Millions of Americans will have the opportunity today to witness a celestial phenomenon that for many, will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get an ideal viewing of what happens when the moon passes in front of Earth’s sun—a total solar eclipse. Swathed in the moon’s shadow, eclipse spectators across the United States will experience total darkness during the middle of the day—and the contrast of light between bright sun and dark moon. It’s the first total eclipse that has been visible in the United States since 1979, but even then, that eclipse was only visible in the northwestern corner of the country. With the Great American Eclipse drawing eager witnesses from coast to coast, the commercial world has taken advantage of the spectacle by employing various social eclipse marketing tactics.
It makes sense that an event of once-in-a-lifetime caliber is deserving of its own special promotions from big name businesses across the country. Here’s a list of brands capitalizing on solar eclipse marketing—and what their marketing strategies entail.
- Krispy Kreme: Definitely the tastiest promotion of the bunch, Krispy Kreme has announced the first-time release of chocolate-glazed doughnuts to coincide with today’s Great American Eclipse. The product is Krispy Kreme’s Original Glazed Doughnuts glazed instead with chocolate—providing a mouth-watering opportunity to celebrate the solar eclipse.
- Hertz: Perhaps an example of overcapitalization, Hertz car rental advertised their services for the Great American Eclipse on their blog (a post that has since been taken down), breaking down the exact times and locations that are best for viewing the eclipse and pushing the idea of renting a car to travel to sites along its path. Since then, Hertz has reportedly had to cancel hundreds of advance reservations due to over booking.
- Casper Sleep: One of the more creative examples of solar eclipse marketing, New York-based Casper Sleep has set up an “eclipse camp,” in a city that it shares its names with—Casper, Wyoming. The camp was set to house people Sunday night before Monday’s eclipse and was predicted to house a total of 80 overnight guests, with more attending events held by the camp during the day. The camp features Casper Sleep products inside canvas tents and nap and was slated to host activities like flashlight tag, movie screenings, yoga and more. An example of engaging offline marketing, Casper will feature the camp on its social media outlets throughout the day.
- Chiquita: This banana brand has capitalized on the idea that a partially eclipsed sun resembles the shape of its signature product—dubbing it a “banana sun.” Among its campaign materials, Chiquita created a map outlining the path of the eclipse with its banana suns from coast-to-coast. Chiquita also created a website, com, which will be updated throughout the day today. The website features an eclipse countdown, promotional videos and a FABSQs section (Frequently Asked Banana Sun Questions). Essentially, the word “eclipse” has been replaced with Chiquita’s own “banana sun.”
- Denny’s: As we learned from Krispy Kreme (and Chiquita for that matter), if you’ve got a product that is round and/or eclipse-shaped, then you’re pretty much set already to capitalize on solar eclipse marketing. Full-service American restaurant chain Denny’s will be offering $4 All-You-Can-Eat “Mooncakes,” on Monday, Aug. 21 inspired by the solar eclipse. The “mooncakes” are actually Denny’s Buttermilk Pancakes, with the restaurant chain boasting that its mooncakes will only be available on Aug. 21, but its buttermilk pancakes can be enjoyed throughout the year.
- Royal Caribbean: Some eclipse spectators are leaving dry land to watch the show at sea. Royal Caribbean offered a weeklong “Total Eclipse Cruise” departing Aug. 20 in celebration of the Great American Eclipse, for which it promised to sail to the ideal spot at sea for eclipse viewing. To top it off, singer Bonnie Tyler was scheduled as a special guest for the cruise, where she would perform her relevant hit song, “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” during the event.
- Airbnb: The short-term rental company Airbnb has seen rentals skyrocket for people traveling to areas best for viewing the Great American Eclipse. In terms of solar eclipse marketing, Airbnb and National Geographic hosted a giveaway for one night in a geodesic dome in Oregon and a private jet flight through the path of totality. Sunday night, the winners spent time in the sky with an astrophysicist and night-sky photographer from National Geographic.
- Mitsubishi: When you have a vehicle with “eclipse” in the name, you better be capitalizing on solar eclipse marketing. Mitsubishi’s new SUV is called the Eclipse Cross, and it will serve as a focal point of the automaker’s marketing for the Great American Eclipse. Mitsubishi will show a three-camera live stream of the event in Salem, Oregon, which is in the Path of Totality. During the event, Mitsubishi also plans to photograph the 2018 Eclipse Cross with the solar eclipse happening in the background.
The Great American Eclipse is not only an opportunity to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime event, but it is also a springboard for business across the country to connect their brands with a universal marvel that promises to capture the attention of millions of potential followers. Whether you are viewing the eclipse with safety glasses, a homemade pinhole or through a live stream, enjoy the show!
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