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Leaps and Bounds of Growth: How 29 Brands Have Harnessed the Leap Year

Leaps and Bounds of Growth: How 29 Brands Have Harnessed the Leap Year

Leaps and Bounds of Growth: How 29 Brands Have Harnessed the Leap Year
There’s something special about a leap year.
Leaps and Bounds of Growth: How 29 Brands Have Harnessed the Leap Year
There’s something special about a leap year.

There’s something special about a leap year. My friend Theresa is a leap year baby, which I just learned is also called a leapling, and our friend group used to joke that she was only five or six years old when she was in her twenties. When I asked how she feels about celebrating her actual birthday this year, she said, “It feels like the OLYMPICS!” This analogy highlights a key factor that makes leap years feel so special: rarity.

Rarity and marketing go together like limited-edition 1989 vinyls and Swifties. According to the scarcity principle of persuasion, the harder it is to obtain something, the greater its value — and even just the perception of scarcity can spark a level of urgency that borders on mass hysteria. Here’s how 29 brands from various industries have leveraged it to their advantage.

Leap Stays

Several hotels are promoting special rates for stays booked this leap day. The Citizen Hotel in California is offering 29% off summer trips, while the Great Wolf Lodge in Texas is promoting stays for $29/person. In Florida, the Islamorada Resort Collection is hosting a one-day flash sale; guests who reserve two nights will get the third night free, plus a $100 dining credit, and another Florida resort, Ocean Edge, is offering 29% off.

It isn’t just an American thing either. The Cielo Lodge in Costa Rica is offering 50% off this leap day — and if you need a new passport before you go, Staples can help! This year, they’re giving away 29,000 free passport photos through their app.

Last leap year, many airlines promoted deals, including Frontier and Delta, but I imagine they encountered a bit of, uh, turbulence given the state of travel in 2020.

Leap Gear

Many retailers launched leap day campaigns in 2020, but few have been announced for 2024… yet. Reebok marked down many items to $29.99 last leap day, Others offered 29% discounts, including Champion, Bare Necessities and Express, while Columbia one-upped them all with 30%! On past leap days, the brand Big Frog gave away free leap year T-shirts. Leapfrog, anyone?

A Unique Way To Engage With the 2024 Leap Year

While quite a few restaurant chains are offering leap day promotions in 2024, the Melting Pot is taking it to the next level. For their “Ultimate Leap-Posal” giveaway, they’re treating four couples to a proposal dinner plus one fondue date night every month for a whole year (worth $150 x 12). I don’t know about you, but this one almost makes me want to divorce and remarry my husband just so we can win! Almost.

More Delicious Deals

This leap day, Legal Sea Foods is shelling out two lobsters for the price of one. They’re also leaping at the chance to recruit more members for their rewards program by offering 229 bonus points for 2/29 enrollments, and Yogurtland will triple the reward points for new and existing members alike that day. This is a great example of how brands are leveraging leap day to connect with their customers for years to come. I don’t think this one’s even related to the leap year, but it happens in February so I’m counting it: Marie Callender’s is knocking off $5 off their pies all month long!

Look Before You Leap

While some brands lean into the numbers theme, others harness the “leap” angle. The STRAT Hotel in Vegas is giving away free Skyjumps (open-air leaps from 829 feet) and “liquid courage” shots to daredevils born on February 29! For thrill-seekers under 52 inches tall, Chuck E. Cheese locations with Trampoline Zones will hand out free All-Day Jump Passes this year. In 2020, iFLY gave leaplings two free flights, and Sky Zone offered the first month for $1 to those who purchased a membership on February 29. 

Leap Cheers!

If you’re just here for the beer, Stella Artois launched an “uncancelled plans” campaign  in 2020 and provided rebates worth up to $30 on beers purchased between February 26 and 29, which came from a $366K fund set aside in honor of the 366 days in a leap year. Miller Lite put a clever spin on their efforts that year and gave out free 24-packs — one for every extra hour! And for those who prefer buzzes of the caffeinated variety, Einstein Brothers will be slinging 29-cent cups of coffee all day.

For the Leaplings Only

Some brands are saving their promotions for leap day babies, who often can’t partake in birthday deals in normal years. The good news? They can flock to Cowboy Chicken on February 29 for a free wood-fired rotisserie chicken! For young and young-at-heart leaplings, Build-a-Bear Workshop is selling Birthday Treat Bears for $4 on this leap day. Leaplings celebrating their birthdays in NYC, LA, DC or Vegas this year can head to Milk Bar to claim a free 6-inch birthday cake. In 2020, Krispy Kreme took a slightly different approach and delivered free doughnuts to healthcare workers and parents of leap day babies in hospitals! 

Grow Your Brand by Leaps and Bounds

These are just a few of the ways brands have leveraged the leap year to grow their customer base. If you’re looking to grow your own brand for several years to come, that’s one of our specialties! Let’s put our heads together.

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