There’s no shortage of Thanksgiving recipes—but brand managers looking to make a buzz this year have sidestepped tradition.
However, it’s a different set of recipes that have consumers and reporters talking.
Reynold’s Wrap created a recipe for a “flaming hot encrusted Turkey” that uses Flamin’ Hot Cheetos as its crust:
Have you heard the buzz? Our flaming hot encrusted Turkey is making all Millennials’ dreams come true – whether you’re hosting Friendsgiving or looking to spice up tradition! https://t.co/kBrMAq0CBP pic.twitter.com/hi5qEvmEgI
— Reynolds Wrap (@ReynoldsWrap) November 17, 2017
Though Delish called the recipe “insane” and the Mail Online named it “bizarre,” the PR stunt has already garnered several headlines. It probably will nab the company additional social media buzz after adventurous cooks test it (or Reynold’s alternative recipes using Funyuns and Cool Ranch Doritos) and post the results on Instagram.
Reynold’s isn’t the only company to offer an odd dish idea for Thanksgiving.
Ice cream shop Salt & Straw created Thanksgiving flavors that include Buttered Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey and Spiced Goat Cheese & Pumpkin Pie:
— Salt & Straw (@saltandstraw) November 17, 2017
— Salt & Straw (@saltandstraw) November 18, 2017
— Salt & Straw (@saltandstraw) November 19, 2017
Pringles also embraced Thanksgiving flavors by offering a handful of reporters and social media influencers a holiday meal to go:
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Straight out of the box, literally, Pringles sets a strong tone with packaging reminiscent of a classic Stouffer’s dinner, a cute touch for what aspires to be an entire meal of chips. Each of the eight flavors – Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Creamed Corn, Green Bean Casserole, Mac & Cheese and Pumpkin Pie – gets its own little nook. And upon opening, you’re greeted with the intriguing aromas of an actual Thanksgiving dinner.
As for the taste, well, as can probably be expected with eight new and experimental flavors – some of which don’t inherently lend themselves to potato chip incarnations – the different varieties were hit or miss. In general, the savory flavors were the more successful of the group. Obviously, something like Mashed Potatoes is a gimme, seeing as these are potato chips. The relatively straightforward flavor of Turkey worked as well. So instead, Green Bean Casserole was a standout if only for nailing a taste you wouldn’t expect to translate so well into a chip. Meanwhile, other savory items turned out how you might expect: Stuffing was reminiscent of bouillon seasoning; Mac & Cheese was a bit like a chip dipped in Kraft Mac powder. The savory department’s biggest loser had to be Cream Corn, which our tasters suggested suffered from an unwelcome sweetness.
It’s no surprise that brand managers are jumping on the opportunity to interact with consumers about food this Thanksgiving: Social media analytics firm Talkwalker reported that “turkey” has been mentioned more than 147,000 times in online posts over the past week. More than 90,000 posts named a specific side dish, including stuffing (23,000 mentions), mashed potatoes (12,600 mentions) and cranberries or cranberry sauce (17,000 mentions).
Yet, savvy communicators can boost engagement with more than just another helping of holiday food conversation.
Brand managers look to zany gifts and helpful services
Ignoring recipes but hoping to capitalize on the holiday excitement, other PR and marketing pros aimed their efforts at products and services that complement an already bulging fridge.
In a stunt that seemed more April Fools than Black Friday, Kentucky Fried Chicken has an “Internet Escape Pod” up for grabs—geared at consumers looking to escape the chaos of Cyber Monday. It’ll only set you back $10,000:
Escape from Cyber Monday with our one-of-a-kind Internet Escape Pod. Let Colonel Sanders and his protective dome help take you back to a simpler, internet-free time. https://t.co/3oIcv6NDtY pic.twitter.com/6sYqmMv7TZ
— KFC (@kfc) November 16, 2017
If you value chicken over turkey, KFC has other items for sale that carry much lower price tags.
For those that require stretchy pants to accommodate their holiday gorging behaviors, Stove Top announced Thanksgiving Dinner Pants:
The pants—which cost $19.98—have already sold out, but you can visit Stove Top’s site to see owners showing off their limited-edition garb.
Other brand managers are offering tips and services for the holiday—which aim at boosting sales while helping consumers through the holiday.
Butterball is once again promoting its Turkey Talk-Line:
Before you roast each other, make sure you know how to roast a turkey 😂 Text Butterball with all your Thanksgiving questions! pic.twitter.com/F7GFQnZGrA
— Butterball (@butterball) November 18, 2017
DraftKings is taking a different (but no less helpful) route by enticing consumers to take a break from “Thanxiety” with fantasy football:
Need Week 12 fantasy advice? Looking to avoid #Thanxiety this Turkey Day? @ThePME will be answering your questions this Thursday after the Vikings/Lions game LIVE on Periscope. pic.twitter.com/QtdkXvIrNj
— DraftKings (@DraftKings) November 21, 2017
How are you talking about Thanksgiving this year, PR Daily readers? Are you trying “insane” recipes or sporting merchandise geared for the holiday?