- Cash-back rewards app Ibotta is working with Walmart on a promotion to give millions of families a free Thanksgiving meal. Butterball, Campbell Soup and Coca-Cola are participating in Ibotta's "Free Thanksgiving Dinner" program to provide 100% cash back on enough food to feed a family of five, per an announcement.
- Ibotta users can receive the discount on as many as nine food staples while supplies last, including turkey, green beans, cream of mushroom soup, crispy onions, potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy and a two-liter bottle of soda. Ibotta users can find the deals on its "Free Thanksgiving Dinner" landing page, along with recipe ideas.
- To redeem the offer, consumers need to download the Ibotta app or use its new browser extension and follow the instructions to add all nine items to a Walmart shopping list. Ibotta users can go to any Walmart store nationwide to shop for the products, or shop online to order the products for free curbside pickup.
Ibotta's collaboration with Butterball, Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola and Walmart to offer 100% cash back on Thanksgiving staples is a gesture of goodwill that aims to drive downloads for its savings app and help it to form stronger emotional ties with consumers.
The promotion comes as an estimated 50 million people may not have enough to eat this year because of the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an estimate by hunger-relief organization Feeding America. As part of its "Free Thanksgiving Dinner" campaign, Ibotta is donating to Feeding America to help support its network of 200 food banks and 60,000 pantries in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Ibotta's campaign comes as consumers say they want brands to demonstrate how they care for people during the pandemic. Eighty-four percent of consumers said they want to see brands contribute to society and 80% want brands to show empathy, a survey by researcher Morning Consult found. That sentiment has driven a 41% jump in cause-related marketing, the Interactive Advertising Bureau found in a survey of advertising executives. The trade group's study also found that almost two-thirds (63%) of advertisers had changed their messaging because of the health crisis. Amid signs that coronavirus cases are surging to record levels as colder weather leads people to spend more time indoors, brands need to demonstrate awareness of the public mood in their promotions.
The pandemic is expected to change consumer shopping habits for Thanksgiving as well, with many families hosting smaller gatherings and buying fewer products. Eighty-seven percent of U.S. consumers said they will celebrate the occasion, according to a survey by Butterball. However, a third of people said they're thinking about serving dinner outdoors, while the percentage of respondents who are planning to host only immediate family rose to 30% from 18% last year. Meanwhile, 60% of consumers plan to spend the same amount of money on Thanksgiving as they did last year, while 34% will cut spending and only 6% will spend more, per a survey by market research firm Numerator.