Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day, mateys!
According to TalkLikeAPirate.com, Talk Like a Pirate Day has been around since 1995 when two self-described guys, John Baur and Mark Summers, found themselves talking like pirates during a game of racquetball. They decided pirate speak needed its own holiday and Summers’ ex-wife’s birthday was the day to celebrate it. Then, in 2002, this little-known holiday got a shot in the arm thanks to a Dave Barry column in the Miami Herald. Thereafter, TalkLikeAPirate.com says, “Hell broke loose.”
Indeed it did. Since then, pirate-themed brands like Pirate’s Booty, Captain Morgan and Long John Silver’s have jumped on the bandwagon, along with plenty of other enthusiastic albeit unexpected voices, like that of Tidy Cats, which still arguably found a way to insert itself into the conversation with “Time to change the litarrrrrr."
But Talk Like a Pirate Day isn’t a fluke.
National Pi Day
Take March 14, for example.
San Francisco’s Exploratorium, which calls itself a museum of science, art and human perception, said Pi Day – a celebration of the mathematical constant Pi – was started here by physicist Larry Shaw in 1988.
It, too, has not gone unnoticed by brands, particularly those that can make baking and pizza pie puns.
May the Fourth
Per StarWars.com, May 4 is the worldwide day to say, “May the Force be with you,” and celebrate “the beloved Star Wars story that binds our galaxy together.”
StarWars.com pointed to a half-page ad in the London Evening News in 1979 in which the Conservative party congratulated Margaret Thatcher on becoming the first female prime minister – “May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie” – as one of first references of “May the Fourth…” in popular culture. It has since gained steam thanks to the one-two punch of the Internet and rabid fans.
“While the idea of May the 4th did not start with Lucasfilm, the film company that created Star Wars has fully embraced the spirit of fandom that makes the day so special,” StarWars.com says.
And then of course there’s the retail bonanza — that only sometimes turns deadly — known as Black Friday.
According to History.com, Black Friday’s origins can be traced to Philadelphia in the 1950s. That’s when the city hosted an Army-Navy football game after Thanksgiving and was besieged by shoppers, tourists and shoplifters.
“Sometime in the late 1980s, however, retailers found a way to reinvent Black Friday and turn it into something that reflected positively, rather than negatively, on them and their customers,” History.com said. The result is the event we know today with “black” referring to the day of the year businesses finally turn a profit. It is also popular in the UK, which, notably, does not even celebrate Thanksgiving, and has since spurred additional holidays like Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
Per Omid Farhang, chief creative officer at brand experience agency Momentum Worldwide, consumers – specifically those that are particularly passionate about something – are also driving this trend.
“I believe it's a product of the renaissance of tribalism. It's never been easier to create social circles and earn social capital around even the most narrow passion points,” he said. “Feeling a sense of community is now just a click away, whether it's motivated by some irrational love of comic books, or cacti, or butterscotch pudding, or puggles, or crepe suzette, or lucky pennies, or pirate accents or whatever the hell else. Weirdos, unite!”
This, in turn, gives marketers the opportunity to tap into “narrow frequencies of interest where passions burn brightest.”
Further, Farhang said, “the smart brands are the ones trying to achieve intimacy at scale. That means targeting micro-communities and tapping into people's narrow interests.”
Per David Eichler, creative director of Decibel Blue Creative Marketing & PR, consumers with strong brand loyalty like, say, Dunkin’ Donuts fans, will know there's a holiday like National Coffee Day each year, which they will anticipate because they get a discount or freebie. (Note to coffee fans: It just so happens National Coffee Day is coming up on September 29.)
“There is probably also a sense of shared interest/community for those brand enthusiasts standing in line together,” he added.
Farhang agreed, saying this demonstrates a greater trend at play, which is “our unprecedented power to connect like-minded people who may have felt isolated or alone in previous generations.”
“Brands can help proliferate new communities,” he added. “And whether built upon an altruistic cause, an obscure taste or a goofball hobby, a sense of community is fundamental to the human experience. Suddenly National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day doesn't sound so frivolous, right?” ...