Macy's Day Parade: Thanksgiving New York City Marketing on the Move

By Izzy DeBellis | Group chief creative and strategy officer

November 28, 2014 | 3 min read

With Thanksgiving now a fading memory for this year, Izzy DeBellis, group chief creative & strategy officer of Naked Communications New York puts down a turkey leg to offer his views on one of the major elements of the day, the Macy's Day Parade and what it means as a major marketing opportunity for brands and the city itself.

Like most New Yorkers, I watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade from the comfort of my well heated living room. I have experienced the over crowded, kids on my shoulders and bad weather procession in person once, and that seemed to be enough. Don’t get me wrong, I love the parade and I love that I have walked the same streets that Pikachu floats over and I have sat in the same traffic in front of Macy’s as the Private Booty Float. It makes me feel connected to the experience.

However, the event is now designed to be broadcasted. Three million spectators versus 50 million viewers make it an obvious decision. So the money flows to where the eyeballs are watching. Lip syncing 40 second sound bites with announcers reading from well scripted copy written from the brand while the float settles in front of Macy’s for its allotted time. There are so many brands that not one stands out, and it is designed that way, very democratic according to the level of sponsorship you have paid for.

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All of the other brands including Macy's are just playing a role in Brand NYC. Other brands need to be careful to try and co-op a holiday that is meant to be all about family. Sure they can give out samples and coupons along the route, but if you try and steal the spotlight or create a stunt to bring disproportion attention, I fear you will get a backlash.

Costco might have had the best brand story outside of the Parade. They closed all of their stores for the day which made news and made employees and customers feel better about the brand. On average, Costco makes $286m per day, so it is no small gesture.

...I have to go now, Costco just opened up and I want to watch the Super Bowl on a 4D TV so I need go before they are all gone.


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