Bits & Pieces?
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.”
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?
Last night, Social Media Club Milwaukee welcomed our friends at Visit Milwaukee to share their social media successes and challenges and highlight their new DearMKE campaign. The discussion was held at the beautiful Historic Best Place at the Pabst Brewery, so it was a nice touch that we got to drink Pabst and Schlitz while discussing the fact that, according to Milwaukee’s Mayor Tom Barrett, “Laverne and Shirley don’t live here anymore.”
Jeannine Sherman, Bill Prange and Carrie Woods made it clear that they are a brand on a mission and everything they do ties back to the Milwaukee brand promise: A vibrant community on a great lake. Textured and real. A naturally beautiful and entertaining city with an easy attitude. Major props for being strategically driven.
Social media nerds love data, too, of course, and Visit Milwaukee didn’t disappoint. They share the results of their popular weekly Visit Milwaukee Facebook features, Where Are We Wednesday and Freaky Food Friday, as well as their quarterly social media promotions aimed at building both social communities and email database, increasing site traffic and ultimately, putting heads in beds. Measuring ROI was listed as a challenge, as it is for so many businesses; because a majority of Milwaukee hotel bookings happen off their website, Visit can measure proven increases in site traffic which can not always be tied directly to bookings. And they acknowledged that conversation and engagement matter, too.
The group was eager to hear more about the recently launched DearMKE campaign, which is very unique among destination marketing organizations. Jigsaw is proud to be a part of this campaign, having created the DearMKE website; many local creative organizations came together to make the DearMKE films and campaign happen, with Jack Turner as Executive Producer and About Face Media producing the films. The recently-released introductory DearMKE film makes us all stand a little taller as Milwaukeeans; we have so much to be proud of. Check it out…and turn it up.
The song is “Love You ‘Til I Die,” recorded in the early ‘70s by Milwaukee musician Bennie Cole. (Thank you, Jeff Sherman.)
Huge thanks to Visit Milwaukee for doing such a stellar job sharing their thoughts and experiences with us, to Best Place at the Pabst for hosting, and to Social Media Club of Milwaukee. Great stuff happening here in the MKE!
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What better way for a furniture manufacturer to promote its products than to let people use them? That’s what IKEA has been doing in Europe in the past few months.
In November, IKEA hosted a sleepover in its Essex store in response to a Facebook group called “I wanna have a sleepover in IKEA,” which has almost 100,000 fans. IKEA made their dreams come true and, through a contest, invited 100 of these fans to spend one night in its store and treated them to goodie bags, midnight snacks, hot chocolate, massages and manicures, and even a midnight movie and bedtime story read by Sam Faiers from The Only Way Is Essex. (Sounds like my type of evening.) The experience included a sleep expert and was designed to help educate people on how to get a great nights sleep, well, in addition to the fact that 100 people had an entire IKEA store just for themselves for an entire night. I wonder if they were allowed to make purchases.
The second example is still in the making, but IKEA fully furnished a 54-square-meter home (about 177′) for six people to live in, in the middle of a Parisian metro. From January 9th to the 14th the apartment in the Auber metro station in France’s capital will be home for these six individuals and frequenters will get a glimpse into the daily routines of five of their fellow Parisians. The project is called “The IKEA Apartment – 54 Square-Meter Ideas to Life” and aims to highlight how IKEA furniture is compatible with small spaces.
These are two great examples of listening and responding to customer, connecting the online and offline worlds and, most importantly, turning fans into advocates by allowing them to experience the brand instead of just bombarding them with meaningless messages. Sounds like XXI century marketing.
Yesterday Nick wrote about the cultish behavior of the Green Bay Packers’ fans and how every company in the world aspires to motivate such behavior, yet very few do because they don’t have strong brands.
I think it’s more than just a strong brand, it’s about the experience. Sport teams with cult-like following reach such status because they provided shared experiences. They bring people together. They create communities.
If you think about all such sport teams (Barcelona, Liverpool, Olympique de Marseille, Green Bay Packers, <insert another football/basketball/baseball/cricket team here>), most of them bear the name of the location in which the team was started. That’s not just because it was an easy solution to a difficult problem (naming a team), but because sport teams are one of the pillars of each one of these communities and always have been. Something very few brands can and want to be. However, that’s not to say that companies can’t achieve such cult-like following. Apple and Patagonia have done it.
Last week Simon Jenkins from The Guardian wrote about the rise of the experience economy and shared some incredible numbers about the music, live comedy, politics, museums and galleries. People are spending more and more time doing things, going places, meeting people IRL, which provides two great opportunities for brands who want to become part of people’s lives instead of just push messages.
Opportunity number one is an obvious marketing lesson from sport teams: create experiences that bring people together.
Opportunity number two is about how we use digital platforms. I’ve written before about the power of experiences as it relates to harnessing the social graph. But it can work the other way around as well: using small data, personal data, to amplify and personalize real-world experiences. Think about all the data we share about who we are, who our connections are, what we like, what we buy, where we go, what we do. Google, Facebook, Amazon and our cell phones, the most personal device, probably know more about us than we will ever know. And all the data can be used to amplify our real-world experiences and make them more exciting, more entertaining, more rewarding, more memorable, thus creating stronger emotional connections with brands.
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