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December 3, 2012

‘Tis the Season…to be Ominous, Obscure and Irrelevant. (Holiday cartoon!)

If your Sunday newspaper looked anything like mine a few weeks ago, it was twice it’s usual size–stuffed with retail brochures touting “Black Friday” savings.  But not just post holiday savings.  “BLACK FRIDAY” savings.  Which didn’t start or end on Friday.

We all know where this term came from.  It’s the day most retailers begin to gather a whoppingly large percentage of their profits for the year.  But when did it become a marketing message?  Do consumers understand the term “Black Friday”?  Should they?  Regardless, retailers seem to think consumers know Black Friday means ridiculously cheap stuff.  On Friday.  Or Thursday through Sunday, leading into Cyber Monday.

What’s with all the corporate speak that’s passing as marketing copy?  Can’t we do better than to expect consumers to process the language we use to gauge our own performance?  The cynic in me believes that retailers have simply folded shamelessly in their efforts to convince consumers their products and brands have value.  They’ve given up.

And by the way, what’s with use of the exclamation “Door Buster Savings”, as in “Get Black Friday Deals with Door Buster Savings!!!”  Don’t people get trampled every year in true door-buster fashion in their quest for the obsolete $19 DVD player?  New rule:  Why don’t we stop coining phrases as marketing messages that can help incite riots outside retail establishments.

As the year draws to a close, let’s look back at the marketing communications we use to motivate consumers.  At the very least, we should ask if it’s relevant to them.  Do they understand it?  Is it misleading?  Respectful of their intelligence?  And, are we undermining our own brand-building efforts as the result?

Rant over.  Have a fabulously warm, relaxing and enjoyable holiday season.  And don’t worry–Black Friday will come around again in no time.

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