Illumine8 After Hours Recap: Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Edition

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On this edition of Illumine8 After Hours we’re talking turkey about a Thanksgiving favorite: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The first surprise of the edition is that Inbound Marketing Coordinator, Mira, has never actually watched the Macy’s Parade on Thanksgiving morning. The second surprise is that Mira and CMO, Christina, will have two minutes to make their first ever balloon animals on camera to commemorate the balloons featured in the parade. Whoever makes the best one is the winner.

Catch the full episode here, and wait til the end to see their balloon creations:

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began as a Christmas-themed marketing event in 1924 by largest department store in New York City. It eventually turned into what it is today, a nationally televised tradition with celebrities, Broadway performances, and floats and balloons sponsored by different companies.

This year will be the parade’s 91st year, and the event has grown in spectacle and popularity as the years have gone by. If you have done the math, you’ll realize that the parade missed a few years since its start in 1924. This was due to material shortages during World War II, from 1942-1944.

The parade has been televised nationally on NBC since 1952 and will have over 8,000 participants this year, likely over 3.5 million spectators in Manhattan and over 22 million people tuning in to watch from home.

What can we expect to see at the parade this year?

Balloons by:
    • Pillsbury - Doughboy Balloon
    • Sanrio Inc. - Hello Kitty Balloon
    • McDonald’s - Ronald McDonald Balloon
    • DreamWorks Animation  - Trolls Balloon
    • Nickelodeon - Spongebob Balloon
    • Pokemon - Pikachu Balloon
    • Peanuts Worldwide - Charlie Brown Balloon
Floats by:
    • Ocean Spray
    • Hallmark Channel
    • Girl Scouts Of The USA
    • Krazy Glue
    • Green Giant
    • Delta Air Lines
    • Homewood Suites By Hilton®
  • Balloonicles by:
    • Macy’s
    • Aflac

Fun Fact: Snoopy has been in the parade 38 times.

How much do balloons cost?

First-time balloons cost at least $190,000—this covers admission into the parade and the cost of balloon construction. After the initial year, companies can expect to pay Macy’s about $90,000 to get a character into the parade lineup. If you consider that the balloons are out for only an hour or so, that’s about $1500 a minute.

A bygone Macy’s tradition was that the balloons would actually be released at the end of the parade. They would have a return address sewn on them and people would be given a $50 reward by Macy’s if they found and returned the balloons. The tradition ended after the 1932 parade, due to an accident between a released balloon and an airplane, which was not great for marketing.

Mira and Christina had two minutes on the turkey timer to make their first-ever balloon creations. Thankfully no balloons were popped in the making of this video.

We hope you enjoyed this holiday episode of Illumine8 After Hours. Check out more content on our blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and don’t forget to catch the parade on Thanksgiving morning from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., live from New York City.

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