The smoky scent of hot dogs on the grill, relaxing in the water, watching fireworks light up the sky and walking past a sea of red, white and blue: These images have become synonymous with the Fourth of July. But capturing the sense of this festive, patriotic day in a marketing campaign takes planning. You can’t simply add a flag to your newsletter or social post and call it a day, especially if you want customers to remember your campaigns.
So what are some of the flashiest July 4th marketing campaigns that actually work? We’ll share a few of our favorites and discuss how you can dazzle customers for the holiday.
Highlight patriotic products
While most Americans are off for the Fourth of July, that doesn’t mean their spending is taking a vacation. The average household spends $346.50 on holiday food, beverages, transportation and supplies. So find a way to create and market a festive take on your products or services, like what M&M’s did with their small, iconic candies.
Even if you don’t create a Fourth of July-themed product like this one, you can still share a social media post or email that shines a red, white and blue light on what you offer. For example, use cutout images of your products in the nation’s colors and arrange them in a flag design. There are endless possibilities of what you can create but make a point to keep it festive: That’s what’s going to sell.
Tell a story
Sure, patriotic colors, phrases and images can be great components for any Fourth of July campaign. But as any marketing pro will tell you, being able to tell a story is even more powerful. Following student presentations at Stanford, a professor asked the class to write down what they remembered from what the other students shared: 63 percent remembered the stories, whereas only 5 percent remembered a statistic.
Our brains retain stories, especially ones that tug on our emotions. Budweiser proved that to be true with their “A Dream Delivered” video released in time for last July 4th.
Along with celebrity Adam Driver, the brand showed how they honored those who’ve served and protected our freedom (perfect for Independence Day). This campaign has all of the winning ingredients including a celebrity, good cause and feel-good moment, helping it to rack up 6.3 million views. The only thing that could make it better would be a cute animal cameo.
Consumers love watching deserving people get surprised with something special — think of all of the YouTube videos of families being reunited with someone who was serving overseas. You can even create a contest for people to nominate someone with a worthy story. That helps you build engagement before and during the campaign. Just be careful to make sure you’re telling a compelling story, instead of coming across as salesy or brand heavy. You want to be authentic.
Show your brand’s fun side
Holidays are a great time to add some humor and get a little corny with your content, so look for ways to tie in your products and services with the July 4th theme. Your messaging can be something simple, like this email campaign from World Market — which they sent five days in advance of the holiday.
They even made the deal to buy four or more, further playing off of the holiday. And if you send out the email early, follow up with another one the day of to wish them a “Happy Fourth of July” and remind them of your deal.
Schedule for success
Ideally, Fourth of July marketing campaigns perform better if sent on the Thursday before the holiday weekend and take a dip in opens during the weekend. But since Independence Day falls on a Wednesday this year, you can try sending the email the day of, like in this example from Williams-Sonoma.
This brand also used the subject line “July 4th Only: Free Shipping on Select Cookware” to create a sense of urgency to improve their engagement rates. The best time to send your message will depend on the content. For example, a deal like that would work best on July 4th, whereas a sale that runs for the entire week into the weekend should go out earlier.
You can create and time different components — such as an email that goes out the week before and a social post the day of — to tie your media channels together with one unified message. You can also target your segmented lists by personalizing the holiday messages to further engage them with relevant content.
Share an experience
Marketing campaigns will perform better if people are able to form a connection with them. Besides telling a story (or maybe in addition to), you can also sell the experience, like in this ad from Walmart.
They share relatable families who are looking for ways to enjoy the summer, highlighting different activities they can experience together. And oh yeah, Walmart is the place to buy everything they need to enjoy those things. The ad shows a little something for everyone in the family, helping them reach a range of ages and consumers. While this commercial is more focused on summer in general, it would also work for the Fourth of July. People are looking for ways to enjoy the holiday, so give them ideas with your products or services mixed in. If you don’t have specific products that will work for this model, you can still provide relevant tips and ideas, showing you care and want to provide something of value to them.
Spark customer interest
The bottom line is that the July 4th holiday should be an important part of your marketing calendar, so don’t forget to schedule campaigns that will light up your customers’ newsfeeds and inboxes. Your customers might be taking the day off, but your marketing strategy shouldn’t.