Advertising Turkeys

Posted November 20, 2013, under Ad Absurdum

Thanksgiving is quite possibly the quintessential American tradition.* When November rolls around, the entire country’s economy gears up for sitting down, touching down and most of all, chowing down. 

* Unless you’re Canadian, German, Grenadian, Japanese, Liberian, Dutch, or from the Australian external territory of Norfolk Island. 

Giving Thanks: By the Numbers

How important is the holiday to America? There are four places in the U.S. named after the main course: Turkey Creek, LA; Turkey, TX; Turkey, NC; and Turkey Creek, AZ.

Even the traditional side dish gets a piece of the action, with Cranbury, NJ; two Cranberry Townships in Pennsylvania, and Cranberry Lake, NY, among others.

There are 32 counties, places and townships throughout the U.S. named for the Pilgrims’ landing place, Plymouth Rock; other areas went with “Pilgrim” and “Mayflower.” (Source: United States Census Bureau)

But what about modern observance? Well, our sources expect nearly 50 million turkeys to be consumed, not counting the lucky birds spared by Presidential pardon.

Americans spend roughly $2.5 billion on the Thanksgiving Dinner itself. The American Farm Bureau Federation puts it at $49.48 per head. Believe it or not, that’s cheaper than per-capita cost in 1986. Adjusted for inflation, the 1986 dinner came to sixty “now” dollars.

It’s What’s for Dinner


Since the dawn of the modern age, advertisers have been salivating for a chance to get some of that money being thrown around. And sometimes, in their eagerness to snatch at your hard-earned dollars, they full-on faceplant.

Naturally, it is our privilege and our pleasure to present you with some examples, so you can be thankful you’re not them.





Cigarettes are a huge part of Thanksgiving! Because the family that smokes together, stays together!

And then there’s this thing.

One of you is going to DIE. Happy Thanksgiving!

Yet the snapshot ad somehow manages to be more tasteful than these “food” suggestions.

Instead of serving, y’know, an actual bird.

Suggested serving: Season with the tears of your crushed dreams of a real Thanksgiving dinner.

Bonus Jell-O Round!

Jell-O, the food of the future! Because in the future, you’ll be in a nursing home.

Mayonnaise, Jell-O and Cranberry Sauce “Candles”: These are confusing on par with decorative bathroom towels. Are they for use, or show? Also: Gross.

Frozen Jellied Turkey Vegetable Salad: We don’t care how you dress it up. That is a quivering block of cold, turkey-flavored gelatin.

The worst thing isn’t that there is a Frozen Turkey Jell-O dish. The worst thing is that there are two Frozen Turkey Jell-O dishes. Also, we’d have words with the designer who decided to create a contrast nightmare with a black headline over that image.

Bon Appétit!