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Welcome to the Oracle Modern Marketing Blog:
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  • December 5, 2007

Season Finale: Thanksgiving 2007

A look back on seasonal trends, email activity and standout B2C marketing:

Start to finish: The first reference to Thanksgiving was on Aug. 28 from Oriental Trading. The final reference was on Nov. 26 from Walgreens.

The distribution curve: Retailers sent the majority of Thanksgiving-themed emails after Nov. 18. The biggest day for Thanksgiving retail emails was Nov. 22, followed by Nov. 21. Bear in mind that the first half of the cycle was primarily emails selling kitchen, home and other entertainment items for use on Thanksgiving Day, while the second half of the cycle was focused on Thanksgiving sales.

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Most interesting email: Crate & Barrel’s four-email series counting down the weeks until Thanksgiving was the most interesting. The series covered different facets of Thanksgiving entertaining each week, such as table settings and preparing the turkey, and the countdown element gave it all more urgency.

Here are dates and subject lines of the emails in the series:
11/15 — Last minute turkey essentials. Plus Free Shipping.
11/5 — Serving the Thanksgiving Feast. Free Shipping, too.
11/1 — Time-saving Thanksgiving menu. Plus Free Shipping.
10/25 — Thanksgiving Countdown Ideas. Free Shipping, too.


One of the coolest elements of this campaign is that it prominently links to a landing page that includes all the other emails in the series. That gives some additional longevity to the campaign, allows it to build upon itself and makes it easier for subscriber to find the past email content. One of the areas where this campaign didn’t do well was in the area of calls-to-action. There were very few, which made it a little difficult to know where to click.

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Unpleasant surprises: I have to say I was really taken off guard when I received an email from Drs. Foster & Smith on Nov. 14 with the subject line “Happy Thanksgiving.” I have to assume that Drs. Foster & Smith deployed this email a week earlier than they intended.

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Standout subject lines:
Walgreens, 11/25 — 25 Free Prints Offer: Photos Last Longer Than Leftovers
RedEnvelope, 11/23 — Free shipping is like the last piece of pie...
Bottom of Form
MLB, 11/23 — Stuff yourself with savings!
Macy’s, 11/13 — Ready to celebrate? Save 10-50% on holiday home essentials!
Tiffany, 11/12 — Have A Tiffany Thanksgiving


Subject lines that stand out for the wrong reasons:
Lands’ End, 11/20 — Gifts ship free + a $20 gift 4 U!
The SMS/IM abbreviations are out of character for Lands’ End and make the email seem spammy. The subject line is not so long that you need to abbreviate “for you.”

GearDirect, 11/19 — $25 Off Turkey Day Sale
“Turkey Day” strikes me as overly casual. That’s something I’d expect from Urban Outfitters, perhaps paired with this creative from their Nov. 23 email:

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Read previous Thanksgiving Season Finales: 2006

Read previous posts about Thanksgiving emails.
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