In the US marketing calendar, the fourth of July is not just a celebration of independence but also a prime moment for brands to grab attention and market share. Although the products and services people use throughout the holiday are fairly focused (hello BBQs and parades), the nature of the holiday means that just about every brand can find a way to connect with customers and celebrate with them.
In the midst of the vaccination rollout in 2021, July 4 is proving to be a time of reunion and renewed freedom. According to the National Retail Federation annual statistics, this year, 84% of Americans are planning to celebrate, with cookouts/BBQs/picnics clinching the top spot as the preferred way. The food industry is a big winner as well, with an average food spend of $80.54 predicted per person. But whatever niche or category, brands can and should spread the holiday cheer in a way that best reflects their values and those of their target audience.
In that spirit, we’ve rounded up some of the best July 4th marketing campaigns that spoke “freedom” for us and explained why. Take a look:
Budweiser – High-level marketing collaboration
The iconic beer brand has gone all-out this year with a fantastic 4th July commercial, featuring actor Bill Pullman in a reprise of his character in the 1996 film, Independence Day. The “President” is seen giving a stirring speech behind a podium emblazoned with the Presidential seal – but this time, it’s about Americans coming together to fight the pandemic, rather than aliens. The tongue-in-cheek yet defiant tone hits all the right notes, part of a joint effort by Budweiser manufacturer Anheuser-Busch and the White House, who teamed up to promote vaccinating the majority of the population by July 4. If the goal is reached, the brand even pledged to buy a round of beer for every American aged 21 and over.
Banana Republic – Native content
When recommendations are one of the top ways to get brand recognition, Banana Republic joined with PopSugar, the popular online media company, to promote an article of top fashion picks from their 4th July sale. When promoted natively, with an editorial style look and feel, what could be a standard catalog sale page turns into an engaging, interesting article with relevant links back to the product pages, making it easy for readers to visit the e-commerce store and purchase. Find out more about how to create great native content that converts in this free guide.
Old Navy – Customer POV
While sales and discounts seem to take center stage in 4th of July marketing, some brands are sticking to nostalgia and patriotic sentiment to get the message across. Old Navy did this with a short video about what it means to be American, from the perspective of the newest Americans – those who were recently naturalized as citizens. The short clip takes real-life stories of new immigrants and tells why they are “As American As” in their own words, each wearing an Old Navy American Tradition t-shirt. A clever blend of a timeless yet contemporary issue, promoted on social media.
Reasors – Speaking the audience’s language
Speaking of tradition, this July 4th video ad by Reasors, an Oklahoma-based grocery store chain, reflects the timeless sentiments and patriotic flavor of the USA that continues to be celebrated today. This commercial is a great example of how brands can and should speak the language and convictions of their target audience. As a regional brand, Reasors can focus on the values that are important in their market, rather than a national brand that has to take a much broader approach. You can’t please everybody all the time, but if you work with a local audience, you can be much more focused and effective in broadcasting the right message.
Coca-Cola – Personalization + UX
One of Coca-Cola’s 4th of July tactics combines a bunch of great marketing ingredients. The brand’s personalized bottles are a huge product hit with customers, giving them the ability to customize the Coke label with any name or message they want. The 20% discount on purchase of 12 or more personalized bottles during the holiday season is a tempting discount for people who are entertaining family and friends and hosting cookouts and get-togethers. Plus (and this is important), the order process states “no promo code necessary”. It’s all about making the user experience as seamless and easy as possible, removing unnecessary obstacles to purchase. This might seem insignificant, but it’s actually those small details that can make a big difference to conversion rates.
Walmart – Power of product categories
For e-commerce stores, holidays like the 4th of July are a great opportunity to put a new spin on existing inventory and promote its relevance in a stand-out way. It’s a pretty simple trick and Walmart did it by creating a category called “Patriotic Picks”. One click and the customer is taken to a huge product category filled with items red, white, and blue, and anything they might want or need during the holiday, from decorations to electric grills, outdoor popup swimming pools, or navy blue sandals. By promoting special categories during high-demand times, e-commerce sites keep themselves fresh and relevant, while ensuring a convenient customer experience on-site that can only encourage more conversions.
Perdue Farms – Repurposing content
The 4th of July is possibly a meat brand’s best friend as grills are fired up nationwide. But that doesn’t stop one prominent US brand, Perdue Farms, from using their meat-y content in a clever way. Repurposing content is a great way to stay relevant to customers while making the most of the content assets you have already produced. For example, Perdue Farms reposted a previously published recipe for the “World’s Best Wasabi Burger” as a 4th of July social post, this time with a short message about spicing up the holiday meal with a twist on the traditional ground beef pattie. The social post links back to the original blog on the brand’s website, driving traffic and interest in their offerings by providing useful, engaging content – repurposed of course.
NASA – Be relevant (and spectacular if possible)
Part of holiday marketing is finding the connection between a brand and the message of the day. There are many different, possible ways to make that connection, but we enjoyed this one from NASA in a recent tweet. Fireworks are such an integral part of the July 4th celebrations, so NASA tweeted images of “fireworks” in space, breathtaking displays of colorful lights picked up by their equipment. A wonderful way to touch base with the audience and inspire them with the NASA “product” in the leadup to the holiday.
Uncommon Goods – Email with a twist
We’ve referenced marketing emails by Uncommon Goods before, because we love their authentic, home-grown, and highly relevant feel. An e-commerce retailer showcasing American artisan gifts and products, the brand decided to focus this 4th of July on the “independent makers”, all those artists, designers and creators who sell their wares on the site. The email included several stories spotlighting these individuals. The subject line was subtle: “We like to think of it as Independent Makers Day”, referencing the holiday without doing so directly, and keeping the bright, unique and thoughtful brand character shining through.
Dodge – Creative edge
The “Let Freedom Rev” commercial by carmarker Dodge is a favorite from last year’s 4th July, because it is such creative fun. The 1-minute ad shows scenes of Dodge vehicles revving and accelerating, all set to the theme of the national anthem accompanied by engine sounds. Titled “The Pursuit of Horsepower”, it’s a full-on display of (horse)power, with that unique American grit that only comes with the sense of pure freedom. Catchy, authentic, and meaningful – it’s a 4th July trifecta of creativity.
We’ll keep refreshing this post every year with new, inventive, best of 4th July marketing campaigns as they roll out. See you then and hope you had a happy freedom day!