A Decade of Thanksgiving to Remember
Thanksgiving is a time for reflection, fellowship, and being thankful for the good things in your life. Whether you’re spending the holidays with family, friends, colleagues, or whomever, take the time to be appreciative that all you have. As we strive to do better for ourselves, we can forget to take a moment to enjoy the weather, companionship, our health, etc. This season, at TalenAlexander, we initially wanted to do an article highlighting our favorite Thanksgiving ads in expanding our conversation on Holiday Marketing. However, in looking at the divide across the U.S., we chose to take a different approach.
The doubts and concerns expressed by Americans in the shifting political landscape boiled over in the recent Presidential election. Taking a look back at Thanksgiving over the past decade, has helped provide us with some perspective, and we’d like to share it with you.
Former President George W. Bush pardon’s Thanksgiving Day turkeys “Fryer” and “Flyer” during the 59th National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation
Earthcam, a webcam content curation site archived the 2006 world famous, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Before SnapChat, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and basically every other social media app existed, Earthcam was a global network of cameras with, “A reputation for creating opportunities for viewers to experience events without leaving their homes.”
Named after the holiday itself, Thanksgiving, is a horror film, which isn’t necessarily on-brand with the holiday theme.
On a day when everyone is giving thanks, four friends sat down for Thanksgiving dinner. With a knock at the door, the young couples thought they were helping another person in need, but instead found themselves living a horrific experience by being bound, beaten, tortured and killed. This film is based on actual events!
While not exactly filled with wholesome values, it did earn a 7/10 on IMDB.com. Go figure.
Moving on, we notice what might be a common theme with films named after the annual festivities. While of the same name, the 2007 short film Thanksgiving featured a different theme.
When his boyfriend leaves him to his own devices on Thanksgiving. Tom finds himself himself overtaken by a different kind of hunger. Consumed with lust. He prowls the Internet until he finds Tucker-a beautiful piece of man meat that seems too good to be true…..and maybe he is.
Just like the 2006 feature length, it’s definitely not a family-friendly movie.
Celebrity influencer, chef, entrepreneur, television personality, and media mogul, Martha Stewart, released a special Thanksgiving menu. Brand loyalists were able to download a printable PDF version of Stewart’s 2007 spread, as well as, templates for table place cards, invitations, and menus for visitors to create their own custom versions
And going for the three-peat, we have a 2008 short film entitled, Thanksgiving. Limited information exists on the project, however, there’s definitely something to holiday-themed theatrical releases. While there are a number of other titles focusing on the holiday, most projects tend to stay clear of incorporating the holiday’s actual title.
President George W. Bush spends the final Thanksgiving of his eight-year term in the White House. All business as usual, he issued the annual presidential pardon to turkeys, “Pumpkin” and “Pecan.”
And the streak is over. No films entitled, Thanksgiving, to mention in 2009. While there were several stories centered around the holiday, none solely featured the holiday as its name. Moving forward though…
Professional golfer Tiger Woods was involved in a scandal that would not only shock the sporting world, but the entire world. Woods marital infidelity was exposed to the world, as the world champion’s personal life became a hot topic. Details of the events preceding Woods’ 2009 Thanksgiving were a reminder to onlookers that even the most successful people struggle with demons.
Barack Obama, the first president to be born outside of the continental U.S., celebrated his first Thanksgiving in office. A landmark moment for United States, it was celebrated the world over. Issues of Obama’s ethnicity brought race into the fold of American politics like never before, as voters and citizens inquired about his racial identity.
The New York Times released their first Wells Vegetarian Thanksgiving list. The menu consists of vegetarian and vegan dishes from world-renown and celebrity chefs, curated by The Times Pete Wells. While a major publication like the NY Times featuring a health conscious Thanksgiving meal is huge, 2010 had bigger revelations about the state of America.
Thanks to research done Angus Deaton, Ph.D. and Daniel Kahneman, Ph.D., studies revealed the two key components of happiness.
After analyzing more than 450,000 GHWBI responses from 2008 and 2009, Dr. Deaton and Dr. Kahneman found that happiness is actually the result of the fulfillment of two abstract psychological states — emotional well-being and life evaluation.
The studies also revealed the “magic number” for household incomes to be happy. And that number was $75,000. “…The most reported finding is that people with an annual household income of $75,000 are about as happy as anyone gets.”
And, no. No Thanksgiving title films this year, either.
For the second straight year, the NY Times publishes their second annual ‘Wells Vegetarian Thanksgiving’ list. However, a study by the International Food Information Council Foundation [IFICF] revealed the truth about American diets.
As the US economy sputters, more Americans report that the price of food is a significant factor in how they are making food purchasing decisions. Seventy-nine percent of consumers say price impacts their decision when deciding which foods and beverages to purchase—a six percent increase from 2010 and a noteworthy 15 percent increase since 2006. Sixty-one percent of Americans also state that price drives their menu decisions at restaurants.
While attitudes towards healthier eating were improving, unfortunately the economy began forcing households to weigh price over nutrition.
For the third year in-a-row, the NY Times released their Wells Vegetarian Thanksgiving list. *Spoiler Alert* The Times continues this tradition currently, but they’re not the only ones. The continuing shift in attitudes towards health-conscious living has brought on a wealth of vegetarian Thanksgiving menus.
As part of the health-conscious movement, the Smithsonian released an interactive map that allowed site visitors to track where there meals where coming from; The maps compiled data from ESRI and the 2007 United States Department of Agriculture’s Census of Agriculture.
Additionally, online retail sales during Thanksgiving witnessed exponential growth from the previous calendar year. Cyber Monday ( which made its debut in 2005) sales made online retailers a force to be reckoned with by brick-and-mortar retailers.
All those mobile payment increases from PayPal, GSI, and eBay are starting to make sense. Shoppers really were going crazy this year compared to last: Thanksgiving Day online traffic increased 71 percent in 2012 versus 2011.
Image sharing app Instagram broke their record for images uploaded, for a second year in a row. The app had previously set new marks for pictures uploaded on Thanksgiving of 2012, only to out-do themselves a year later. Users flocked at the opportunity to view festive photos of holiday eats and happenings. Only seven years prior, Earthcam was the leading technology in curating Thanksgiving experiences the world over. The company’s success has led to advertising expanding onto the platform to connect with their user base.
Alas, the return of the Thanksgiving in the form of a film of the same name. After a six year hiatus, a feature-length film inspired by the holiday returns to our list. Here’s a synopsis,
It’s Thanksgiving, and Amy and Alex are in love. But Alex’s plans to marry his girlfriend are disrupted by the arrival of Will — A stranger, introduced as Amy’s brother. when Alex and Will find themselves on a hike together the next day, Alex confronts his suspicions, and discovers Will’s true identity as Amy’s former lover.
After reading the summary, it’s clear that the tradition of film’s delineating from their holiday themes continues. More importantly though, National Public Radio released a reported detailing the Economics of Thanksgiving. The study focused on the drop in gasoline prices subsequently led to increases in travel, food shopping, and retail shopping. Following NPRs report, TechCrunch reported Thanksgiving sales exceeding $1B dollars; $89B online.
Lastly, 2015 witnessed one of the most brilliant branding moves we’ve seen in years. While all the aforementioned data on increased spending during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you would think retailers would further align with the holiday. Well, not for brands like REI, Nordstrom, Home Depot, Staples, and Harbor Freight; click here for full list. REI, an outdoor sporting goods company, even gave their employees paid time-off for the holidays.
In taking a stance against the madness created by sales, these consumer brands gave their employees the day off. “The holiday has become less about giving thanks, and more about shoving people out of your way to snag a television set for 75% off.” – Michael Addady, Fortune Magazine
Over the last decade, we’ve witnessed some trying times. Nonetheless, whether in our own homes, local community, or on a national scale, we’ve persevered and made it through another year. As you gather round with family, remember that no matter how bad things look, they can always get better. As long as you can still recognize all you have to be thankful for, there’s always a chance.