“I’m not surprised [National Days] have become a marketing opportunity for companies,” added Anderson, the calendar keeper. “I think it’s great that it’s become that, because in today's world where we’re bombarded with bad news all the time, isn’t it great you can go to Twitter and see National Doughnut Day was the top trend even though there was a bombing someplace.”
This year, Mtn Dew celebrated National Hot Sauce Day (Jan. 22) with Baja Blast Hot Sauce, a bottled hot sauce built of the tropical flavors of the soft drink with a spicy kick from iBurn, a Houston-based sauce shop. The company is making just 750 bottles; they will be given away to Mtn Dew social followers.
For Boston Market, establishing National Rotisserie Chicken Day helped to highlight its signature food on a day (June 2) that typically comes during a slow period for the chain, said Joe Alvarez, senior VP of sales, catering and operations for the 292-unit restaurant chain. The day was championed by its then-CEO George Michel and established in 2015.
Last year, Boston Market celebrated its holiday by offering rotisserie chickens at $6.02, and its catering division offered a $7.99 dinner with sides. But Alvarez says the real value of the holiday for the brand is the opportunity to talk about what makes its birds different. “It’s Rotisserie Chicken Day, not Boston Market Day,” Alvarez noted. “We can talk about the rotisserie style of cooking and what differs us from others who serve rotisserie chicken like the big box stores and grocery stores.”
Food conglomerates such as Hormel have a range of brands that can stay busy throughout the year with holidays. Hormel’s Applegate brand celebrated National Hot Dog Day last July 20 by upgrading street vendor hot dog carts to eco-friendly battery power, promoting its eco-friendly Do Good Dog brand.
“Food brands have a special connection with consumers, and since Hormel Foods covers such a broad range, with everything from National Peanut Butter Lover's Day to National Bacon Lovers Day and everything in between, recognizing these days are fun ways to build on and strengthen those connections,” said Lisa Selk, VP, marketing-retail at Hormel Foods.
“The national holidays can be a lot of fun, because people are always looking for reasons to celebrate,” McCormick's Kokorus said. “And over the last few years, especially, people really are looking for moments to connect and celebrate. And so for us, we’ve had success leveraging those moments of celebration and finding the ones that are really genuine and authentic for our business, and for our consumers.
“There’s a magic that comes together when you can leverage something that's meaningful for the brand and for consumers,” she continued. “And Mustard Day has become that kind of piece of magic for us.”