Posted by Dale Buss on December 5, 2013 02:43 PM
This year, the $50 extra you might be lucky enough to pay for a Starbucks Limited Edition Metal Card will make your gift five times as exclusive as last year. Or, put another way, Starbucks is issuing only 1,000 of the $450 metal gift cards preloaded with $400 in value this year, whereas last year it made 5,000 of them.
The offer is available only on the luxury-goods flash-sale website Gilt.com on Friday at 12 noon ET, and last year the 5,000 designer cards sold out in six minutes, USA Today observed. Any bets on how long it'll take to sell out a mere one-fifth of last year's card volume?
"Will it be one minute or two?" Cliff Burrows, Starbucks group president, mused to the newspaper. People used to poising over their smartphones or keyboards to win an eBay auction will have to be extra caffeinated—maybe by a Starbucks—to win a card.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 3, 2013 06:39 PM
The biggest shopping day of the year—Black Friday—has birthed a handful of shopping spinoffs, including a less than welcome Grey Thursday, Small Business Saturday, and the wildly successful Cyber Monday—and now in its second year—Giving Tuesday.
Started last year as an antidote to the holiday weekend's retail madness by New York's 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, #GivingTuesday has now gone global with organizations in Australia, Canada, Mexico and Singapore participating. More than 8,000 organizations have signed up to participate from all 50 US states—a marked increase from last year’s inaugural event that attracted over 2,500 organizations.
Some efforts from major brands include:Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 27, 2013 12:27 PM
One of North Carolina’s most well-known universities has finally gone coed. Butterball University, the in-house training program for the turkey company's Turkey Talk Line—1-800-BUTTERBALL—is now training men after only employing women operators for more than three decades.
These days, one in four calls to the hotline come from men, Butterball CEO Rod Brenneman told the Associated Press. “We stepped back and looked at the changing Thanksgiving table and men are becoming more and more a part of, not only the carving of the turkey, but the cooking of the turkey,” he said. Each person who works on the Turkey Talk Line goes through one week of training each year.
Brenneman, of course, eats a bit of turkey every day, whether it is turkey sausage, turkey medallions on a salad, or full-out turkey and gravy, but it seems he should be saving some for the rest of us. This year, the company found itself for the first time with a shortage of large, fresh turkeys—though there will be plenty of frozen ones available for Thanksgiving.
Even with the shortage—the cause of which is still unknown—Butterball, the nation’s biggest turkey producer, is set to provide 41 million birds for American tables.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 20, 2013 07:12 PM
John Lewis’ 2013 Christmas campaign in the UK, a seasonal rite of passage, is “a £7m multi-media festive extravaganza,” animated by Disney's Lion King artists and costing £1m alone.
It’s just one example of how high (and early) the bar is being set for branded holiday ads this year as shoppers around the world, weary from escalating costs-of-living and economic challenges, plan to spend only $800 this holiday season on gifts, down from $854 last year.
And so retailers are pulling out all the stops to get attention from consumers, hoping to draw them in with witty and charming ads and deep promotional discounts. UK advertisers alone are set to spend nearly $630 million on ads in the last three months of the year, while American brands got a head start, with Kmart airing its first holiday-related ad one-hundred days before Christmas. Indeed, advertisers seem to be heading back to the small-screen while maintaining a solid presence on social media to get the most out of holiday promotional efforts.
And that has led some brands to go above and beyond. From Kmart's controversial "Show Your Joe" ad to Best Buy and Marks & Spencer's celebrity-heavy campaigns, brands are working hard to get the attention of shoppers.
Here's some of the most extravagant holiday ads we've seen so far:Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 31, 2013 06:21 PM
The average American household will spend $44 on candy for Halloween this year, a total aggregated spend of more than $2 billion. And the top chocolate brands—Snickers, M&M's, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups—won't be the only brands to benefit.
This year brings the usual bonanza of contests and antics from a broad swath of brands eager to show their playful—and spooky—sides.
From Google's witchy animation to FedEx's Zombie Survival Kit, here are a few that caught our eye:Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 22, 2013 06:39 PM
It's D-Days—Decision Days—for many American parents as they seek to get their holiday shopping done for their kids before the crunch of school programs, seasonal festivities and general mayhem ensues.
And sure enough, Fisher-Price, Toys R Us, Amazon and other brands are showing up with timely messages about how eager they are to help. They're all the more interested to make hay early in the season because the forecast for Christmas spending this year is cloudy at best.
Fisher-Price this season is targeting Millennial moms of kids up to ages five years old and, to accommodate the greater digital sensibilities of this generation, the Mattel-owned brand has boosted its digital-media spend by 50 percent.
"We know we need to reach her in this digital space," Lisa McKnight, Mattel's senior vice president of marketing for North America, told Advertising Age. "They want to make informed decisions when they make their purchases."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 12, 2012 01:04 PM
Just when you thought that America had sustained the biggest blow to traditional sensibilities about retailing, with the encroachment of Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day, comes this news: Macy's is opening 24 hours a day for Christmas shopping!
That's right, the venerable retailer — one of the last remaining stalwarts of the mainstream-department-store business — is going totally mass-merchandiser on us by caving to the manic demands of U.S. consumers. Macy's will open most of its stores for 48 hours straight for its last scheduled One Day sale in the weekend before Christmas. The sale will start at 7 a.m. on Friday, December 21, and run through 7 a.m. on Sunday, December 23.
"We hope to make it easy for our customers across the country to finish their shopping at any time of day or night," stated Peter Sachse, Macy's chief stores officer. You've got to believe, kids!Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 30, 2012 06:07 PM
This holiday season, there are about a bazillion pop-ups sprouting up in New York and London, such as one at NYC's Ace Hotel for Krochet Kids International, the organization that teaches Ugandan and Kenyan women to knit, and the Santa Baby cocktail bar in London's Shoreditch area. Tech lovers and brands will no doubt be rejoicing at one particular pop-up that spans the Atlantic to both cities.
For eight years now, Wired magazine has been wowing tech-lovers with an annual pop-up shop stuffed with whatever the latest and greatest happens to be. This year, the magazine is not only back with a Big Apple pop-up stuffed with gadgets, gear, brands and cultural happenings, but also taking the fun to London.
The London store features products from such companies as MakerBot, Arcbotics Hexapod, Hiut Denim, Makie Lab, Zboard, and plenty of others. Orders could be made on-site for the products to be delivered.Continue reading...