Thanksgiving Day Parades On The Second Screen

Jen Cohen Crompton

It’s a day that we all [should] pause and think about what we are grateful for and spend time with those who matter. We enjoy the old-fashioned traditions including the turkey Macy's thanksgiving day paradedinner, the stuffing we eat once a year, the football games, and we might even enjoy a good parade.

This year, the New York City Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade (presented by Philadelphia ABC affiliate, WPVI), will be taking their parades beyond the street and into the palm of your hand through a second screen experience.

A little history

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in 1924, and it is tied for the title of the the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States (sharing the title with America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit), and both parades are four years younger than the 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia. These traditional parades boast a lineup of inflatables, talent, and celebrities, and have stood the test of time. And now, keeping up with the times and technology, they are inviting interaction beyond bundling up and watching from the sidelines.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade app

Macy’s launched their Thanksgiving Day Parade app, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2013, in the iTunes store and on GooglePlay (for Android users), and the app invites users to follow, watch, explore, and create. The app can be used by onlookers who are parade-side, or those who are at home watching on TV.

The colorful and animated app invites users to follow along and “stay up to date with the latest Parade news, create your very own augmented reality parade balloon, interact with your favorite characters, get a glimpse of behind-the-scenes balloon prep, and more!” The app seems to have functionality appealing to all audiences and the interactivity is sure to keep your fingers busy as you navigate the parade and find out about upcoming acts and secret surprises before the TV viewing audiences (make sure you have your touch screen gloves ready!).

Although it seems Macy’s will be prominently displayed throughout the app, it is expected since they are headline sponsor for the event.

6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade virtual view

The 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia didn’t launch a separate app for their second screen focus, but they did add a function into their widely used and downloaded 6abc app that links to the junario Augmented Reality Browser app and provides a 6abc Virtual View channel. When the channel is accessed and certain content is scanned, augmented reality happens and a animated station logo appears on the mobile device screen.

The overall concept is that as viewers are watching the parade from home, when there is a call-out on the screen, the user will be able to open their app, hold their device up to their television, and unique 3D content will appear. While the method for accessing the app and content seems a bit convoluted and less user-friendly than a separate app (maybe even a bit less functional), it could just be a proof of concept trial for the news station that may lead to bigger and better content down the road.

In a article, Mike Monsell, VP and director of creative services at WPVI solidified the assumptions and it was reported that he explained that the station will evaluate the use of the app following the Thanksgiving Day Parade and see where else it could be used.

Check out the parades and apps on Thanksgiving Day and let us know what you think, but by no means should your mobile device dominate your day – take time and be thankful.


About Jen Cohen Crompton

Jen Cohen Crompton is a SAP Blogging Correspondent reporting on big data, cloud computing, enterprise mobility, analytics, sports and tech, and anything else innovation-related. When she's not blogging, she can be caught marketing, using social media and/or presenting at conferences around the world. Disclosure: Jen is being compensated by SAP to produce a series of articles on the innovation topics covered on this site. The opinions reflected here are her own.