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Study: Nearly Half of Marketers Will Launch Holiday Campaigns Before Halloween. Ugh.

cnn_stuff_081As a true New England girl, I love all things Autumn with an almost maniacal passion — the leaves, the hot cider, the apple picking, the pumpkin carving, and, most especially, Halloween. But over the course of my lifetime, I’ve noticed (as we all have) the ever-encroaching holiday shopping season infiltrating my sacred season of costumes and pumpkin pie — it happens earlier every year. Once upon a time, people complained about Christmas trees in the malls before Thanksgiving, but now we run the risk of bumping into Santa Clause while shopping for Trick-or-Treat candy. Creepy (in more than one sense).

If you, too, are frustrated by the creep of the holiday shopping season, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that this is a trend that shows no sign of retreating. A new study done by Experian Marketing Services, which surveyed more than 200 marketers about their cross-channel marketing plans for the holiday season, found that 50 percent of all marketers plan to launch their holiday campaigns before Halloween.

“Retailers have been extending the shopping seasons with promotions, post-recession, so it’s not surprising to see that nearly half of all marketers stated they would launch a holiday campaign before Halloween,” said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research of Experian Marketing Services, in a news release. “This year’s Back to School season started in early July as a big promotional month versus last year. Our consumer confidence data shows it as the highest it’s been since the recession, so we expect the early promotion trend to carry over into the holiday season with Black Friday deals being offered even earlier than last year.”

Back in July, we discussed the unprecedented number of back-to-school ads running before the Independence Day fireworks — while that strategy seems to have paid off in many ways, some retailers (like Amazon) garnered good PR by taking a vocal stand against bulldozing summer vacation to make an early buck. Retailers have taken similar approaches to the winter holiday creep with positive results in the past, such as Nordstrom’s 2012 refusal to deck its halls until the day after Thanksgiving.

As it seems at least half of marketers plan to continue robbing us of our precious autumnal atmosphere in hopes of getting us to shell out some holiday cash a little earlier, here’s to hoping more retailers take a stand to stop the madness, and that the consumers frustrated with the holiday creep will reward them for it.

I mean, really, the wonder of the holidays is in the magical feeling that is only experienced at that special time of year, and you can only spread the magic so thin before it evaporates completely. I think of it like confetti — if you throw it all at once, it’s celebratory, beautiful, fun, and special. If you throw it at someone a few pieces at a time over many months, it’s just annoying, disruptive litter.

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