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National days of things are played out

Today is National Bologna Day.

Don’t freak out, marketers. There’s still plenty of time to shoot something for social media. A tray full of bologna sandwiches with old-school Wonderbread slices and lettuce leaves rakishly askew, and a carefully curated selection of hands reaching in to grab one? Or just reboot the National Hot Dog Day pics (July 17, 2019)?

Whatever you do, be sure to throw a hashtag on it (#nationalbolognaday, #bolognaday) so we can measure it. Easiest way to pump the numbers by far! Throw up something delicious, nostalgic or adorable and watch the likes and comments roll in.  

The problem is, as a content strategy, it’s sooooo lazy and tedious. Can we stop?

There are three chief problems I see with these made-up holidays from a content standpoint:

  1. Many brands and agencies lean way too heavily on these completely imaginary national days to fill their feeds.
  2. Many of them are nonsensical and/or and nakedly commercial. For your consideration: National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day (Nov. 7, 2019); Lash Stylists’ Day (Oct. 22, 2019); or Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbors Day (Feb. 7, 2020), which happens to coincide with Working Naked Day, just to illustrate my point.
  3. Unless the “holiday” directly aligns with your brand or speaks deeply to your customers, it’s kind of a wasted opportunity. If you’ve got eyeballs – and especially if you’re paying for eyeballs – give them high quality content that makes them want to buy your stuff. The end.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not going to make an argument that attention given to made-up holidays particularly detracts from the national discourse (have you listened to the national discourse lately?) or is some larger metaphor in our increasingly attention-fractured modern lives.

But these faux commemorations are predictable and uninspired from a content standpoint, and dammit, we can do better. What do you think? Want to share a brand or agency you think does these posts correctly? Or just want to crack up at some really bad ones? Drop a screenshot or comment below.

I’ll start with a virtual high five for MarionMade!, a collaboration between the local chamber of commerce, convention and visitors bureau, United Way and others to promote life in Marion, Ohio. At least they found an authentic, local angle on National Bologna Day.

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