Black Friday rolls on; but the brunt of the "damage" is done with the exciting, "doorbuster" crowd already hobbled by exhuastion and ready to head home and refuel with Thanksgiving leftovers. Even in California it is long after noon. The only early-morning doorbuster sales left to cover? Hawaii.
Media coverage of Black Friday is in mop-up mode, with Tiger Woods' serious, mysterious car accident and hospitalization now the big story of the day. So, which brands are Black Friday winners and which ones and losers?
Wal-Mart: So far, there have been no deaths or maimings or serious problems at Wal-Marts, beyond a couple skirmishes. So, year over year profits aside, the Wal-Mart brand benefits from a 100% year-over-year decline in fatalities. But Wal-Mart appears to have won with shoppers too. Reports of long lines and excited shoppers snapping up Wal-Mart deals have been some of the top headlines all day long. And with, as mentioned, no negative "deaths" news to steal away from the good news (despite the best efforts of some self-righteous journlists). Will we have to wait until Cyber Monday to name a winner in the Wal-Mart/Amazon war? No. They both win. The more the media reports that Amazon and Wal-Mart are trying to beat one another on price, the more consumers are interested in seeing how low they will go; get 'em in the door....
South Carolina Gun Buyers: Indeed. South Carolina held its second annual suspended sales tax on gun sales weekend, which eliminates the up-to-9% tax on handguns, rifles and shotguns. Many gun retailers offered additonal discounts on holiday firearms:
"We were selling a ton of guns all at the same time," said Danny Lawson, owner of Lawson's Outfitters in Clinton.
Apple: Earlier we noted that Apple's Black Friday deal non-deals were the brand being its typical awesomely strong self. I had no idea. Later in the afternoon, CNBC's Tech Check segment, while speaking of the day's best tech deals, started "Discounts from Apple and other tech brands..." There you go: Apple offers single-digit mark-downs but still gets put together with tech brands offering 25% or more off usual prices. All the media love; none of the investment. Apple, you are a master.
Activision: On a day when only 5% of stocks closed higher, the fact that Activision, with direct Black Friday connections, was one of gainers speaks to the confidence any have in its latest offering Call of Duty III. Activisions Call of Duty branded series has already seen sales of $3 billion. (Though Activision is facing a lawsuit from one consumer accusing it of "ruining his life.")
America: Yes. America is a winner. While many are pessimistic about much-lauded announcements about the end of the recession, shoppers appear, by early estimates, to have gone out and spent more than last year, indicating a overall leap in consumer optimism which in turn may lead to a increase in Cyber Monday optimism which in turn might lead to news reports of increasing consumer optimism which in turn might lead to an increase in post-Black Friday pre-Christmas consumer spending which will lead to optimistic earnings reports from brands which will lead to increased newscaster optimism which will lead to increased consumer optimism... You see where this is going. And that is infinitely important: 51% of consumers have said they are going to shop later this year than they did last year.
And you cannot have winners without losers. So who are the Black Friday Losers?
Dubai: From now on to be known as Icarus City, Dubai was the place that flew too high. Just a few years ago, we were being told Dubai was the next big thing; today we're being told it's the next big thing... in failures. With many seeing the delayed bailut of the petulent emerite as a message from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, the message to everyone else is clear, Brand Dubai has suffered (some) irreparable damage.
And to close out Black Friday here is the official Associated Press report, the media equivelant of tryptophan, to help ease you to sleep. (Note the guy paying with his mob cash roll in the first few seconds. Dude?!):
Thank you all for joining Brandchannel for our Black Friday coverage. It's been brandtastic. We believe in giving our readers what they like and want. So if you enjoyed this little experiement (or hated it, or have any suggestions about future experiments) please email Brandchannel Editor Jim Thompson, or leave your commment below.
For all Black Friday Live! posts go to the Black Friday Live! tag.
Shirt available here (because you know you want it).