This is the 42nd year of the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, invented in 1981 by my father and consumer marketing genius Pam Talbot. The idea was simple, to cure the turkey trauma suffered by thousands of first-time Thanksgiving dinner hosts about proper preparation of the quintessential American bird. I can tell you from personal experience in the pandemic year 2020 that I leaned on the Talk-Line to deliver a perfectly browned and tasty Butterball turkey along with sweet potatoes and beans to a thoroughly shocked assemblage of friends and family.
The core idea remains the same; a cast of experts are available via phone (and now also text, social and chat) to answer consumer questions on preparation of the bird. Our PR campaign aims to drive calls and participation in the holiday festivities. But the genius of Lindsay Garrison, Edelman EVP of Integrated Brand, and her fully integrated team of creatives, strategists, producers, food publicists and others was in forging a partnership with Bumble For Friends to help find those who were among the 20 percent of Americans who did not plan to celebrate the holiday, or planned to celebrate alone, to #FindYourTable. It was the Millennial game plan for Thanksgiving, to invite extended family or to host a Friendsgiving.
At a time of loneliness and mental health issues for several in that generation, it was the perfect call to action for those willing to host, in the true American tradition of sharing our bounty with our neighbors or new friends. And it became the usual media bonanza, with coverage ranging from Good Morning America to Squawk Box, Delish to Real Simple, Business Insider to Bloomberg Radio, Retail Brew to Mediapost, Parade to People, AccuWeather to Inside Edition to MLB Network, and virtually everywhere in between across the country.
All credit to our Butterball clients Al Jansen, Kyle Lock, Christa Leupen and others for giving us the go-ahead to think differently each year and to deliver on the Butterball pledge to bring people together to share the love. There can be no more important lesson to the Communications industry, a strong purpose, a creative partnership, continuity of concept, and brilliant execution. Thank you to all of the Edelman people who make me so proud every holiday season as you deliver again on Dan Edelman’s vision that PR properly conceived can drive strong marketing campaigns with tangible results. This is in the finest tradition of our 71-year-old family business, from one generation to the next, delivering for clients and for society.
Richard Edelman is CEO.