Five Keys Needed To Successfully Market A Holiday

Many stores are marketing Cinco de Mayo specials, hoping it will become the next St. Patrick’s Day. But Ken Muench–director of strategic planning at Draftfcb, who has worked with Tecate and Taco Bell (and grew up in Mexico City)–says the gimmick is missing some necessary ingredients.

To be an ideal marketer’s holiday, the event needs . . .

  • Original cultural authenticity (♣)
  • Rituals you can commercialize (★)
  • Culture that’s easily hyped (♦)
  • Communal opportunities (♥)
  • Historical distance (♠)

* Long weekends like this aren’t prime holidays; they’re just good for people to take advantage of sales.
** Preexistence is key. Marketing can only capitalize on a holiday–even one as seemingly manufactured as V-Day. Its precursor is an ancient Roman love fest called Lupercalia.

What’s next? Holi, the Indian festival of color. Says Muench, “It has all the ingredients: cultural authenticity, tons of rituals, you can dress up, and it’s communal. As the Asian population continues to explode in the U.S., my bet is we’ll see Holi become something commercial in 20 years.”

[Illustrations by Bigshot Toyworks]