Advertising almost always plays a role in consumerism, but the holiday season is by far the most ad-tastic time of the year. Many companies leverage the holiday season to increase sales, and if you were one of the people who woke up at 4 a.m. on Black Friday, their efforts are working! Every single commercial is holiday themed, whether it’s trying to sell you coffee or cars. Retail stores explode with Christmas decorations and music to get you in the shopping spirit. (And it usually works!) As a consumer of every day media, I’ve been targeted countless times by print, web and ambient advertising around this time of year. But now, I’ve also experienced the other side of this craziness, and it’s made me think a lot about how much work companies put into holiday campaigns and promotions.
This year, I’m interning for a non-profit that essentially relies on the holiday season to get through the rest of the year. Therefore, they’ve kept me busy designing holiday displays, promoting Christmas sale events, and googling “holiday advertising ideas” for inspiration. Amongst all the other crap out there, how do you get your specific product or service to stand out? It’s a tough call. Our team has attended tons of events all over the Midwest, participated in Black Friday sales, and completely altered its social media strategy to better suit this time of the year. It’s impressive how well thought out the process is, and this is just a small non-profit. I can’t even imagine how much extra work large, national corporations and non-profits put into the holidays!
Going along with this holiday brainstorm here, I’ve noticed some pretty awesome gifts this year that aren’t necessarily traditional – and truly speak to the social media/viral phenomenon that our industry is experiencing. Obviously you can buy iTunes gift cards at most stores, but now you can purchase Facebook credit gift cards, too. This is the first year I’ve noticed that. And if you haven’t checked out the mobile app SWAGG, take a look at how it’s revolutionizing gift card giving for special occasions. SWAGG lets you send and receive gift cards, ditching the plastic for digital barcodes that stores can scan at the checkout counter. (You can use it for online purchases!) Just tap your screen to unwrap the gift, and you can even attach a video message for the receiver to view when they open it. Pretty cool stuff. And then, of course, there’s Groupon. My mom used a Groupon offer last week to save money at one of my sister’s favorite retail stores when she went Chrsitmas shopping. I can’t wait to see what else our industry’s masterminds will come up with, especially in regards to the holiday season. What else have you seen this month that’s caught your attention and encouraged you to shop?
– Lauren Fisher