Thanksgiving PR turns to crazy turkey recipes, ‘internet escape pods’ and more

Brand managers are hoping to interact with consumers who are gearing up to enjoy the holiday feast—and many are hoping to stand out with wacky recipes, products and more.

There’s no shortage of Thanksgiving recipes—but brand managers looking to make a buzz this year have sidestepped tradition.

The Cooking Channel’s Facebook page and Twitter profile are filled with holiday dish inspirations—and many publications’ and organizations’ social media feeds tout similar messages:

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:

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:

Pringles also embraced Thanksgiving flavors by offering a handful of reporters and social media influencers a holiday meal to go:

Food & Wine reported:

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:

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:

DraftKings is taking a different (but no less helpful) route by enticing consumers to take a break from “Thanxiety” with fantasy football:

How are you talking about Thanksgiving this year, PR Daily readers? Are you trying “insane” recipes or sporting merchandise geared for the holiday?

Topics: PR

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