social marketing

Best Buy Takes a Black Friday Gamble with #VineinLine Promo

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 27, 2013 11:14 AM

Best Buy, no stranger to Black Friday-related madness, is prompting camped-out shoppers to create Vine videos using hashtag #VineinLine in an invitation issued through Twitter ads. 

To prepare for the pandemonium, a Best Buy store in Denver, Co. held a dress rehearsal. Store manager Doug Ryan told his team, "Black Friday, in my opinion, is the funnest day at Best Buy," according to the Denver Post. “The energy of the customers coming into the store, the fact they are choosing us—it's a special atmosphere." That is, until someone gets trampled.

After his intro, employees broke into departments for detailed briefings on door-buster deals, pricing, inventories and how to pitch extended-warranty protection and store credit cards. Department manager Kevin Ribbens described the training as "'bum rushing’ individual departments with dozens of workers playing frantic customers posing endless questions—sometimes with an element of impatience."

Last year Best Buy opened stores at midnight for Black Friday, but this year, like so many other retailers out to grab any edge they can, its stores will open Thanksgiving evening.Continue reading...


Holiday Ads 2013: Brands Tap Celebrities, Award-Winning Animators for Over the Top Ads

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 20, 2013 07:12 PM

John Lewis’ 2013 Christmas campaign in the UK, a seasonal rite of passage, is “a £7m multi-media festive extravaganza,” animated by Disney's Lion King artists and costing £1m alone.

It’s just one example of how high (and early) the bar is being set for branded holiday ads this year as shoppers around the world, weary from escalating costs-of-living and economic challenges, plan to spend only $800 this holiday season on gifts, down from $854 last year

And so retailers are pulling out all the stops to get attention from consumers, hoping to draw them in with witty and charming ads and deep promotional discounts. UK advertisers alone are set to spend nearly $630 million on ads in the last three months of the year, while American brands got a head start, with Kmart airing its first holiday-related ad one-hundred days before Christmas. Indeed, advertisers seem to be heading back to the small-screen while maintaining a solid presence on social media to get the most out of holiday promotional efforts. 

And that has led some brands to go above and beyond. From Kmart's controversial "Show Your Joe" ad to Best Buy and Marks & Spencer's celebrity-heavy campaigns, brands are working hard to get the attention of shoppers. 

Here's some of the most extravagant holiday ads we've seen so far:Continue reading...


Best Buy Braces for Rough Quarter as Retailers Plot Holiday Price-Cuts

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 19, 2013 04:55 PM

Despite pulling off a relative comeback in the last year, Best Buy told shareholders Monday that they shouldn't expect the retailer's fourth-quarter results to be hugely profitable. With retailers grappling with slow consumer spending and the prospect of a grim holiday season, Best Buy said price-slashing tactics by competitors will force price margins to get very tight. 

The Wall Street Journal notes that “the warning came after rival Wal-Mart Stores Inc. this month revealed a series of aggressive holiday promotions that threatened to depress margins across the consumer-electronics sector.” Best Buy is going to open its stores on the evening of Thanksgiving, just like Walmart and several other major retailers, but it is keeping secret a lot of its discounts so that it won’t be undersold by competitors.

"If our competition is in fact more promotional in the fourth quarter, we will be too," CFO Sharon McCollam said during a conference call with analysts.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: JCPenney, P&G, Apple and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 19, 2013 09:31 AM

In the News

JCPenney launches first holiday campaign under new CMO.

P&G and other detergent makers face new federal alarm over pod safety and kids.

Apple is probed for alleged tax evasion in Italy.

3M still searches for growth.

Best Buy warns of promotional pressures.

Buick could use a flagship model, GM CEO says.

Campbell Soup sees earnings slashed.

Daimler open to selling stake to Chinese partner.

Discovery Communications allows streaming via Time Warner Cable.

Dropbox seeks $8 billion valuation.Continue reading...


Kmart, Others Seen as Crossing the Line as Holiday Promos Encroach on Celebrations

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 6, 2013 04:55 PM

What happens when commerce trumps tradition? A lot of angry consumers (and employees).

That's what major retailers Kmart, Macy's, Walmart, Kohl's and others are finding out as they continue to blur the line between the Thanksgiving holiday and the major shopping event that is Black Friday. Kmart has put itself in the line of fire as it recently announced that it will open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open for 41 straight hours through 11 p.m. Friday. Sears, too, will open up at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open through Friday, while Macy's bowed under pressure and for the first time, will open its US stores on Thanksgiving evening. Last year, Target fielded a steady stream of backlash after announcing it would open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. 

The trend is no doubt a reaction to the sluggish retail market as brands fear the lack of spending will continue through the 2013 holiday season. Brands are so worried, in fact, that they are not only launching their holiday campaigns early, but also their special holiday deals. Walmart kicked off its online promotion last week—one month earlier than usual. 

But their concerns aren't unfounded. A National Foundation for Credit Counseling poll found that 53 percent of shoppers plan to spend less on holiday gift giving this year than they did in 2012, with one-third planning to spend nothing and only 3 percent intending to spend more.Continue reading...


Afraid of Scrooge This Christmas, Brands Have Pivoted to Early Promotions

Posted by Dale Buss on November 4, 2013 03:49 PM

Halloween is barely a distant memory in retailing terms, but what really frightens store chains this week is the prospect that the quickly approaching holiday season will be a scary period for them.

Economic snapshots and projections aren't all that encouraging, and neither has been the sluggishness that retail brands have seen in their own stores so far this fall. So brands including Walmart, J. Crew, MasterCard and luxury auto brands already have joined Best Buy in getting what they hope will be an early jump on holiday spending.

Walmart, for example, is pulling forward seven big deals on items including TVs and tablets that were originally reserved for Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, the Associated Press reported.Continue reading...


Best Buy's Strategy to Combat Showrooming? Embrace It

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 30, 2013 08:37 PM

The act of “showrooming,” or visiting stores to check out products and then ordering them online, has been a killer for big-box retailers like Walmart, Target and Best Buy. The problem has affected both ends of the retail spectrum; Williams-Sonoma recently announced its battle plan to combat it this year. And now Best Buy is taking the problem head-on its new slate of commercials aimed at holiday shoppers.

This marks the earliest Best Buy has started airing holiday ads, but it "seemed to be the right competitive thing to do," Scott Moore, senior VP-marketing, told Ad Age. Moore noted that the media expected showrooming to all but kill off the retailer, particularly when it lost $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter last year and when online competitors like Amazon began feeding the trend. But things have been looking better for the electronics retailer. 

But this year, Moore and his colleagues are hoping that embracing the concept of showrooming will prove to be a good thing for Best Buy. "The thing about showrooming is it's not the ideal experience to do research at home, go to the store, do more research, then hit pause, go home and order and hope it arrives on time," he said. "There's a better way."Continue reading...


Target Puts Value Front and Center in Holiday Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on October 24, 2013 04:38 PM

Target plans to shake up its approach to the Christmas-shopping season with more price advertising, digital promotion and even more attention to the Thanksgiving holiday than in past years. Like all other retailers, the discounter is facing prospects of tentative consumers and with a traditional shopping period that is six days shorter than last year.

But unlike many other retailers, Target's moves comprise a significant pivot away from its recent emphasis on style over affordability, especially in Christmas ads that have emphasized its trendiness. The chain believes it has lost some lower-income shoppers over the years by focusing on its chic private-label designs rather than the low prices that have continued to be the staple of competitors such as Walmart.

"We think [there] is an opportunity for us this holiday that we are very loud and clear about our value proposition," said Kathee Tesija, Target's executive vice president of merchandising, according to the Wall Street Journal.Continue reading...

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