How Marketers Are Handling Thanksgiving 2021

From Black Friday shopping to Thanksgiving Day parades, the fall season is in full swing. While most seasonal marketing this time of year is geared toward the holidays coming up in December, there’s still plenty of ways for marketers to get involved a month earlier in November when Thanksgiving rolls around. With Black Friday taking place the day after Thanksgiving, it’s easy to think of it like the kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

This year is different than a year ago, when some families opted to hold smaller Thanksgiving gatherings or skip it all together. This year is projected to be a rebound from Thanksgiving 2020’s slight decrease in festivities, which means marketers can feel more comfortable going all in on the shopping season this year.

Here’s an overview of what’s currently happening in the marketing world for Thanksgiving 2021:

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The annual Thanksgiving Day Parade sponsored by Macy’s and broadcast on TV by NBC is a fun fall tradition to look forward to each year. The event involves tons of various organizations either marching in the parade or advertising using giant balloon characters, such as this Reindeer featured in Macy’s holiday ad this year. Last year, the parade drew just under 22 million viewers, somewhat of a ratings rarity at a time when many TV programs were witnessing a decrease in viewership. Last year’s parade was done without a crowd, but thankfully this year spectators will be allowed back in person to see the live music, character balloons, and floats. 

Black Friday

Black Friday is basically the Super Bowl of shopping. It’s one of the most recognized days of the year to head to the store, whether in person or online, to get some great deals on gifts for the upcoming holiday season. In fact, Black Friday isn’t really so much a one day event anymore, but rather an entire weekend of deals that kicks off on Friday and runs until Cyber Monday a few days later. Supply chain issues may cause an even higher demand for products this year, so make your list early and do your best to check everything off this weekend.

Food Price Increases

Touching on the supply chain issues that are plaguing almost every industry right now, there’s also been a recent uptick in retail prices for food items. Not only are prices way up, but supply for traditional Thanksgiving menu items such as turkey and cranberries is limited. Marketers are aware of the price sensitivity of some customers this year and are adjusting to the change by offering more coupons and unique recipe ideas in case shoppers can’t find their go-to menu items for Thanksgiving dinner.

Seasonal Flavors

Thanksgiving is synonymous with the fall season, which comes with a whole host of limited time seasonal flavors. Starbucks is the most notable example of this, launching an entire new menu of fall themed drinks. These menu items mean big business for the international drink company, as well as other companies that get in on the pumpkin spice trend. According to a data report from Nielsen, pumpkin themed grocery items netted over $500 million in 2019, an increase of 4.7% over the previous year. While not specifically Thanksgiving-themed, fall flavors are a significant moneymaker for food and drink companies.


Thanksgiving is the last major holiday before the holiday shopping rush starts. There are several unique opportunities for marketers to take advantage of, from parades to extreme shopping excursions, to fall-themed food and drink flavors. If you’re interested in partnering with a team that can assist with your marketing campaign, look no further than TriSpark Media. Reach out to our team of talented advertisers and marketers who can work with you to help your business stand out among the rest.