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Friendsgiving 2021: How Should My Brand Celebrate?

Friendsgiving 2021: How Should My Brand Celebrate?

It’s not too late to activate! With over 30% of Americans (and 40% of Gen Z and Millennials) celebrating “Friendsgiving,” brands will want to make their mark on this growing tradition. Keep reading to learn what consumers expect from brands like yours this Friendsgiving.

“Friendsgiving” is a holiday tradition adjacent to Thanksgiving. It’s an opportunity for friends to gather with friends in addition to, or instead of, with family. While Friendsgiving may sound like the latest fad or a “cutesy” holiday, it’s a legitimate way younger generations celebrate—and it’s likely to stick around.

Read on for key facts about the holiday, insights on how younger American consumers celebrate the Thanksgiving season, and ideas for how your brand can get involved.

What is ​Friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving is an informal bonus holiday that started gaining traction in 2013. The origin is unclear, but the term caught on via social media and it’s surged in popularity with younger Americans in recent years. Nowadays, Friendsgiving is a seasonal staple with about four in ten Gen Z and Millennials celebrating.

Holiday Stress Chart

Friendsgiving celebrations often take place sometime before Thanksgiving, as a precursor to the big day. But for many young adults who live far away from home and family, Friendsgiving acts as a substitute to the more formal family feast. It’s also a reflection of shifting family dynamics. Young adults today are delaying marriage and parenthood at greater rates than previous generations. This factors into their emphasis on friends, neighbors, and coworkers as a “chosen” family.

Moreover, almost half of Gen Z and Millennials cite amily as a source of stress around holidays. It’s no wonder, then, that many turn to their friends for comfort and joy.

Friendsgiving Celebrations

Since Friendsgiving is such a new way to celebrate Thanksgiving, it isn’t confined to the well-established traditions of Turkey Day. Rather, it’s open to interpretation—which may be just what individualistic younger generations find appealing about it. Many Friendsgiving celebrants incorporate a mix of classic Thanksgiving elements and personal flair. This means that brands have ample room to play in connecting with younger generations for Friendsgiving.

One way that Gen Z and Millennials are evolving Thanksgiving-season celebrations is by including non-traditional foods. Two-thirds of younger Americans do this, likely driven by the generations’ inherent diversity as well as their desire for novelty. Friendsgiving, free of socially imposed “rules,” offers the perfect opportunity to try out new and exciting flavors, experiment with recipes, or to share one’s culture through food.

Graph illustrating groups that have more than Thanksgiving dishes

Brand Activation

Two brands that have developed an excellent Friendsgiving campaign that appeals to Gen Z and Millennials are Amazon and S.Pellegrino. These brands partnered together in 2020 to create a virtual, shoppable “Guide to Friendsgiving.” The online storefront features videos and recipes by Kristen Kish, an LGBTQ+ Korean-American culinary expert and Top Chef championIn this pandemic-friendly activation, Kish connects with her friends via video chat to recreate their favorite recipes with a twist. From the site, shoppers can download recipes and purchase ingredients to be delivered by Amazon Fresh.

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Diwali 2021: What Should My Brand Do?

Diwali 2021: What Should My Brand Do?

It’s not too late to activate! With two thirds of Indian Americans celebrating Diwali, brands will want to make their mark on this important holiday. Keep reading to learn what Asian consumers expect from brands like yours on this festival of lights.

Diwali is one of the major festivals celebrated among Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and many Buddhists. The holiday lasts five days, and it coincides with the Hindu New Year according to their lunisolar calendar. Though it falls on November 4 this year, Diwali has some similarities to other winter and New Year’s celebrations, and comes with distinct cultural traditions.

Read on for key facts about the holiday, insights on how Asian American consumers celebrate, and ideas for how your brand can get involved.

What is Diwali?

Diwali honors the conclusion of the Ramayana, a key Hindu text and one of two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. It celebrates the triumphant return of Prince Rama after a 14-year exile, the rescue of his wife Sita, and his coronation as king. Rejoicing in Rama’s victories, Diwali celebrants honor light itself amidst the darkness of coming winter.  And for many Asian Americans, Diwali is an explicitly religious holiday, with the Goddess Lakshmi – symbolizing wealth and purity – a key focus.

Traditions of Diwali​

    • Candles and firecrackers are popular in Diwali celebrations, with diya oil lamps one of the more traditional means of proving light in the darkness
    • Rangoli is an art form common in Diwali preparations, where colored sand, flower petals, rocks, and powdered stone are arranged in colorful, patterned designs on a flat surface
    • Sweet foods are a traditional component of Diwali celebrations, with many preparing malpua pancakes, laddu balls, and other fare to eat and share
    • Puja is a worship ritual common among Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. On Diwali, offerings of light, flowers, sustenance, or song accompany these rituals, largely directed towards the Goddess Lakshmi

Among Indian Americans, having special food and drink is the most common way to celebrate Diwali. Eating and gifting sweets is therefore a key component of American Diwali, but many other customs – including fireworks, clothing, decorations, and religious ceremonies – are also popular.

Key Consumer Insights

According to Collage Group’s 2021 Holidays and Occasions study, 13% of the Asian American population celebrates Diwali, with 67% of Indian Americans making up the bulk of celebrants. Diwali therefore has a niche, but dedicated market.

Which means many brands may be wondering if they have permission to play.

Among Indian Americans, brands largely have a green light to focus on education. Most Indian Americans say brands should use their Diwali activations to explain what the holiday is and why it’s important, given that half of Americans – and 42% of Asian Americans – are not familiar with the festival at all. And Many Indian Americans also support brands sharing stories of people observing the holiday, as well as showing others what they can do to help celebrate.

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Are Modern Families Really All that Different?

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