A Black Friday For Marketing

Arguably one of the worst marketing ideas, since the Sweeney Todd & Mrs Lovett Partnership was formed selling haircuts and pies – Black Friday. On paper it’s pure genius, “Christmas shopping is getting later and later, let’s pull sales forward, stimulate the market and make more money”.

In reality what we have is Christmas sales, not now starting on Boxing Day, but on November 27th. But more worryingly is that we’re shifting the consumer mindset into a discounting mode nearly a full month before Christmas.

Black Friday is worth £1bn sales in one day, £3.5bn over the weekend (according to Centre for Retail Research). Once again, on paper, this sounds amazing – retailers and brands profit from driving huge volumes, but at what cost? In our opinion at the cost of future full price sales.

Are we potentially killing four weeks of Christmas?
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If a consumer already associates Christmas with sales, why would they want to spend huge sums of money between 1st and 25th December, unless it’s for discounted goods. It just doesn’t make sense, unless it’s for a distressed purchase (which we will all have).

2015 has also seen the move from Black Friday to Black Week, with every brand trying to avoid getting caught in the PR nightmare of the retail scrum which made every front page last year, plus looking to drive sales for longer. This might spread the risk, or drive sales for a longer period, but it also dilutes the excitement/newness of the one-day-only offer that was Black Friday.

It’s a brave (or foolish) move to step out of the Black Friday frenzy, but it just doesn’t feel like it’s commercially viable long-term. It feels like Black Friday is a very dark stain on our Marketing copybook and let’s hope next year we think of something more interesting and exciting than discounting products a month before Christmas.

Also, don’t worry if you missed this week, or tried to avoid it. Cyber Monday is just around the corner…