Fall is in the air. The leaves are changing, the temperature is slowly dropping, and the pumpkin spice latte has made its return. Whatever comes to your mind when you think of autumn, I can safely assume that Christmas is not on your mind at this time of year. But that certainly won’t stop companies from forcing it in there. The biggest holiday of the year is taking up more and more time on the main stage of advertising whether consumers like it or not. For as long as I can remember, Christmas advertising has started well before the actual holiday season, but in the last few years, retailers have become even more anxious in getting their Christmas campaigns out. USA Weekend, for example, ran their first Christmas ad this year on the astoundingly premature date of September 3rd. The ad was by Bradford exchange for $115 floral Christmas centerpiece…..Seriously? In early September I am trying to squeeze in my last couple beach days while the temperature is still above 80 degrees. Why are they rolling out the Christmas ads so damn early?
Because nobody wants to get lost in the pack. Christmas is a money-making frenzy for retailers and marketers, so as annoying as these early ads may be, it’s hard to blame them for being anxious to get started on what is sure to be the most wonderful time of the year for them. Plus if your competitors are starting early, you really have no choice but to follow suit, or to blend in with everyone else instead of standing out in the consumers’ mind. What are some ways that companies set themselves apart from the competition in the early Christmas advertising game? One way is to address the elephant in the room, the fact that Christmas is being put in the spotlight before the fall holidays have even occurred, and to do so in a humorous way.
For example, the clothing retailer Betabrand has launched the following holiday themed video game to poke fun at the fact that Christmas is dominating earlier fall holidays like Halloween.
In this surprisingly violent-looking video game, Christmas is literally killing the competition. The game is not just a holiday themed blood bath either, it has a functional purpose as well. Playing the game will unlock deals and codes for those who play it as well. I think this marketing tactic is both effective and hilarious. Consumers are always looking for the best deals when they do their holiday shopping, and Betabrand is offering them a unique way to save money. And lets be honest, even if you weren’t interested in buying their products, wouldn’t you check out this game just for the sake of curiosity? I want to know what the hell happened leading up to the point where Santa impaled Dracula with a candy cane.
The idea of marketing Christmas early on has simply become the norm these days, and more and more companies are hopping on the bandwagon every year. Parfums de Coeur, a marketer of lower-priced fragrances, usually concentrates their advertising efforts in the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas, but this year they are beginning to market their Bod Man line products in October. The reasoning behind this, according to their CEO, is so that they can ” introduce digital video and television to get young men involved with the brand earlier.” In the Christmas marketing bloodbath, it is all about making your product stick out in the consumers’ minds, and getting your name out first is a pretty obvious way to do that.
What do you think of Christmas ads that appear this early in the calendar year? Do you pay attention to them or are they just annoying?
Elliott, S. (2014, October 15). Autumn is in the air, but for marketers, christmas has already begun. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/16/business/media/autumn-still-looms-but-for-marketers-christmas-has-already-begun-.html