned coffee company, Julius Meinl celebrated both World Poetry Day in 2017 and WorldCoffee Day in 2018 with thoughtful and unusual campaigns. In 2017, the brand celebrated its fourth annual ‘Pay With A Poem’ initiative, offering customers the chance to pay for a hot beverage with a handwritten poem. In 2018, the brand aimed to bring people together ‘in real life’ rather than online, by offering 2-for-1 coffee for stories or poems co-written by friends.

Galentine’s Day

The ultimate anti-Valentine’s Day, which focused on female friendships rather than romance proved popular with brands this year, with many offering prize promotions for women and their ‘gal’ friends.

While the big annual events and holidays are definitely not to be missed, it’s worth being aware of a few relevant, smaller scale awareness days to give your brand a boost.

So note down National Fish and Chip Day on the 7th June. It could come in handy.

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