Why Black Fridays are black days for marketing
After Thanksgiving, a holiday in which life is celebrated, it seems life is once again commoditised, the thanks is forgotten and the giving expected not earned.
We’ll see the same in Australia, when the Boxing Day sales cause similar behaviour. It won’t be as bad as the near riots; petty behaviour and violence we have seen in the United States, but it won’t be pretty. We’ll be certain to see someone get stomped on as crowd pressure propels bargain hunters through the double doors of a shopping precinct and face down onto the freshly mopped floors.
Not only is the behavior concerning, but if events like Black Friday continue to occur across the globe, surely brand reputation will suffer.
Does Sony really want to be associated with looting-like behavior because distributors have slashed a couple hundred bucks from a sale price?
The history of violence throughout Black Friday is quite appalling and Wal-Mart is at the forefront of the inability to control its customers.
In 2008 Jdimytai Damour was trampled to death by hoards of New York shoppers who broke into the Wal-Mart store five minutes before it was scheduled to open. Last year, a fight in Claypool Hill resulted in a stabbing and two arrests.
The violence and disturbance has travelled the Atlantic to England where in Manchester alone two arrests were made and one woman was injured by a falling television set.
Imagine going home and telling the kids, “Sorry honey, I can’t drive you to work because a Samsung TV fell on my head.”
This is truth that is stranger than fiction and I don’t like this truth. Are we truly that greedy?
Surely there are better ways to market these types of events. Let’s change the name of Black Friday to start. Its etymology is negative. Earl Apfelbaum, a dealer in rare stamps said, "'Black Friday' is the name that the Philadelphia Police Department gave to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. 'Black Friday' officially opens the Christmas shopping season in center city, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing."
Retailers wanted a positive spin. To them it was a lucrative day. They should have changed the name. Black Friday is still associated with mayhem and violence and the violence is getting worse.
That would be a positive step in perhaps changing Black Friday’s image. Another is to make shopping a pleasant experience. Advertise these types of events as positive, family friendly experiences where everyone is safe and free to pick up a bargain.
Let people know that they will not only receive the deals of their lives, but they can do it without being trampled.
Surely promoting a positive experience is good marketing: good for the retailer and good for the manufacturer.
Because it should be the job of the retailer, the advertiser, the marketer and the manufacturer to look after clients and consumers. And in doing so, make the experience a safe one.
With predicted sales numbers dropping, it may be worth revising the strategy. And this goes for retailers in London, Australia and everywhere else in the world where unsafe fire sales are being held.