When companies mix holidays into their business, things can go wrong. We saw several examples of that as major corporations celebrated Juneteenth and Pride Month. 

Walmart pulled its Juneteenth ice cream from freezers after a frosty reception from customers. The ad agency behind Burger King Austria's "Pride Whopper" apologized for the two top and two bottom buns campaign.


What You Need To Know

Customer backlash prompted companies like Walmart to apologize over how it branded holidays

Consumers have become very aware of brand authenticity

Marketing experts say the key to delivering an authentic campaign is to figure out why a holiday matters to you personally before looking at it through the lens of a businessperson


"I think in both Walmart and Burger King's particular cases, the companies made the mistake of moving too quickly without considering the responses of communities at large," said Matt Potts, vice president of Blueprint Business Communications.

Having worked on Juneteenth campaigns with Visit New Bern, Potts says people and businesses looking to incorporate holidays in a meaningful way, have to ask themselves why they're doing it. The answer can't just be the money.

"It doesn't happen overnight," Potts said. "You've got to take the time to ensure you have a foundation set that fosters diversity and inclusion before attempting to spread it to the masses, because consumers are very much aware of brand authenticity."

Some ideas to lay that foundation could include increasing representation within your own company. Brands can invite groups to speak and educate their employees or consumers about a certain holiday.

In many instances companies donate a portion of sales to a relevant cause.

A business can also collaborate with related organizations on events or products that can help teach people something.

Ultimately it boils down to caring about the holiday as a person before caring about it as a businessperson. 

"If you have it going on internally, and you truly believe what you are supporting on the inside, when you put it externally, it comes across much more authentic," Potts said. "It doesn't come across as 'oh I'm going to take advantage of this holiday to try to sell ice cream or paper plates' or things like that."