For PR professionals, Valentine’s Day is not just a chance to buy chocolate or send flowers; it’s a hook, a trend, or a fun angle to pitch your client. Holidays in general are an opportunity to get creative and reach out to the media in their time of need. Most industries can find a way to position themselves in major holiday trends. The auto industry owns Presidents’ Day, while retail is king of Christmas. And I think we all know who St. Patty’s Day belongs to (hint: anything involving alcohol).
But what about the little guys? The bath tub manufacturers and hot dog makers of this world? Don’t worry, they are doing just fine. Those companies that can’t ride the holiday wave, create it. IHOP is a model example of a company that perfected the obscure holiday. In 2006, IHOP deemed February 5th National Pancake Day. Since then, the company has done three things that all obscure holidays should employ if they want to survive.
1. Give out free stuff.
Every year, IHOP gives customers a free short stack of Buttermilk pancakes.
2. Be socially responsible.
In return for said pancakes, they encourage customers to donate to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. To date, IHOP has raised over $10 million dollars in charitable donations.
3. Stay Consistent.
This year marked the seventh annual National Pancake Day and every year it’s on the same day, with the same offer, and the same charity.
Here are few obscure holidays that could learn a thing or two from IHOP:
- If Pets Had Thumbs Day (March 3rd )
- Draw A Picture of a Bird Day (April 7th)
- National Salad Month (May)
- Turkey Lovers Month (June)
- National Cell Phone Courtesy Month (July)
- Wiggle Your Toes Day (August 6th)
- National Piano Month (September)
- Apple Jack Month (October)
- Have a Party with Your Bear Day (November 16th)
- Bingo Month (December)
- Old Rock Day (January 7th )
- National Public Sleeping Day (February 28th)
Holidays can be an easy way for PR folks to promote a client, but like all things, these “special days” are what you make of them. There is a reason why you have heard of National Pancake Day, but none of the above celebrations.
Although, I may take part in National Public Sleeping Day. I think the neck pillow industry could really leverage this one.