Jigsaw LLC


Black Friday is for procrastinators – holiday advertising starts early.

— Branding & Marketing —

For years, retailers have been putting up in-store holiday displays earlier and earlier. It’s not uncommon to see fully decorated trees weeks before Halloween. This year, the holiday creep has spread to on-air and online advertising. Target is jumping ahead of the rest of the retail industry with its TV and video pre-roll ad that features its Bullseye dog and a promise that “The holidays are coming, and they’re gonna be big.”

This early holiday push is in contrast to the retailer’s strategy in years past. According to an Ad Age article, in 2010 the company postponed running holiday-themed ads until the week after Thanksgiving. The article quotes then Chief Marketing Officer Michael Francis: “Guests really tire of these messages when they’re started too early in the season, and it doesn’t align with where they are in their lives. They look at Thanksgiving as family time … and aren’t yet ready to get into the frenzy that defines the Christmas shopping season.”

Even the hosts of NPR’s Morning Edition seemed incredulous that holiday ads were running six weeks before Thanksgiving.

What changed in two years? The economy for one. In another Ad Age article, Target’s CEO Gregg Steinhafel said: “Guests are feeling better about finances and are more comfortable considering larger purchases.” Feeling bullish about consumer confidence and ability to spend, Target is further tempting shoppers with REDcard discounts, Free Shipping, Holiday Price Match and Easy Returns –– all in hopes of capturing more of consumers’ holiday spending.

Time will soon tell if Target’s holiday advertising strategy is a success. I wonder if this early push for Christmas sales will be at the expense of Halloween sales. Christmas gets a lot of attention from retailers, but Halloween spending is no joke. This year, it’s estimated that consumers will spend $8 billion getting their spook on.

What do you think? Will early holiday advertising cannibalize or boost Halloween spending at Target?

And do you think these early ads will influence you to shop earlier (Target sure hopes so)? Or does all this premature holiday talk have the reverse effect and make you want to avoid the perceived hassles of holiday shopping for as long as you can?

Posted by Jigsaw