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Posts Tagged ‘Black Friday’

#WalMartFights = PR Nightmare

Today we give thanks for the fact that we didn’t spend Thanksgiving night in jail after stabbing a fellow shopper over a Walmart parking space.

What, you didn’t notice that lots of people are making fun of Walmart today?

The world’s biggest seller of cheap crap took some unusual steps to minimize the easily predictable wave of viral stampede videos this year. These steps ranged from beefing up security with off-duty cops to “using quota systems” for the hottest products and even issuing separate wristbands for sales events starting at 6 and 8, which allow shoppers to “return two hours after an event starts to pick up their purchases.”

But all the “SHOPSTRONG” bracelets in the world couldn’t prevent this knock-down-drag-out over a television:

US CEO Bill Simon made the morning show rounds today in what Forbes calls a “PR offensive.”

How did it go?

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Starbucks Joins the Black Friday Black Eye to the Holidays

Kinda says it all to me after this holiday buzzkill news

Kinda says it all to me after this holiday buzzkill news

Sure, there’s a Starbucks on every corner. If you don’t believe me, listen to the great Lewis Black explain it.

Now, I understand Starbucks thinks it is a retail giant, but it’s not. Admit it, O’ siren of the coffee bean. You sell addiction in a nicely tight package of prepubescent angst.

Your smarmy baristas may be happy to provide some fattening lemon, pumpkin or other fru-fru bread, but you are placed on every street corner in the known world to sell coffee.

Your PR is for coffee. Your products are known as coffee. Your bottom line is laced in it.

So, far be it from me — who just loves all this Thanksgiving Thursday / Black Friday hurry-hurry-sell-till-you-puke-mess — to allow a moment like this to go by without a comment of snark. But Santa has decided that Starbucks would be better served as a big box retail store than a depot for hipsters ogling over each other’s skinny jeans and graphic tees.

According to the ConsumeristStarbucks’ Black Friday deal is $65 for a stainless steel tumbler that comes with an entire month’s worth of free espresso-based beverages.

Well, dip me in a caramel macchiato and call me java mama. I hope this comes with an appointment to an internist because your damn liver and kidneys may have something for you by New Years.

Study: How Will (Female) Shoppers Behave This Holiday Season?

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It’s the question that’s dogged every marketer for the past twelve months.

The quarterly “Why She Buys” shopping index, created by female-centric firm Lippe Taylor and influencer marketing company SheSpeaks, reached some revealing if not entirely unexpected holiday season conclusions after surveying more than 3,000 American women. A few of the big numbers:

  • 43% of women are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about their financial situations, up 19% from the prior year
  • 48% of women say they will spend less during the holiday season than last year, which is a 30% increase from the prior year
  • Women are equally likely to shop on Black Friday (50%) and Small Biz Saturday (33%) when compared to last year, while only 16% say they will shop on Thanksgiving

So they’re going to be shopping on Black Friday, protests be damned—but they’re only in it for the sales.

This isn’t a huge shocker, but the fact that the numbers have increased this year is worth noting.

Now what about digital?

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Best Buy Wants You to Film Yourself Standing in Line on Black Friday

Oh hey: remember this holiday classic?

How about this one?

Best Buy is hoping against hope that nothing like that happens this year. In fact, they’re so sure that everything will go smoothly on Black Friday that they’re encouraging customers to Vine the experience. And by “the experience” we mean the process of waiting in line to shop at Best Buy.

Bad idea, you say? AllThingsD called it “risky”, which is an understatement.

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7 Holiday Pitching Tips for PR Pros

HolidayPRPitchThe holidays are the perfect time of year for PR pros to showcase a new product to the world. Members of the media are compiling their holiday wish lists, Black Friday is around the corner and consumers are hungry to hear about the hottest new trends.

So how can you be sure your product is seen (and most importantly, bought)? One of the first steps publicists need to take is a journalistic one: Do some research.

Most marketing companies sell media databases that have a list of beats, pitching tips and full contact information. In addition, there are free resources, including using LinkedIn and Twitter to find journalist information. (You’ll also find editor email addresses within Mediabistro’s own Mastheads database and How To Pitch articles.) Some of the most successful publicists have long-standing relationships with media outlets and social influencers because they took the time to research which department or journalist is responsible for that section.

To hear more tips on how to pitch during the holidays, including how to use social media to your advantage, read: 7 Holiday Pitching Tips For PR Pros.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

This Is Why All The Backlash in the World Won’t Put a Stop To Thanksgiving Day Shopping

target black fridayMore and more around this pre-Thanksgiving time, the media is filled with stories about retailers opening their doors for Black Friday earlier than the year before. Then there are stories about the backlash — from the employees who say their Thanksgiving Day celebrations are hampered by the need to report to a job that isn’t paying early enough to justify the inconvenience, and supporters who think that it’s heartless for these retailers to commercialize the holiday.

Despite the coverage this issue has gotten, retailers keep opening earlier and earlier, to the point that Kmart will be open for 41 straight hours. Shortly after this marathon opening was announced, CNN had a story that read:

Hundreds of Kmart customers took to social media and threatened to boycott the store if it didn’t reverse its decision, so that its employees can spend Thanksgiving with their families. People called the decision “heartless,” “greedy,” “shameful” and “disgusting.”

There must be a reason that retailers would subject themselves to this type of negative publicity at a time of happiness and goodwill each year.

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POLL: Will You Go Shopping on Thanksgiving Day?

Our own Elizabeth Mitchell just reported on retail brands taking a stand to end “Black Friday Creep” and gain some goodwill with consumers.

While there’s definitely “a PR benefit to holding out”, a pretty big portion of the public is going to hit the stores next Thursday anyway. Will you be one of them? Be honest….

Chinese Marketers Create the Best Fake Holidays

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Single…and loving it!

Here in the U.S., lots of people get upset as Black Friday campaigns grow bigger and start earlier each year.

But when it comes to fake holidays that double as marketing campaigns, the Chinese retail industry has us beat—and it’s not even close.

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A Brief and Terrible History of Black Friday

Black Friday We know, we know–we too plan to jump out of the nearest window if we have to hear the phrase “Black Friday” one more time. But as we scrolled through our news feed this morning we grew curious: what is the history of this horrible retail plague that empowers stores to sell lots of stuff by driving people up the wall with anxiety? And how did it come to haunt us so?

According to various trivia sites, the earliest roots of this sociological nightmare may lie with the very first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, held on the Friday after Turkey Day in 1924. Wait, you mean the shameless commercialization of the holiday season began with…a shameless commercialization of the holiday season? Color us shocked!

Retailers weren’t satisfied with these blatant promotional extravaganzas. Why? Well, once upon a time, Thanksgiving always fell on the final Thursday of the month. That Thursday sometimes occurred during the fifth week of November, leaving stores with fewer days to promote their Christmas sales.

So what did they do? They corralled their lobbyists, who convinced then-President Franklin Roosevelt to move the official date up one week. The change was more controversial than you might expect; citizens protested, and the United States essentially celebrated two Thanksgivings until Congress passed a law right after what must have been a very frustrating Christmas in 1941, officially changing the date to the fourth Thursday in November.

By the time the 60′s rolled around, Black Friday had already turned into something approaching the freakout we know today, but the name doesn’t refer to that dark holiday cloud that arrives each year to herald impending doom.

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Amazon Enters the Brand Pages Game

Amazon Brand PagesJust in time for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all that related insanity, Amazon has joined Facebook in giving marketers yet another reason to obsess over data with new brand pages and analytical tools.

Some details on this latest effort to flood every waking minute of our lives with targeted retail promotions, courtesy of TechCrunch:

The retail giant’s latest rollout allows companies to set up their own Amazon pages with tailored URLs and track their products’ sales performance numbers through a new Amazon Analytics service. It also includes an Amazon Posts feature designed to sync branded Facebook and Twitter messages.

The features are all free…for now. But we see a future revenue stream in the works.

Pardon us, but we’re a little overwhelmed by the latest chapter in The Data Explosion. Will Amazon’s new toys be welcome tools in the marketer’s arsenal? Will they help “demystify the impact of social marketing”, or has the company pages trend officially jumped the shark?

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