Marketers' wins and losses (and recalls) this Thanksgiving

By November 21, 2018Advertising

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Happy Thanksgiving, readers. We’re bringing you a bit of a holiday-themed edition this week. Please be careful when cooking your turkey, throw out any romaine you’d planned to serve (who serves salad at Thanksgiving?) and don’t be the person whose Black Friday doorbuster antics end up on the internet.

Butterball’s Alexa skill Credit: Butterball

Alexa, how do I cook a turkey?

Butterball’s Turkey Talk-Line, around since 1981, got a tech-savvy update this year with the introduction of an Alexa skill. So far, the most common questions within the Alexa skill were how long to roast a turkey, what size turkey to buy, and how long it takes to thaw one’s turkey. People can also still call in, email or go online to chat with the Butterball experts who receive about 100,000 questions every November and December.

Recall? What recall?

On Nov. 15, Hormel Foods recalled about 91,388 pounds of raw ground turkey sold under the Jennie-O Turkey Store brand due to possible Salmonella Reading contamination. The recall, linked to one illness, covered products with use or freeze by dates of Oct. 1 or Oct. 2, so this isn’t any turkey anyone would (or should) be serving tomorrow. The recall wasn’t mentioned on Hormel’s Nov. 20 quarterly call, though Hormel did say it was “another difficult year” at Jennie-O as there’s too much turkey in the industry. Whole bird sales were down last quarter, while sales of lean ground turkey rose. Jennie-O is one of the brands Hormel says it plans to support with advertising in 2019, along with SPAM, Hormel pepperoni, Hormel Natural Choice, and Columbus.

Skip the salad

If for some reason you’d planned to serve salad at Thanksgiving, you have one day to rethink the menu. The CDC announced people shouldn’t eat any romaine lettuce due to an ongoing E.coli investigation. As of Tuesday afternoon, 32 people were infected in 11 states.

The obvious kids’ choice

There are those picky eaters, particularly kids, who don’t like turkey and other Thanksgiving standbys, even just once a year. Kraft is coming to their rescue with a plea to serve its macaroni and cheese, of course. The idea, according to a video from Leo Burnett, is to offer Kraft mac & cheese to keep the peace at the festive meal. According to the brand, 75 percent of American families claim to have at least one picky eater. How scientific is this finding? It comes from a two-day survey of just 623 households with kids ranging from two-to-12 years old.

The family that tokes together

California Dreamin’ has declared this to be Parents Appreciation Week in its push to get Baby Boomers interested in its low-dose cannabis soft drinks. Customers who bring a parent into a California dispensary and buy two bottles ($8 to $10 each) get a third bottle for a penny and receive a code for a free “I got my [Mom/Dad/Parents] high” shirt. “Older consumers are the most interested and cautious group of buyers; we wanted to create an event that takes away the stigma of purchasing marijuana for older adults,” Jonathan Bishop, VP of marketing, said in a statement.

Credit: California Dreamin’

Speaking of drinking, which calls itself the nation’s leading online wine retailer, just got a cash infusion to grow bigger. The retailer announced this week that it raised $32.5 million via funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s Private Credit Group. plans to use the investment to build brand awareness and to enhance its customer experience. The company will pour some of the money into its mobile app, which today generates 30 percent of its revenue.

Would you buy this?

Chili’s is selling this swimsuit (and other apparel) online on Cyber Monday.

Credit: Chili’s

Number of the week

420 – the average amount, in dollars, holiday shoppers say they’ll spend between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, according to Deloitte.

Tweet of the week

Comings and goings

Target CEO Brian Cornell is now non-executive chairman of Yum Brands, the parent of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. Cornell, who has been on Yum’s board since 2015, succeeds Robert Walter, who is retiring from the post but retains a seat on the board.

Contributing: Jessica Wohl, E.J. Schultz

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