Thanksgiving is something most of us associate with happiness and relaxation. It is a time for gathering with family and friends, enjoying an abundance of great food, doing a little traveling, and for many it is a four-day weekend to boot.

But it is also a time of panic and fear for many, an event that prompts an estimated 10,000 people to call the Butterball Turkey Hotline.

Thanksgiving is two weeks away but the Butterball Turkey Hotline has been open for ten days.

According to estimates from the National Turkey Federation, 88% of Americans will have turkey this Thanksgiving. That translates to 46 million turkeys eaten at Thanksgiving. A few weeks later, at Christmas, another 22 million will be consumed. Between the two holidays, we will eat 1 billion pounds of turkey meat. Which means plenty of room for error from the home cook.

As AdWeek reported recently, the epicenter of turkey tutorials is found in Naperville, IL, at Butterball’s corporate headquarters. There, the hotline is staffed by 50 Poultry Professionals, guiding rookies and experienced cooks alike as they prepare for the big day.

The service began in 1981 as a telephone help line. That year, six women staffed the number, and handled 11,000 calls. In recent years as demand for the service has grown, Butterball has gone multimedia. They added the TurkeyTalk podcast in 2004, and later added tips and recipes via Facebook and Twitter. This year for the first time, cooks can text their questions.

Public Service Announcement: The number to use for texting is 844-877-3456. Texts will be responded to 24 hours a day in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. The regular phone number is 1-800-BUTTERBALL. It is staffed from 8a – 8p CT.

Across the phone, web, and social media platforms, Butterball estimates they interact with three million home cooks a year, making it a powerful marketing tool for the brand. The Poultry Pros will help regardless of what brand’s turkey has been purchased. Butterball feels these efforts solidify the brand as expert in the mind of the home cook.

In spite of the help offered by Butterball, turkey disasters do happen, as seen in this classic clip from “WKRP in Cincinnati”.  

The radio station was looking for an eye catching promotion, and decided to drop hundreds of turkeys from a helicopter. “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly” said Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump), the manager of the radio station, after the stunt went horribly wrong.

So, avoid those turkey disasters this Thanksgiving and give Butterball a call. In the event of a real disaster, we still recommend you call your local fire department.

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