International Friendship Day: the next big thing in the consumer retail calendar

The Drum 30 Jul 2020 01:45
By Courtney Wylie-30 July 2020 14:45pm

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Mention Me looks at the origins and inspiration behind International Friendship Day.

30 July marks International Friendship Day (IFD), an occasion dedicated to celebrating those we love. It's also the perfect chance for retailers to strengthen customer relationships while reaching new audiences. Offering customers exclusive rewards to share with friends in celebration of IFD has the potential to be your best campaign yet.

If you haven't heard of IFD before, you might be surprised to learn it's been about for more than 20 years. The United Nations introduced it in 1997 to spread kindness and create a better world. Since then, The Beatles wrote a song for it, Winnie the Pooh has become its ambassador, and people across cultures and countries have celebrated it.

To build brand affinity

Friendship is one of the most simple and powerful expressions of human connection. By celebrating IFD, retailers can tap into this positive sentiment, humanise their brands and highlight how their products and services can improve the lives of customers' loved ones. Emotionally engaging people, rather than pushing hard sales, creates a powerful sense of brand affinity that'll keep shoppers coming back, long after your promotion has ended.

IFD is the perfect opportunity to get people talking about your brand to their friends.

Last year, brands including PrettyLittleThing, Laithwaite's Wine and Monica Vinader ran IFD referral campaigns. And this year is set to be even bigger.

Your current customers are your most powerful marketers. Their recommendation means more – and costs less –than any big billboard or clever campaign. Turn your customers into an army of brand advocates, and you can sustainably acquire high-quality new customers who fit your target demographic. Referred customers spend more, return often and go on to recommend the brand to their friends, continuing the virtuous cycle.

Some of the biggest brands in the world have celebrated International Friendship Day. Here are some examples.

In 2010, Coca Cola set up a Friendship Machine: a 3.5 metre tall vending machine with a coin slot that couldn't be reached alone. Friends worked together to insert their money and subsequently got two bottles of Coke for the price of one, making for a heartwarming online campaign.

In 2016, Amazon told a story of inter-faith friendship. Its ad showed a Christian vicar and a Muslim imam noticing each other’s aches and pains in their late years. They subsequently order one another the same gift (from Amazon, of course): kneepads to make kneeling for prayer more comfortable. Celebrating diversity and shared humanity across cultures.

Cadbury celebrated its collaboration with Oreo with a friendship-themed animation depicting the adventures of Pip the block of chocolate and an Oreo cookie. The playful video proved a hit on social media, further promoting the product's 'double the yum, double the fun' message.

Courtney Wylie, VP of Product and Marketing at Mention Me.

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Prime DayLaithwaiteMonica VinaderAmazon
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