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National Tartan Day Scavenger Hunt and Flash Sale

Posted by Liz Schulte on 3/20/19 6:00 AM
Topics: MBS Monthly Marketing Plans, Bookstore marketing, student engagement

National Tartan Day is just around the corner. On April 6, proudly display your store’s plaid merchandise and encourage students to shop in your store by hosting a fun flash sale and scavenger hunt.

National Tartan Day Scavenger Hunt and Flash SaleWhat is National Tartan Day?

Download: Marketing Kit
National Tartan Day Scavenger Hunt and Flash Sale
Download Kit

The Scottish Declaration of Independence, which later served as a model for the American Declaration of Independence, was signed on April 6, 1320. In recognition of the achievements of Scottish Americans, National Tartan Day became a U.S. holiday observance in 1998. It is celebrated with parades, festivals and other festivities that celebrate the Scottish culture.

Tartans are iconic Scottish patterns that date back to the 1500s in the Highlands of Scotland. Tartan patterns consist of different colored vertical and horizontal stripes on a colored background — often referred to as plaid in the U.S.

College stores celebrate National Tartan Day

As tartans are a symbol of kinship and community, many colleges and universities have created their own official tartan designs. This makes National Tartan Day a great time to celebrate your campus community and prominently display your merchandise featuring the design.

For example, Mississippi State University’s School of Human Sciences recently held a tartan design competition. The winning student design will be featured on new store merchandise — such as sweaters, shirts, bow ties, mugs, etc. By partnering together, students get real-world retail experience and the Mississippi State University Bookstore has a chance to engage the campus community and build excitement over a new line of merchandise.

The new merchandise will be unveiled on National Tartan Day with a fashion show put on by the student-run MSU Fashion Board.  

“The MSU Fashion Board does runway shows and events. On April 6, they will wear the tartan to debut the designs and create some buzz,” Marketing and Trade Book Manager James Herzog said. “During the event, we will do live social media updates and help market this new line. The big thing is that it is going toward a scholarship that will help fashion design students in the future.”

National Tartan Day flash sale and scavenger hunt

There may not be time to follow in Mississippi State University Bookstore’s footsteps this year, but you can arrange for a quick flash sale and scavenger hunt to celebrate National Tartan Day.

Flash sale steps

Step 1: Select the specific merchandise that will be discounted for the event. If you have a school tartan, featuring items with the plaid design would be natural choice. Also, consider other items like golf accessories and hats. 

Step 2: Set your general flash sale discount so you can begin to drum up excitement for the sale.

Step 3: Create a variety of social media advertisements that celebrate National Tartan Day and the specific merchandise that will be on sale in your store that day. Make sure to note that quantities are limited and the sale will last only for a short while.

Step 4: Hang up signs around campus and in your store about your National Tartan Day sale. Be sure to include how students can follow you on social media so they don’t miss an opportunity for savings.

Step 5: Assign one social media savvy employee to handle all social media posts leading up to the sale and during the event. This will ensure your social media page has an active presence the day of the sale to build excitement and reply to comments.

Scavenger hunt steps

Step 1: Print off as many of the attached unicorn or Loch Ness monster images as you need.

UnicornFO Fun Fact:


The national animal of Scotland is a unicorn.

Step 2: Write on the back a special offer or discount that can be redeemed in your store. Even if the giveaway is as simple as a candy bar, it could bring a student who wasn’t planning on taking part in the sale into your store and help increase foot traffic.

Step 3: Hide the pictures around campus or in your store.

Step 4: On the day of the event, make sure to feature these special discounts and giveaways prominently on social media. If possible, send out an email about the hidden images so students, faculty and staff can keep an eye out for them around campus.

Download the marketing kit to receive

      • An editable event flyer
      • A National Tartan Day social media image
      • Scavenger hunt unicorn and Nessie image

If your store hosts a flash sale or scavenger hunt for National Tartan Day, we would love to hear from you and feature your store on Foreword Online.

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About Liz Schulte

Liz Schulte is an author and business owner with a background in customer service, marketing and higher education development.

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