The other night we were watching something (or just as likely nothing) on TV, and suddenly a huge Christmas-themed ad for Target came on. I fumbled for my phone to grab an image but failed to snap in time. Fortunately, the Consumerist was on the job!
My wife has been working selling fine jewelry since the economic downturn brutalized the tax base and forced schools to cut back on trivial extras such as ‘science’, so this will be her second year dealing with ‘Christmas before Halloween’. In fact, due to the focus of the store she works, there is not so much need for Halloween or Thanksgiving decorating … which means that right after Back-to-School ends, preparations for Christmas begin!
For target it wasn’t ALWAYS that way … in fact just a couple of years ago they were very proud and vocal about holding off ‘Christmas Creep’:
Ad Age reports that not only is the Target ad — you can see a video of it below if you want to get into the holiday spirit a couple months early — apparently the first such spot for a major retailer in 2012, it’s also a reversal of the company’s previous attitude toward advertising the holidays too early:
[J]ust two years ago touted its strategy of holding off on holiday ads until the weekend after Thanksgiving. The retailer did air ads for its two-day sale featuring comedian Maria Bamford — aka the Christmas Champ — in the weeks before Thanksgiving, however. And the retailer has followed industry convention in setting up an area dedicated to holiday trim prior to Thanksgiving.
At that time, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer said that Target had researched what customers wanted and that’s why it waited until after Thanksgiving.
“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,” he said at the time. “They look at Thanksgiving as family time … and aren’t yet ready to get into the frenzy that defines the Christmas shopping season.”
But the person responsible for that statement and policy is no longer with Target … so they have joined what RetailMeNot is calling OctNovemCember – the celebration of the three-month lead-up to Christmas. Here is the mascot:
RetailMeNot’s research shows that only 15 percent of consumers wait until after Cyber Monday — the Monday after Thanksgiving, which now marks the end of the Thanksgiving weekend shopping frenzy — to begin their shopping. Far more, some 32 percent, said they are done with their holiday shopping by the end of Cyber Monday.
While the research suggests that an uncertain economy marked by high unemployment is contributing to the behavior, there may be a good reason to getting going on the holiday shopping before the Black Friday frenzy, which has long been considered the unofficial kick-off of the holiday shopping season. The reason: there may be more savings to be found if you shop before Black Friday.
According to the company, shoppers on RetailMeNot.com reported saving more on their purchases on Thanksgiving Day than they did on Black Friday. What’s more, these shoppers spent 5 percent more on an average order on Thanksgiving than they did on Black Friday.
Personally I have known people who put stuff away for Christmas as long as I can remember. But there is a difference between seeing a great deal on a watch or jacket in July and putting it in the closet for several months … and breaking out the egg nog and Bing Crosby records before Columbus Day. As one commenter noted: “There is a time and a place for everything, and Christmas in October is not one of them!”
What are YOUR thoughts?
Here is the Target commercial: