Think about the attention that rains down on moms every “Mother’s Day.”
Or the amount of money shelled out for chocolate, flowers and other sundry items for Valentine’s Day.
Now imagine establishing a national day as a means to elevate a brand, product or issue.
Before writing this off as PR once again going off the rails in pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of awareness, consider that services like one from the National Day Calendar allow you to create your very own national day … for a fee.As to the economics, they appear reasonable. According to The New York Times, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum designated Jan. 7 as National Bobblehead Day for $1,500. That’s less than what it typically costs to develop a news release.
Demonstrating that literally anything is possible when it comes to creating a national day, we’ve captured the 12 weirdest national days.
- January 3 — National Drinking Straw DayOn January 3, 1888, Marvin C. Stone received the patent for the paper drinking straw. To honor the invention, people across the nation celebrate National Drinking Straw Day every Jan 3. As for the back story, the first straw Stone made was “just paper wound around a pencil to make a thin tube, he then slid out the pencil out from one end and applied glue between the strips.” Stone later further refined his invention by building a machine that would coat the outside of the paper with wax to hold it together (source: Days of the Year). It turned out that Stone liked to slurp his bourbon with a straw. With the glue on the outside, the alcohol didn’t dissolve it. No word if Stone was in a college fraternity.
- February 5 — National Shower with a Friend DayYou have to hand it to New Wave Enviro. National Water Filter Day isn’t going to make the evening news. Instead, the PR brain trust at the company came up with a national day that delivers a range of news hooks underpinned with association to water conservation.
- February 11 — Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk DayNow here’s a national day to lift everyone’s spirits. What’s done is done. Move on. Bastardizing the iconic line from milk industry, I’ve taken liberties – yes plural – to create the branding for the national day. If the copyright attorneys do cry over spilled milk, let’s hope it doesn’t happen on Feb. 11.
- February 28 — National Public Sleeping DayHere’s a day that encourages people to take a nap at the park, in the movie theater and at their desk, essentially any public place. Our research couldn’t determine who’s behind this national day, but I suspect it’s either CSPAN or La-Z-Boy chairs.
- April 14 — Ex-Spouse DayNational Ex-Spouse Day was created in 1987 by Reverend Ronald Coleman of Kansas City, Mo., exactly two months after Valentine’s Day. The objective was to pause for a day of reflection and to encourage people to release anger or resentment toward their exes. I’ll be watching for that interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver next April 14.
- May 3 — National Two Different Colored Shoes DayTwo Different Colored Shoes Day was created by Dr. Arlene Kaiser to recognize and celebrate human diversity. According to Kaiser, “The simple act of wearing two different colored shoes proclaims your individuality. By taking this positive risk, you can demonstrate your willingness to be different, and show your appreciation for the unique people in your life.” I think it’s fair to say that national day hasn’t caught on with millennials who prefer other means to express individuality. Still, it shows one of my favorite movies from my college days was ahead of its time.
- July 27 — Take Your Plants for a Walk DayI can get on board with “Hug a Tree” day, but a day dedicated to taking plants for a walk steps over the line. There’s a reason we don’t call plants by names like Fido and Spot.
- July 31 (last Friday in July) — National Talk in an Elevator DayObviously a national day that encourages people to converse in elevators is not targeting introverted souls like myself. Still, I come to an elevator armed with clever ice breakers like “hey” and the more chatty “how ya’ doing?” every day of the year.
- August 6 — National Wiggle Your Toes DayYou can’t make stuff up. Wiggle Your Toes Day encourages people to give their toes some freedom and exercise. The day suggests to “wiggle them around for all to see.” I proud to report that I didn’t see anyone in our office to do this on August 6 though I could swear I heard someone say, “this little piggy went to market.”
- August 8 — National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch DayEstablished by the Pennsylvanian Tom Roy, this day was created to recognize the overzealous planting of zucchini. This might play in Pennsylvania, but sneaking onto your neighbor’s porch in Silicon Valley to leave a bunch of zucchini sounds like a good way to get hurt.
- September 19 — Talk Like a Pirate DayHere’s another branding moment started in 1995 by John Baur (Ol’ Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap’n Slappy) who have built a business around bellowing “Ayyyy, matey!” The good news — they haven’t figured out how to franchise the concept.
- December 8 — National Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day This national day started in 2007 as a game where people had to spend the entire day in a costume from either “a utopian/cliché future, a dystopian future, or from the past.” The only rule was that they couldn’t tell anyone they were a time traveler. Just act like you just arrived from another century or even another planet. Okaaaaay.
If these days can enjoy the national stage, consider:
- National Chinese Mobile Phone Day: Under the premise a rising tide lifts all ships, Xiaomi, Meitu, Coolpad and other Chinese phone makers join forces to raise awareness in the U.S.
- Kiss an NSA Agent Day: To counter the continued fallout from the Edward Snowden debacle, the NSA’s PR machine revs up a campaign to bring out the humanity in the agency.
- Deflate Football Day: Imagine if the entourage behind “Team Tom Brady” brought a touch of levity to the table with a celebration of leaking air from footballs. Such a move would be 10 times more effective at winning over public opinion than a pile of research.
With 2016 PR planning right around the corner, perhaps there’s a “day” in your future.
Personally, I see possibilities for evangelizing storytelling in business communications with BAAAD as in “ban adjectives and adverbs day.”
I just need to come up with the 1,500 bucks.
For more information on national days, check out these websites: National Day Calendar, Holiday Insights, Checkiday.com and Days of the Year.
Kudos to Laurene Montfort for handling the heavy lifting that went into this post.