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Marketing America’s 100th Birthday
This July 4th marks 245 years since the signing of Declaration of Independence.
As birthdays go, it’s not the most significant milestone. But for bigger anniversaries, America has been known to pull out all the stops.
America’s 100th birthday party was held right here in Philly.
The Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 was the first official World’s Fair to be held in the United States.
The 1876 exhibition was open for six months, sprawling over 285 acres in Fairmount Park in West Philadelphia. More than 250 buildings were constructed for the event, including the Main Exhibition Building (the largest building in the world at that time) and Memorial Hall, which lives on today as the Please Touch Museum.
Americans flocked to the exhibition. Nearly 10 million visitors attended the celebration at a time when the U.S. population was around 46 million. Visitors were treated to more than 30,000 exhibits showcasing the latest inventions and innovations from the U.S. and across the globe.
It was at the Centennial Exhibition that Americans first saw the telephone, typewriter and mechanical calculator in action. It was the first time they tried bananas, root beer, ketchup and popcorn.
The 1876 Centennial Exhibition brought the wonders of the world to Fairmount Park in an effort to unite post-Civil War America and demonstrate that U.S. inventors and companies could compete in industry and innovation on a global scale. It was a celebration with a purpose. According to writer and critic William Dean Howells:
“No one can see the fair without a thrill of patriotic pride.”
Manufacturing A Milestone
For the United States, a 100th anniversary celebration is kind of a no-brainer. Anniversaries and other milestones are great opportunities to celebrate and calibrate your brand message.
But milestones shouldn’t always dictate the timing of your messages. You don’t have to wait until your 100th anniversary – or even your first anniversary – to create a meaningful news hook for an updated message or a new campaign.
Strategic marketing means crafting your campaign and messaging, then coming up with a milestone news hook that aligns with it. Announce your 25th hire as part of a new recruiting push. Celebrate your 1000th five-star review with the launch of a new help desk. Look for ways to sync up your value prop and the milestone you’re pushing.