- Jennie-O Turkey Store, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hormel Foods, kicked off its annual campaign reminding consumers that they can call a 1-800-TURKEYS hotline during the holidays to get advice on how to prepare seasonal meals, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
- This year for the first time, the brand is enlisting the help of chefs, social media influencers and bloggers to provide answers to the most asked questions about cooking the holiday meal. The hotline has been around for 12 years and offers techniques for cooking a turkey, suggested wine pairings and leftover recipe ideas.
- Turkey experts will answer the Minnesota-based phones from Nov. 21-27. The company said in a press release that it expects more than 10,000 calls this month related to Thanksgiving turkeys.
Jennie-O's Thanksgiving hotline has been in effect for more than a decade, suggesting that consumers have come to rely on the brand's holiday meal-prep advice. However, in order to attract younger audiences that prefer to receive cooking tips from newer channels like YouTube and podcasts, the Hormel brand has layered in additional elements this year, including celebrity chefs and food influencers, in a bid to stay current.
This follows a similar move by competitor Butterball, which last year expanded its Turkey Talk-Line by adding an Amazon Alexa skill. Cooks could access the feature by saying, "Alexa, enable the Butterball skill," and then, "Alexa, ask Butterball" to ask for advice on Thanksgiving cooking.
Last year, Jennie-O appealed to consumer stress during the holidays with the cheeky spot "Give Your Family the Bird." The campaign related to viewers about the stresses of the holidays and ungrateful family members, while promoting oven-ready turkeys and the phone helpline.
The hotline concept has endured in marketing, even as the actual utility and novelty of 800 numbers has faded from the public interest in the smartphone and Google search era. Around the Fourth of July holiday this summer, hummus brand Sabra set up an emergency toll-free hotline to provide cookout hosts with ideas for meals to serve to vegan guests. For Mother's Day, juice maker Tropicana established a brunch hotline to provide family members advice on how to best cater to mothers on their dedicated holiday.