Leap Day Allows Marketers to Experiment With Unique Campaigns

Hal Conick
Marketing News
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Key Takeaways
​What? February 29 comes once every four years, an oddity known as Leap Day.

So What? Many companies try to take advantage of the unique occasion with one-day-only marketing initiatives​. 

Now What? One marketing agency said leap day is "an opportunity to persuade consumers via scarcity, urgency and exclusivity."

February 29, 2016​​

​In honor of the odd twist of time that is Leap Day, many companies are turning to their marketing departments to come up with an interesting, one-day-only campaign.​

Each year, earth takes 365.242 days to orbit the sun. What happens with all that left over time? We get February 29—an extra day—about every four years and brands get to showcase their unique (and sometimes odd) marketing initiatives. 

In honor of the odd twist of time that is Leap Day, many companies are turning to their marketing departments to come up with an interesting, one-day-only campaign.

AdAge reported that McDonald’s is using the day to reward 24 customers known for working a non-traditional schedule to make a difference. For example, a transit police officer who was injured in a shootout with the Boston Marathon bombers in April 2013 is being given Red Sox tickets and a donation to the American Red Cross. 

McDonald’s will share one of these stories per hour on their Twitter feed all day today, with 30-second video clips and pictures showcasing the company’s Leap Day activities.

In a move looking to win favor of employees and fans alike, e-commerce shoe mammoth Zappos will be giving its employees a paid day off. The company is using the hashtag #TakeTheLeap to urge its workers to do something special on their day off. 

Zappos didn’t stop at trying to create a positive Leap Day for its employees; it also started a Change.org petition to name Leap Day a federal holiday. As of Monday afternoon, the company had accrued just more than 20,000 supporters of their 100,000 goal. While 80,000 more signatures may not net us all the day off, it may help consumers see Zappos as a company that knows how to treat its employees well. 

Arby’s took a completely different approach to Leap Day, as the company introduced a one-day only vegetarian menu. The company said in a press release that its’ aim was to “extend an olive branch” to vegetarians by removing the meat from their signature sandwiches for one day only (although the options WITH meat are definitely still available).

“If it goes well, we'll likely bring back the vegetarian menu on Feb. 29 each year,” said Rob Lynch, Arby’s chief marketing officer and brand president, with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Impact Branding and Design​, an inbound marketing agency, featured a blog post that said brands can “send up a little red flag in the minds of your prospects to act now or miss out on the opportunity at hand” by doing one-day marketing events on Leap Day. It’s an opportunity to persuade consumers via scarcity, urgency and exclusivity. 


Author Bio:

 
Hal Conick
Hal Conick is a staff writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. He can be reached at hconick@ama.org or on Twitter at @HalConick.
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