Turkey Social (media, that is)

November 19th, 2008

How do you thaw a turkey? According to Butterball’s Turkey Talk-Line, the answer to this, the most common of all questions is “in the fridge, a day for every four pounds.” Butterball’s Turkey Talk-Line has existed for over 25 years, and throughout this time, nearly 3 million people have phoned in for free turkey-cooking advice. Throughout the years the talk line has evolved from a team of six people to a staff of 50 and now accommodates nearly 100,000 consumer calls each season.


Plain and simple, the talk line makes butterball look good. And that makes Butterball sell turkeys. In fact in 2004, Butterball comprised 23% of all whole turkey sales, while the industry’s whole turkey sales fell 4%. The hotline is more than a helpful service. It’s an ingenious marketing tool. It has gained such notoriety, that it was even featured on the highly acclaimed TV series, The West Wing, when the President of the United States needed Turkey-roasting advice.

But Butterball realizes that times – they are a-changing. So this year, Butterball has gone the way of Web 2.0 by making Turkey Talk interactive in order to cater to the next generation of cooks.

Consumers can now receive turkey texts on mobile phones providing reminders and temperature guidelines. Now, they can log on to turkey blogs, check out Butterball’s new mobile website, participate in turkey web chats, and watch how-to videos at

Butterball clearly realizes that if they want to engage today’s audience, and the next generation of cooks, then they need to utilize the online and mobile technology and conveniences of 2009.

Butterball isn’t the only company to jump on the viral bandwagon. After becoming the first national pizza chain to offer online and text message ordering, Papa John’s has teamed up with Facebook, in order to enter the next phase of online marketing. Beginning Monday, November 17, any Facebook user who becomes a fan of the official Papa John’s Facebook page will receive an online redemption code for a free medium pizza with any online pizza order.

Realizing that Thanksgiving Eve is consistently one of the three busiest nights in the pizza industry, this promotion is a smart way to touch the pizza eaters of today’s generation who use facebook for all important means of communication. Pizza Hut and Dominos have also joined the facebook act, offering their thousands of fans special online offers.

So this holiday season it seems that preparing and ordering food is just a text or click away. And there’s no doubt that as companies try to reach the next generation of consumers, traditional marketing tactics will be refined with the new technologies and social networking tools that make it so easy for us all to connect. Now that’s what I call turkeyrific.

Posted Under: Advertising, Viral & Guerilla Marketing
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