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Did Owning the Black Friday Conversation Prove Negative for Brands?
Posted on November 29th 2012
Maybe I'm wrong on this, but it's my understanding that Black Friday / Cyber Monday has traditionally been a time where retailers place large discounts on surplus goods to make way for newer holiday inventory. So the question remains -- if a brand owned the conversation on Black Friday / Cyber Monday is that a good or bad thing? In other words, do steep discounts pre-holidays send the message of failure?
In a recent Fortune article, the reporter shows how the Apple store in the Mall of America sold approximately 11 iPads per hour on Black Friday versus zero Microsoft Surface tablets. Clearly there was greater traffic to the Apple store, but in this case we've got no idea as to the version of the iPads sold and therefore the data is tough to read. I should hope that newer items like the iPad with retina display and Surface tablet aren't going for bargain basement prices. They're less than a quarter old and steep discounts this early would only be admitting failure.
The article reminded me of a conversation with Sony Electronics President Phil Molyneux where he mentioned that many of Sony’s products would roll out with unilateral pricing. Molyneux explained how this pricing would limit retailer markdowns on products saying, “The market is very focused on volume, and there is a push to promote products not necessarily for the value of the product, or service, or content -- but more as a special of the week. This race to the bottom ultimately puts the emphasis on quantity rather than quality.”
I’m curious to hear your thoughts about owning the social and earned media conversation during Black Friday. Has this been positive for brands or do you think it sends the message of a fire sale / failure?