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A Once-in-a-Four-Year Offer

We all want extra hours in our day to get more done or enjoy more rest, but naturally, we never get it. The technical exception falls when the calendar flips to a very unique date: February 29th. In order to keep our calendars consistent with the astronomical year, every fourth 365-day year requires that we tack on an extra 24 hours. Colloquially known as Leap Day, the bonus day inserted at February’s end doesn’t really provide all the extra time we could use, but it does provide an interesting opportunity for promotions, marketing, and special events.

Capitalizing on 2012’s status as a leap year, auto industry heavyweight Honda is holding a contest widely advertised during the Super Bowl and beyond where participants enter a ‘Leap List’ full of activities or goals to achieve in this slightly extended year. It is playing out as a smartly hybridized promotion that taps directly into its audience, delivering a strong brand message that becomes inherently positive to the consumer participants. Among many other deals and promotions, e-tailer Zappos is cleverly extending its normal 1-year guarantee to 4 for any items purchased on Leap Day, and Princess Cruises is offering savings on certain packages equivalent to 1 free day, in honor of the ‘free’ day we get each Leap Year.

The fact is that one additional day in 4 years really isn’t a difference maker -but it is a marker. The occasion is just rare enough that we tend to distinguish the day as special in some way. How marketers choose to leverage this opportunity can vary, but February 29th should not be a forgotten day.

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