10 'Holidays' That Were Actually Invented by Brands


If you use Facebook — or any social media platform — with any regularity, you are probably constantly startled to find that it’s a “national (fill in the blank) day.”

It seems like almost every day is a celebratory day of siblings, coffee, tacos, vodka, pets or pretty much anything else you could think of.

According to a website called The Social Launch, there are even national days set aside for cleaning off your desk, appreciating dragons, belly laughs and local quilt shops. Everything gets its moment in the limelight.

You’ve probably wondered just how many of these are actually recognized days, or at least wonder where they got their start. If it’s not on the calendar and doesn’t get you out of work, it doesn’t really seem worth the time.

So let’s look at a few of these popular days and see how they came into being.

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National Coffee Day is probably one of the most popular days that web denizens from all walks of life can get behind, according to Business Insider. The All Japan Coffee Association first came up with the idea in the 1980s and declared Oct. 1 be set aside for observation of the popular bean water.

Now we generally celebrate the day on Sept. 29, but let’s be honest — people celebrate coffee pretty much every day. National Coffee Day is just an excuse to drink even more than usual.

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National Pancake Day is a real holiday, but not really the way we know it. In Europe, it aligns with the day before the start of Lent, also known as Fat Tuesday.

We have that day here, too, but IHOP decided to bring it stateside and make it their holiday — offering free pancakes and instilling the holiday in the minds of Americans. Really, IHOP is the one who started the day here in a ploy to get more people into their restaurant. But we’re not mad.

There seems to be a pattern with the food-related holidays: “National Rotisserie Chicken Day” was started by Boston Market, “National Drive-Thru Day” was created by Jack-in-the-Box, and “National 7-Eleven Day” was started by … well, you get the idea.

Cyber Monday starts getting advertised about the same time Black Friday does, and it started in 2005. It’s basically a Black Friday for online shopping and definitely appeals to those of us who buy lots of products through Amazon and other online retailers.

According to a The New York Times article, Cyber Monday’s start hails back to The National Retail Federation, who dubbed the Monday after Thanksgiving “Cyber Monday.” Not about to let the big kids have all the fun, American Express introduced “Small Business Saturday,” which takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

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There’s also a national day devoted to underwear, started in 2003 by “Freshpair,” and in 2007 “Record Store Day” was started by Record Store Owners.

So what does it take to “start” one of these holidays? Well, access to social media, hashtag proficiency, and a snappy way of naming an idea, activity or item that a lot of people can get behind.

“Trending hashtags provide brands and consumers the opportunity to talk about something meaningful to them, even if it is something as trivial as their favorite donut,” the deputy editor of an online debate site regarding hashtags said in an interview with Business Insider. “Perhaps #NationalCoffeeDay was created as a brand marketing ploy, but it started trending because everyone loves a good cup of coffee.”

In the cases illustrated above, it was a savvy move by companies who knew that if they could get the idea rolling and the holiday trending, their sales might go up. But you don’t have to have a vested interest in a holiday to make it a reality.

Recently, a popular holiday was started by a 7-year-old boy whose mother posted his idea online. The holiday is called “Wolfenoot,” and it’s a holiday honoring wolves where you eat roast meat, decorate a cake to look like the moon, and the wolf spirit hides gifts around the house — especially for people who are nice to dogs.

An unofficial fan page has been created and over 13,000 are following it, and no doubt many will be celebrating it on Nov. 23, which was said by the innovative youngster to be the anniversary of “The Great Wolf’s Death.”

So what do you think? Do you have a good idea for a holiday, or do you think there are too many already?

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