Thanksgiving might seem like a slam dunk holiday for food and beverage marketers, but it’s not as easy as it may seem. That is, unless your brand is Butterball®.
The company produces 20 percent of all turkeys consumed on the holiday (Americans will scarf down nearly 50 million of the birds on November 26), which gives it a clear edge when it comes to scoring a spot at the table.
One of the main reasons Butterball has been able to succeed is its willingness to help overworked, at-home chefs out of sticky situations. Since 1981, Butterball has operated the Turkey Talk-Line®, a hotline answered by a team of more than 50 professionally trained home economists and nutritionists who take more than 100,000 phone calls in November and December from flustered cooks. (Butterball recently added the Talk-Line’s first male expert.)
We put the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line to the test by phoning in six questions of varying absurdity. The results? Like the professional turkey gurus they are, they answered our bizarre inquiries with grace and courtesy.
1. I dropped my turkey on the floor. Does the five-second rule apply, or do I have extra time since it’s a 20-pound turkey?
ANSWER: We’re going to leave that up to your discretion as to whether or not you want to eat that turkey, and how long it has been on the floor.
2. Can I cook five 30-pound turkeys in the same oven, or do I need to cook them individually?
ANSWER: You can cook them together. If you have an oven large enough, we suggest you space them out, rotate them and follow the cooking guide for the largest turkey.
3. How do I keep my family from fighting over who gets the drumsticks?
ANSWER: You can buy extra drumsticks separately. They're typically sold in two-, four- or six-packs. You can also search your ZIP code on our website to see if there's a store near you that may have them.
4. I don’t have an oven. Can I cook my 15-pound turkey in the microwave?
ANSWER: You can, but it’s difficult, time-consuming and you have to change things around. You could try Butterball Baked or Butterball Smoked, which are both fully cooked and sold frozen. All you have to do then is thaw, slice and heat to serve. A Crock-Pot can also work, but whole turkeys are best cooked in the oven or on an outdoor grill.
5. My turkey didn’t come with a wishbone, and that’s my kids’ favorite part of Thanksgiving. Is there any way you can send us a wishbone for a 15-pound turkey?
ANSWER: There should be a wishbone in each turkey. They all have one, but we don’t send them out.
6. Does Butterball make a vegetarian turkey?
ANSWER: I thought you were kidding! We've been having kids prank-calling here. But no, we don't have a vegetarian turkey.
MARKETING LESSON: Connecting and communicating with your brand’s fans is more important than ever before, whether it’s on social media or a Turkey Talk-Line.
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