Ever wondered how the 11th June ended up being ‘National Corn on the Cob Day’? Or why on earth September 19th is ‘International Talk Like a Pirate Day’?
Well, if you’ve heard the saying ‘perception is reality’, you’re halfway there – and if you’re running your own business, there’s a pretty straightforward public relations hack that might provide you an annual boost in demand.
Journalists all over the world are required by trade to keep their fingers on the pulse, which means knowing if an important milestone day is approaching. To source this information they consult various online databases – and many of them such as National Day Calendar just require a form to be filled in to get a specific day listed.
“We generally don’t feature Days which don’t already have an established following”, explained one of the more successful calendar roundup sites, Days of the Year, which has a slightly more in depth vetting procedure:
“We may make some rare exceptions in cases where we’re confident that a new event will be sufficiently popular to guarantee it being a success, but in general we like to make sure that a Day is ‘real’ before adding it to the site. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, we suggest creating a Facebook page and/or a simple website, and seeing if people are interested and want to take part!”
Food blogger John-Bryan Hopkins, who has apparently successfully created hundreds of food-based national days including Onion Rings Day and Oreo Cookie Day, explained that creating a successful day takes patience:
“The first year, it’s just me telling people to take my word, by year two, the news people believe it because it was around the previous year. When year three comes, it’s like it was written in the Bible.”
So, running a small business dedicated to say, novelty socks? Put together a nice press release, make sure your event has a decent amount of followers on social media, and get in touch with every ‘National Day’ listing website you can find on Google. Hey presto! It’s National ‘Novelty Sock’ Day!
How much could your sales increase?
One example of a company getting the ‘National Day’ formula bang on the money is the story of Pepero Day in Korea, which, incidentally, is today! (11/11)
This magical national day is not to honour the war dead like in Britain and America, but to eat a type of sweet called a Pepero, which is a little biscuit stick (vaguely resembling a ‘1’) dipped in chocolate, similar to Mikado in the UK or the famous Pocky in Japan.
Crunch web editor Jon, who lived in South Korea a few years back, was confused when the Pepero buzz started.
“For about a fortnight before the day people kept asking me if I was buying Pepero any time soon, which proved very confusing as I am a foreigner and was not aware of this strange holiday. Once I figured out what a Pepero was and when Pepero Day was, I looked into it because, well, it’s a bloody strange thing to have an entire day for. It’s like the UK having Mars Bar Day or something.”
Pepero Day was, legend has it, begun by a group of girls in the South Korean city of Busan because they wanted to become “thin and slender like Pepero”. Of course, there is a suspiciously small amount of evidence of these events ever actually taking place, but nonetheless this is the official story put forward by Lotte, manufacturers of Pepero.
The fad spread with the idea that, for maximum effectiveness in getting tall and thin, one must eat 11 packets of Pepero on November 11, 11:11am and 11.11pm at 11 seconds exactly. How eating 2,398 calories (nine and a bit Mars Bars) in one day is supposed to make you thin, let alone tall, is anyone’s guess – but like most holidays, the emphasis on the day’s original ‘meaning’ has mercifully been lost over the years.
The more evidential explanation is that when Lotte saw a noticeable bump in Pepero sales on November the 11th, they made the rather shrewd call to promote it as ‘National Pepero Day’. The first was in 1997, and as of 2012, Lotte was making 50% of its annual sales on Pepero Day.
Other days for your diary
Festive greetings, freelancers! Tomorrow (November 12th 2015) is National Freelancers Day. The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) founded this event to focus on ‘the opportunities that freelancing offers to individuals, business and to the economy’.
Similarly, Small Business Saturday next month marks a country-wide grassroots campaign, which encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities. Use the hashtag #SmallBizSatUK and locate your local workshop to get involved with the festivities. If you’re running a small business of any kind, there’s no excuse for ignoring this event on the 5th December – unless of course you’re too busy celebrating ‘International Bathtub Party Day’.
Photo by travel oriented