The rare appearance of a total solar eclipse sweeping across America on Aug. 21 promises to cast millions of people in temporary darkness, practically guaranteeing the event will become a social media phenomena.
So no surprise, businesses are looking to cash in ahead of the big day.
Krispy Kreme became the latest company to offer a promotional deal tied to the solar spectacle.
The company said its trademark glazed doughnut will be doused in a chocolate glaze starting on Aug. 19 and 20 during “Hot Light” hours and on the Monday of the eclipse at participating stores in the U.S. and Canada.
The doughnut company joins others such as rental car company Hertz and mattress retailer Casper offering promotions for an astronomical event that hasn’t happened in this country since 1979. A totality occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, blocking our view of the sun.
Some Hertz locations encouraged customers to book rental cars for the eclipse so they could travel to sites along its path.
The promotion turned out to be so popular that, according to BuzzFeed, Hertz recently started calling customers to say their reservation had been canceled due to overbooking at some locations by the company. Hertz is offering customers rental vouchers, though it is unclear whether they will be valid for the next total eclipse, which apparently is set to occur in 2024.
Casper is setting up a sleeping camp in the Wyoming city that shares its name to help eclipse watchers catch some Zs before and after the big event.
According to the Casper Star, the New York City-based mattress company will make tents stocked with its bedding available to guests on the Sunday night before the eclipse. The cost of the experience costs $499 for two people.
American Paper Optics, a Tennessee-based company that specializes in making 3-D glasses, has already made 40 million eclipse glasses in anticipation of the big event. They plan to manufacture another 10 million by Aug. 21.
Many of the eclipse-based campaigns aim to leverage an anticipated surge in social media, as people seek to document and comment on the uncommon event in Tweets and posts that were not available the last time one occurred.
Peter Cappelli, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, said social media already has fueled interest in the eclipse outside of the science community, with many people looking for ways to be a part of the event even if they do not live in the path of the totality.
“I think this has become a big deal so quickly because so many said I should get together with someone for this and go somewhere to see it,” he said. “I don’t think this would have happened in the absence of social media.”