The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade helps kick off the holiday season on New York City streets each year. This year, Ritz Crackers is hosting its Great Ritz Holiday Parade, or what it calls a "multi-platform campaign designed to intersect consumers at key stressful moments and transform them into enjoyable ones."
The digital parade marches from Thanksgiving to Christmas and includes "entertainment, food and shopping deals, recipe ideas and FUN," the brand says.
The latter includes a float-building tool in which consumers can create digital parade floats, by adding festive items with circular Ritz-like components.
Consumers can also share one of Ritz's ready-made floats on their social networks by signing in with Facebook, Twitter or Google.
To create a float, consumers can choose up to 12 Ritz-themed items and click each to move it or scale it. They can also use arrows to bring items forward or backward on the float.
Item categories include toys, characters, and accessories like wheels, wings, animal tummies, balloons, bells, flowers, wreaths, snowflakes, hats and even an engagement ring.
Consumers can also add banners with phrases like, "Deck the halls with bowls of crackers," and "Have a merry Christmas and a crumbly New Year."
In addition to its float-building tool, the site also has recipes and prizes like Surface Tablets and knit blankets.
Ritz says it "looked closely at historical social and search data throughout the holiday season to uncover high volume - and often stressful - seasonal tasks such as decorating the house, preparing meals, wrapping gifts or making travel arrangements" and "used this data to inform not only where the parade will march each week, but also the specific offers and fun content it will deliver."
Katrina Cohen, senior brand manager of Ritz at parent company Mondelez International, said in a prepared statement, "It's too easy to get caught up in the stress of the holidays, so we made it a point this year to put ourselves in our consumers' shoes and help them enjoy the holidays with their family and friends. When developing The Great Ritz Holiday Parade, we strategically designed our content and offers to be truly helpful, to bring a smile and to encourage sharing."
In addition, Ritz partnered with news satire organization The Onion to create a video with what it calls "a special take on the traditional gift wrapping station."
The resulting Ritz Wrapping Rappers video has about 44,000 views as of December 18.
The video "adds some much-needed festive cheer and comic relief back into this less-than-fun holiday activity," the brand says.
Ritz has 1.1 million likes on Facebook. The brand has changed its cover photo to reflect the initiative. @Ritzcrackers on Twitter has 9000 followers.
According to a press release, the social, digital and broadcast components of the Great Ritz Holiday Parade were developed by marketing communications agency Havas Worldwide, media specialist agency MediaVest and brand consulting agency VaynerMedia.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014