Black Friday And Cyber Monday: Does Retail-Speak Work In Advertising?

I'm going to come right out and admit that I don't know if there is a concrete answer to that question. I know there are a lot of opinions, but is there really an answer? Sure, we can look at sales results to see if people responded to an email, but unless a retailer tests their creative with and without the Black Friday or Cyber Monday handle, there is no way to know.

Personally, I miss the After-Thanksgiving Sale. It sounds welcoming and fun and holiday-ish. Black Friday doesn't. It sounds cold and commercial and corporate. Maybe that's just the writer in me. I don't know. But, when a sales gal at J.Crew wishes you a Happy Black Friday, it makes you stop and wonder where the holiday spirit went. At least, it made me stop.

Consumers are looking for deals. That was the bottom line for this year's Black Friday, according to the New York Times, and I'm sure that Cyber Monday will prove the same. But, do deals have to come with a creative sacrifice?



I'm in David Baker's boat and if you didn't read his article, here's a bit of his sage advice: "I love this time of year, not just as a marketing practitioner, but as a consumer who's aware of the tactics and approaches by marketers. I appreciate good marketing and creative approaches. And while I like discounts, I believe with so much email hitting our inboxes today, those marketers who provide quality marketing along with quality discounts and rewards will be rewarded."

This leads me back to the question at hand: Does retail-speak work as advertising? Maybe.  But then again, maybe not. IMHO, the key to connecting with your consumer through this holiday sales swirl is to maintain your brand voice every step of the way. Including an offer or unique freebie is ideal, if you can swing it. That said, Anthropologie bucked the system and sent out a Cyber Monday email with NO offer at all. I'd be curious to see how their sales measure up, given that there were so many offers competing with their full-price approach.

Need some visual inspiration? Take a creative cue from these retailers' Cyber Monday playbooks.

Pottery Barn
Subject Line: Today only! Free monogramming & shipping on over 100 gifts.

Subject Line: CB2 gift sets under $25. Free Shipping starts today, see details.

Bobbi Brown
Subject Line: Enjoy 20% off! Shop & Give Back - 3 Days Only

Saks Fifth Avenue
Subject Line: Cyber Monday Offers & Gifts Under $150

Serena & Lily
Subject Line: Free Shipping On Everything. TODAY ONLY!

Kate Spade
Subject Line: today only: enjoy 25% off sale items

Subject Line:48 Hour Sale

Cafe Press
Subject Line: FREE Shipping on ALL orders. Today only

The Gap
Subject Line: Today Only. 20% Off Your Online Purchase + Free Shipping

5 comments about "Black Friday And Cyber Monday: Does Retail-Speak Work In Advertising?".
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  1. Bob Phibbs from The Retail Doctor, December 1, 2009 at 9:56 a.m.

    What truly is working in these subject lines? Deal, Free, today only? Is that magical, take any creativity or spark desire? Is that what the holidays will become-not "Grandma I looked everywhere to find the right scarf to match your favorite outfit" but, "Yeah we saved 60% and got free shipping." Is America trying to show how "smart" they are and being duped? I wonder...

  2. Liz Lynch from Demandware, December 1, 2009 at 10:01 a.m.

    It's funny-I was wondering the same thing and asked some friends if they even knew what Black Friday and Cyber Monday were all about, and a few of them said they had no idea why Cyber Monday was called that.
    They see those terms as advertising fluff and it's not an incentive for them to shop on those days. The things that get them to shop are good deals, no matter what the day.

  3. Gerard Mclean from Rivershark, Inc., December 1, 2009 at 10:07 a.m.

    Thank you! Black Friday seems ominous and threatening, like Black Monday is when the 1987 stock market crashed, Friday is usually when people get axed from their jobs so Black Friday sounds really terrible.. I like the Day after Thanksgiving Sale better.

    Cyber Monday is just goofy. Cyber-anything sounds old and geezerly; and that is coming from a geezer!

  4. Ian Mccollum from Razorfish, December 1, 2009 at 12:31 p.m.

    I'm very offended by "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday." They are not holidays, I do not celebrate them and marketing them to me makes me not buy from you.

  5. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, December 1, 2009 at 1:27 p.m.

    IF you were going to buy particular items anyway and not concerned with a bargain, then why not take the "specials" while you are looking? Otherwise, the sites you mention are not anything to run to buy for - neither anything from the department stores that you got before the turn of the screw days and certainly not after. In other words, do your homework and compare. Maybe you don't really need it and add 30% interest PER MONTH on your credit card.

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