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Thanksgiving Day Parade Gives Advertisers a Reason to be Thankful

November 21st, 2016   ||    by Callie Wheeler   ||    No Comments

Who would guess the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade draws in more viewers than the Oscars? The annual tradition is an advertiser’s dream, with consistent ratings year over year, even as other aspects of the television landscape change.

Still not aware how important the parade is? USA Today’s For The Win points out that last year the parade was one of only four non-NFL fall programs to make the list of the 30 most-watched television events. As the parade’s 90th run approaches, we can assume it’ll leave many advertisers thankful for more than just pumpkin pie that day. Let’s look at how advertisers across industries capitalize on the broadcast’s reach and audience.

Reaching Families

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade runs every Thanksgiving from 9 AM to noon, providing an ideal backdrop for families gathering for the holiday—Time reports that over 50 million viewers watch throughout the morning, many of them probably doing so while cooking and preparing for guests. This family demographic is consistently valuable to advertisers, with industries purchasing ad space and indicating their interest in reaching families nationwide.

According to AdWeek, NBC saw the strongest advertising interest last year from the retail, automotive, wireless, and film industries, each taking advantage of prime placement in front of American families. NBC’s Dan Lovinger pointed out that the parade itself features all family-friendly content, which is attractive to advertisers and can be hard to come by in today’s programming.

Black Friday Shopping

Turkey and family aren’t the only Thanksgiving traditions these days, as Black Friday shopping has increasingly secured its spot as a holiday staple. Retail forms a significant part of the parade not only because of the audience watching, but because the industry is preparing for one of the biggest shopping days—and seasons—of the year. Black Friday opens up the holiday shopping season, so it’s the perfect time for retailers to showcase new products, sales, and gift ideas to a captive audience.

Local Reach

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, along with plenty of other parades around the country, is also an opportunity for local advertisers to reach viewers through local broadcast affiliates. The parade provides local businesses the opportunity to reach a large, highly-engaged audience that’s viewing the program locally, thereby concentrating ad spend on priority audiences gathered in one place, at one time.

In effect, these parades demonstrate the enduring (and reliable) benefits of traditional broadcast television to both national and local advertisers in a way that few other events can, even as the television landscape continues to evolve.

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