I blame Twitter, which loves a celebratory hashtag, especially if cats are involved, but these days there’s a national day for pretty much everything, especially if you’re an American. National Homemade Soup Day anyone? That’s in February, by the way. Of course, you don’t need a reason to run a prize promotion – in fact, all you need is a marketing objective – but a special day or event can be a great focus for a competition or prize draw.
Why? Because everyone already knows what it’s all about and they may be quite excited about it. Much of the marketing push has already been done by someone else and you just have to slot your prize promotion into that mix, merely making sure that it fits in with ease, but is still distinctive enough to stand out from the crowd.
I haven’t got a crystal ball, but I have put together a list of events that I can confidently predict will happen in 2018 and which will make ideal themes. Many come round year after year and some are regular highlights in the sporting calendar, but this year we also – cue the confetti cannon – have a royal wedding to look forward to. So, in date order, my top 12 events to hang a prize promotion on for 2018 are:
- Valentine’s Day 14 February
- World Book Day 1 March
- Mother’s Day 11 March
- National Teachers’ Day 9 May
- Royal wedding 19 May
- World Cup 14 June – 15 July
- Father’s Day 17 June
- Wimbledon 2 – 15 July
- Kissing Day 6 July
- Tour de France 7 – 29 July
- Halloween 31 October
- World Kindness Day 13 November
Now, despite Hallmark’s best efforts, no-one actually owns Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, so your prize promotion can manifest itself in any shape or form. The same cannot be said of the World Cup or Wimbledon, though. Companies such as Coca-Cola and Visa pay enormous sums of money to associate their mega-brands with a tournament that has such enormous global reach and you can’t simply take over their turf. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t run a promotion which ties in with the World Cup, you just have to be a bit clever about it (and this is something I’ll be posting more about in the near future).
Likewise, the CAP Code is rather strict about promotions which appear to have the royal seal of approval when they don’t, but, again, if you’re smart you can ride on the coat tails of Harry and Meghan’s nuptials and reap the benefits of a royal association without committing treason or breaching the CAP Code (which are pretty much the same thing in my book).
I should point out that the above top 12 are all UK or international events, but if you’d like some other ideas, have a look at the US-based National Day Calendar website, which features nigh-on 1500 special days, weeks and months, or Thoughtfully Marketing’s 2018 planner, which notes a good selection of key dates. The BBC has a comprehensive rundown of major sporting events for 2018 or, if a more serious approach will chime better with your brand, consult the UN’s list of awareness-raising days.
I have to say that 2017 was a good year for me – I launched Prizeology, worked on some brilliant prize promotions and saw the company grow rapidly, all of which has been very enjoyable and pleasing – and I hope that 2018 is even better for everyone. So all that remains is for me to say is thank you for reading and happy new year!
PS Except I can’t go without mentioning a national day that’s a particular personal favourite – yes, 14 January is Dress Up Your Pet Day. Obviously, it’s coming up soon and time is tight for planning your tie-in promotion, but that shouldn’t stop you and your pet joining in the fun, and it’s certainly one to bear in mind for next year…
Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist, an IPM Board Director, and a SCAMbassador for National Trading Standards Scams Team.
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