Shoppers are already gearing up for the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday. This year, November 25th is scheduled to be the day that all stores' budgets will go back "into the black", as in, no longer red. The name may sound dull and its' meaning may be on the boring side, but there is NOTHING boring about the huge influx of business and cash for these retailers and for shoppers, the chance to practically steal a most sought after item, is too good to pass up. But what role does advertising play in this yearly spectacle?
Advertising likely played a different role years ago in terms of driving traffic and encouraging people to shop on this specific day, when shopping malls and major retail chains were really taking hold of the Black Friday concept. In 2016, however, most shoppers know about Black Friday already. They understand and assume that if they show up at an early hour on November 25th, at any of their favorite stores, there MUST be a deal in that store for them somewhere.
With Black Friday and its' related madness already being within the general public's common knowledge, advertising does still play a huge role anyway and major retailers everywhere still dish out big bucks to market their sales because nowadays, it's all about beating the competition. Target MUST outdo Walmart, JCPenny MUST outdo Sears, etc.
Nearly all mediums and platforms will be utilized this year to get retailers' messages out about their specific products, prices, and opening times. Retailers like Macy's and Walmart have relied on celebrities to star in their commercials to promote their holiday sales and events, with appearances by Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Melissa Joan Hart and Anthony Anderson. Old Navy frequently relies on celebs like Julia Louis Dreyfus and Amy Poehler to star in recurring ads, increasing the familiarity of the brand to the consumer and obviously garnering extra attention from fans. They realize it's important to stand out amongst every other store and every other sale. If you don't stand out, you risk your ads or commercials being forgettable or simply blending in.
Most major retailers also annually put out a sales flyer, which typically runs in Newspapers across the country prior to Thanksgiving Day, detailing individual products and deals, and even separated by specific time periods during the day(s). Due to living in the information age, consumers can now find leaked sales flyers from these stores in the days leading up to Black Friday on websites like BFAds.Net and BlackFriday.com. This generates more excitement, at an earlier date, so serious shoppers now have the time to fully formulate their Black Friday strategies.
Online advertising is huge. No doubt about that. One retailer that effectively went viral last year was REI, with their #OptOutside campaign. The outdoor retailer boldly decided NOT to participate in Black Friday and closed its' doors, encouraging everyone to be active and enjoy the outdoors instead. The key to this campaign was of course, being talked about and making the news, but also really relating to its' customer base and showing its' thoughtful side. It was a risky move but it actually paid off. Reportedly 1.4 million people reposted the OptOutside hashtag and REI closed its fiscal year with a 9.3% increase in revenue. REI's campaign is still keeping with this theme of standing out among competitors. It's not easy to get a marketing campaign to go viral, especially in a time when EVERY retailer is attempting to go viral. Creating a message, as simple as it may be, that really resonates with your primary customer base while also echoing a general sentiment waving over consumers in recent years about the overkill of Black Friday, can definitely have the potential to be a winning move.
This year, many stores are opting to close on Thanksgiving Day, as opposed to the last few years. This is making huge news and more stores are expected to follow. Recent years have indeed shown a growing interest in online purchases verses brick and mortar shopping. How many more years will we be seeing long lines for TV's and discount cashmere in the cold morning hours after Thanksgiving? We will have to wait and see. Trends come and go, even long lasting "trends", like the concept of Black Friday shopping. Regardless of how Black Friday shopping habits change over the years, there will always be a serious role for advertising in the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Does your business need help standing out amongst the crowd this holiday season? Integrated Advertising can help develop attention grabbing campaigns to entice more consumers in your direction.
Integrated Advertising is a full-service agency based in Jacksonville, FL., known for its expertise in strategic planning and negotiating, its award-winning commercial production, and promotional and event management, Visit http://www.intadvertising.com/ or call (904) 296-2585 for more information.