Will Macy’s parade spot connect with new consumers?

Discussion
Photo: Getty Images
Nov 07, 2016

Macy’s is celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For the first time, the event will be the focus of a TV commercial.

The commercial, “Old Friends: A Tribute to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” follows a man’s experience with the parade from youth to old age — with a link to Santa to boot.

“We know from communications with our customers and research that Macy’s is a brand that brings friends and family together and we really took that idea and that insight and that’s what put us on this journey to create this commercial,” Joe Feczko, SVP of Macy’s integrated marketing, told Advertising Age.

Macy’s said in a statement that since its start in 1924, the Thanksgiving Day Parade has marked “the official start of the holiday season, introducing a cherished march of magic that has dazzled generations of fans.”

For the 90th year celebration, the event will feature 16 giant character balloons; 27 novelty/ornament balloons, balloonicles and trycaloons; 26 floats; more than 8,000 volunteers, 1,100 cheerleaders and dancers; more than 1,000 clowns; 16 marching bands and performance groups, and as always will be capped off by the “the one-and-only Santa Claus.”

New balloons this year include Charlie Brown, Diary of A Wimpy Kid and characters from DreamWorks’ Trolls. Music stars this year include Tony Bennett, Sarah McLachlan, Aloe Blacc, Regina Spektor and De La Soul. More than 3.5 million spectators are projected to line the streets of Manhattan while more than 50 million will watch on TV.

Macy’s doesn’t disclose the costs of the parade. Parade spokesman Orlando Veras said in a 2013 interview with NBC San Diego, “Macy’s views the Parade as a gift to the City of New York and the nation. Like any good gift, you cut off the price tag when you give it, so we keep to that tradition as well.”

The anniversary comes a year after Macy’s reported a challenging 2015 holiday season. In August, Macy’s announced it would close 100 underperforming locations or 15 percent of its stores.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Considering its recent challenges, should Macy’s rethink its investments in the Thanksgiving Day Parade? What benefits do you think Macy’s derives from the event?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Macy’s would not be Macy’s without its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. "
"I am hoping that Macy’s and many of the participating brands really push the envelope on geo-targeted Snapchat filters this year..."
"Macy’s does have its challenges but this is not the battle that should be fought unless they want to lose the war completely."

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14 Comments on "Will Macy’s parade spot connect with new consumers?"


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Max Goldberg
Guest

The idea of Macy’s not staging the Thanksgiving Day Parade is abhorrent. For Macy’s to walk away from the parade would be to admit defeat.

Jasmine Glasheen
BrainTrust
Jasmine Glasheen
Principal Writer & Content Strategist, Jasmine Glasheen & Associates
5 years 6 months ago

Macy’s is trying to monetize their Thanksgiving Day Parade by turning it into a TV commercial, reminding customers of the company’s history. This is a great strategy, since modern customers are apt to forget the holiday dazzle that was once synonymous with the department store giant.

To cancel the parade would be to admit defeat. The company is wise, though, to publicize the event as much as possible.

Robert DiPietro
Guest

The parade is an investment in brand building. It’s unlikely that the expense can be directly tied to any lift in sales. I think it has to be thought of as a branding exercise … no different than putting your name on a sports venue.

Frank Riso
Guest

Never. The parade is as much a tradition as are Thanksgiving and football. The amount of advertising and benefits Macy’s receives far outweigh the costs. If anything Macy’s should use the parade more for their benefit and to get the company back on the right track. Since Macy’s is now more of a national chain the parade gives them more exposure to the rest of the country, not just in New York City. It is and always will (or should) be a Thanksgiving tradition. If you have never been there you have missed one of life’s greatest events!

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

Macy’s would not be Macy’s without its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. It is the way by which most of America first became aware of the brand. However, I am not sure the impact of the parade on all the typical metrics of brand loyalty, sales, etc. is measurable.

Zel Bianco
BrainTrust

They must go on with the show! Macy’s and the Thanksgiving Day Parade are so much a part of the holiday season and in fact the parade is the start of the holiday season. We are fortunate enough to watch it live from my office on 6th Avenue, but even for those who watch at home while getting things ready — even when it’s on in the background — it is pure Americana and after this dreadful election cycle I think we could all use something we can agree on.

Macy’s does have its challenges but this is not the battle that should be fought unless they want to lose the war completely. The Macy’s brand and image is worth the money they spend to put it on.

Charles Dimov
Guest

Macy’s has been great at embracing the omnichannel retail vision. To continue along that line, Macy’s needs to think of some creative ways of getting people to engage digitally on social and to make Macy’s a special destination after the show. When someone engages socially on a tweet, engage them and let them know of a “tweeter” special at Macy’s as a little thank you for their positive tweet. Leverage the parade to drive traffic to the store after some form of social media engagement.

Make it part of the omnichannel experience!

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a major piece of their brand. Changing or altering it could be detrimental. It has become an important part of the start of the holiday season. Could business be impacted if the parade were altered or eliminated? Yes. Will this happen? No. (I hope.)

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

The parade is really the only thing that Macy’s does to communicate their brand. It seems any other promotional money they spend is all about deals. That is not brand building. As the age of the department store wanes, the value of the Macy’s brand will continue, if just because of the parade.

Lee Kent
Guest

The Macy’s Parade is an icon and serves to reinforce the history of that great store. If they can further capitalize on it through ads that is a great move. It probably won’t offset much of the cost but will keep the Macy’s name and their heritage in front of folks throughout the holiday season.

Also, looking at the line-up of the parade, it covers many diverse interests. Isn’t that one of the keys to a successful department store? Having something for everyone? So if Macy’s could carry the diversity displayed in the parade — music genres, excitement — back to their stores, they may be able to extend their heritage.

For my 2 cents.

Mel Kleiman
BrainTrust

Macy’s, like any company, need to always evaluate the way they spend/invest their money. In today’s challenging and rapidly-changing world nothing is sacred.

In this case I think Macy’s is making the right decisions by continuing to sponsor the parade and looking how to maximize the return on investment.

Tom Redd
Guest

Macy’s will never cut the parade. It is a core portion of their marketing strategy and is becoming more and more of a social tool via star appearances and fashion promotion. The price of a tradition is not that critical — especially when the tradition blocks out negative feelings or images of a retailer or person.

I like the parade and have watched it for many, many years — even back when Terry/Tina’s daughters were very young.

See you at the parade.

Even if you do not like Macy’s watch it for the operational wonders — so much great work goes into this well-coordinated event. Amazing teamwork!

Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon)
Guest

Naming rights on events and facilities that provide high-profile exposure for a brand have to focus, as do all other investments, on maximizing the investment. The number of exposures and the quality of the exposure as they reflect brand attributes maximizes ROI. Because broadcast, online and social media offer extraordinary reach, Macy’s can reap richer rewards each year that media exposure is advanced further.

Kim Garretson
Guest
5 years 6 months ago

I am hoping that Macy’s and many of the participating brands really push the envelope on geo-targeted Snapchat filters this year, where parade viewers will be broadcasting fun filtered snaps as the floats go by. I would think this tactic and other location-based content capture and sharing is one way Macy’s and the other sponsors can begin to measure more results from the parade than TV viewers and standard social sharing.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Macy’s would not be Macy’s without its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. "
"I am hoping that Macy’s and many of the participating brands really push the envelope on geo-targeted Snapchat filters this year..."
"Macy’s does have its challenges but this is not the battle that should be fought unless they want to lose the war completely."

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