I'm Thankful for...Smart PR around Thanksgiving

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A lot of weird, opportunistic pitches crop up during the holiday season, starting in the beginning of November.  Here are few recent PR Newswire press release headlines that made me cringe: The Charmin(R) Restrooms Return To Times Square This Holiday Season To Help Consumers Really 'Enjoy The Go.’ You know, since most people are full of, well…

Down the Street or Across the Country This Thanksgiving, Verizon Wireless Makes Account Management Easy as Pie. Man, did they peg my no. 1 Thanksgiving concern.

Roto-Rooter Braces for 'Cloggiest Day of the Year.' Again, the visual is just too much for me to handle. 

But, despite the host of embarrassingly bad headlines (almost as bad as Cousin Ron who “overshares” after a few too many Wild Turkeys) there is hope. Here are two companies and organizations that did it right, and one wildcard campaign that surprised me:

Tweetsgiving has a borderline-cringeworthy name, but real, measurable results.  Last year the  nonprofit social media campaign from Epic Change raised more than $10,000 to build a school in Tanzania, became the no. 1 trending topic on Twitter (which is tough to do unless you’re Balloon Boy), and even picked up some traditional media and blog coverage. This year, they’re taking it a step further by encouraging campaign participants to not just tweet what they’re grateful for, but host “Gratitude Parties” throughout the country. Sound cheesy? Don’t be a hater. Local group events, such as the D.C. Tweetsgiving Happy Hour, extend the possibilities for local PR coverage like this NBC piece.  

America’s Test Kitchen proves that one great placement by your publicist can be worth hundreds of smaller placements. On Point with Tom Ashbrook focused an entire show around cooking with ATK, with a more than healthy plug for their new cookbook.  Plus, the show’s website provides the recipes discussed that day, as well as a link to purchase the book. PR gold!

And finally, the wildcard, which I never suspected would work. But, 25 news articles later, I’ll admit that I’m wrong. Dunkin Donuts released a nonscientific survey of its customers a few days ago that revealed this shocking Thanksgiving secret: 58 percent of Americans plan on napping after gorging themselves! My first thought was “Duh,” but the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Reuters, and local news stations picked up the release, along with a listing of Dunks’ holiday hours. Sometimes bringing the fluff around the holidays works out, if you don’t take yourself too seriously and are willing to have a little fun.

With that, I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving, and your turkey, tofurkey, Wild Turkey – whatever makes you happy. Would love to hear about other PR hits and misses around the holidays you’ve seen, too!