I personally love the holidays. I get time to spend with friends and family, the opportunity to exchange gifts, and have the ultimate excuse to eat dessert for pretty much every meal of the day. But as much as I love all of these things, holiday marketing often makes me feel like I’m stuck in the “It’s A Small World” ride at Disney World. As soon as one holiday ends, another begins. And the cycle starts earlier every year.
Even though we know how important this time of year is to brands and agencies alike, I couldn’t help but ask the DGC team to share its biggest holiday marketing pet peeves. Drum roll please…
Black Friday. The majority of us will never understand the ferocious need to camp outside Walmart overnight in the cold, but there are people who do it every year. We tend to think that the holidays should be about relaxing and being with family, not cramming hundreds of over-caffeinated shoppers into a room to instigate mayhem. Plus, there are better deals to be found online anyway – thank you, Cyber Monday.
Premature Holiday Cheer. Everyone knows that it snowed on Halloween weekend this year—and yes, the team reported seeing at least three people dressed up as Santa as a result—but that does not make it okay for Duane Reade to put Halloween candy and Chanukah/Christmas decorations on the store shelves at the same time. Halloween is in October. The holidays are in December. Let’s get excited for the holidays in December.
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells. Look—We love Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” just as much as the next person, but unless we’re watching Love Actually, we do not want to hear that song until November 25 at the earliest. Can you imagine the people who have to work in retail around the holidays, listening to this stuff on loop every day? And this year it’s going to be Justin Bieber’s Christmas album. The horror.
Holiday marketing can be overwhelming, but it’s hard to stay a Grinch for long. Besides, who can say “bah humbug” to those holiday Gap commercials?
The marketing and advertising community ascended on Phoenix last week for the Association of National Advertiser’s annual Masters of Marketing conference creating buzz around current marketing trends such as Facebook’s dominance and gamification and taking a look at how the industry is fairing in a troubled economy. Although this ANA event has come to a close, coverage of the event continues to surface.
This past Monday New York Times advertising reporter Stuart Elliott recounted the economics conversation in his article “Economy Casts Shadow on Advertisers’ Forum.” According to Elliott, attendees seemed thankful that the economy had not caved-in on the industry, but were still highly aware of the lofty unemployment rate and continued “sluggish pace of growth” on the economy. He quoted Stephen Quinn, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Walmart U.S. as saying “Certainly, it’s been a roller coaster of a year, with all the volatility. We’re being disrupted, just like many of the people in this room.”
While the down economy dominated the conversation at the conference, marketers weren’t talking about it as all bad. Elliott reported that several speakers used it as a call to action inferring that “uncertain times [creates] an increased willingness to take risks with bold ideas.”
DGC’s very own Chief Content Officer Melanie Wells attended the conference and had a few key takeaways to share as well:
Marketers seem resigned to a new normal. They are also eager to get ideas and hear ideas from their peers. This year more top executive attendees and speakers, including Walmart CMO Stephen Quinn and Martha Stewart, lingered to sit in on sessions and talk to others who were there. Executives realize that times have changed and the time is now to learn new ways to connect with consumers now that ‘social is at the core’ of marketing. There was a lot of talk about data, of course, but Kraft’s Dana Anderson urged attendees to accept ‘intuition as a valid contributor to clarity.
Today, Advertising Age also posted videos of key speakers that give a great sense of the conversations that took place. In the first video, Kraft’s Senior VP of Marketing and Communications Dana Anderson sheds light on Kraft’s “leap” philosophy and gives a compelling talk on taking marketing to the next level by being open to unusual solutions to problems.
Did you attend ANA’s Masters of Marketing? What was your biggest takeaway?