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Marketing for Memorial Day

By Marjorie Comer

Understand the meaning of Memorial Day so your company doesn’t make a faux pas.


An American flag for Memorial Day.Companies often view national holidays as a way to connect with consumers and tie themselves to a national story. Sometimes this is done tastefully; other times, however, it leaves the consumer with a bad taste in their mouth. Due to current trends in our culture and marketing saturation, the original purpose of a holiday can be overlooked. The national “holiday” of Memorial Day is one that’s meaning has been lost in celebration. 


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What is Memorial Day?

If you look at how the weekend is spent, Memorial Day is considered the unofficial first day of summer, which means barbeques, swimming at the pool or lake, parties, and numerous stores offering sales promotions. However, the true meaning of this day –– originally known as Declaration Day –– goes back to 1868 as a way to remember those who died in the Civil War. 


Your company’s marketing team shouldn’t:

  1. Wish a Happy Memorial Day. It is not a celebratory day, but rather a sorrowful day and should be treated as such. If your company is wishing your social media followers or email subscribers a Happy Memorial Day, it might come across wrong to those in mourning.
  2. Acknowledge all veterans. Veterans Day honors everyone who has served, while Memorial Day is for those who died in military service.
  3. Think of how to capitalize off of this day or ways to make it more gimmicky. 

Your company should:

  1. Recognize those who have lost their lives while serving the country. 
  2. Coordinate ways to support Gold Star Families, an organization supporting families of those who have died while serving our country.
  3. Visiting a military cemetery or memorial and laying flowers on gravestones.
  4. Consider your company’s word choice. Use language to honor and remember those who sacrificed their lives. Avoid happy and joyful phrases, and instead save those well-intended remarks for Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day.  

Companies should treat this holiday as it is intended by maintaining respect and remembrance rather than pushing sales. We should be proud of our heritage and being American, but we should also recognize the sacrifice of those who have lost their lives while protecting what this nation stands for. 


Know that your client and audience would much rather see you acknowledge the true meaning of the day rather than find a new way to compete in an overly-saturated market while dishonoring those who gave their lives.


Unsure of your audience? Download our Target Audiences Analysis Template for pointers on how to identify your target audience, create methods to modify their attitude, and utilize relevant content with CTAs.


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Photo by Brett Sayles

Topics: PR tips

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