Sunday, July 24, 2011

Christmas in July - The Forgotten Holiday

Christmas in July Marketing
It's July 25th and I'm here celebrating all alone.
Growing up, I always had an obscure level of excitement when it came time for Christmas in July.  An avid skier, maybe it was the way my skis were shining in the sun, longing to feel the fresh corduroy tracks of snow, or maybe it had something to do with my birthday falling on the day after Christmas making Christmas in July feel like a mini-birthday celebration as well, but for whatever the reason, I’ve always looked forward to July 25th with a heightened level of excitement.

As a marketer, it also seems at first glance like a great opportunity to play up the holiday with sales, events, specials, promotions and a few early bird holiday shopping placements.  While previous attempts by Toys R Us and other retail chains have failed in the past to significantly impact revenues, the previous years’ main focus has been in the wrong areas with buying Christmas presents early at reduced prices or putting items on ‘layaway’ type programs.  It makes sense consumers wouldn’t want to think about buying Christmas presents in 100 degree weather, but what about focusing the campaigns on holiday pricing in July? Or better yet,  charities focusing on the ‘sprit of giving’ in July? While I’m sure many bars and clubs have been able to capitalize on this forgotten holiday, it seems even this market has let my beloved holiday go under the radar this year. 

As you can imagine, I was more than slightly disappointed and let down this year with the lack of fanfare and almost complete overlooking of one of my favorite holidays. Out of the +30 emails I receive every day, I only received ONE email, from Target, that had a Christmas in July tie-in. The Christmas Tree Shops, another US discount retailer, didn't event run a promotion and they have Christmas in their name. Where is the extra-special discount Groupon for Christmas in July? Or the TV network promotion of Christmas movies? I’m sad to report I didn’t even get to watch a re-run of “The Christmas Story”. It seems like such a lost opportunity that not one bar, restaurant, charity or mass group coupon company picked up on this holiday. Even if only one company in each industry seized this opportunity, they would have easily captured the market of Christmas in July fanatics like myself. 

The email campaign I did receive from Target took a clever twist on the holiday, choosing to play up the big retail holiday, Black Friday, which traditionally falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving and kicks off the holiday shopping season. Their campaign, “Back in Black Friday”, was an email campaign & online-only sale, which they also ran in 2010, and reported their July sales rose 3.8% and same-store sales rose 2% as a result.  While it makes sense for a retailer to play up a shopping holiday vs. a minimally celebrated holiday, they could have closed the loop better with an actual Christmas in July promotion as well as the ‘Back in Black Friday’ promotion ran on Friday, July 15th only.

What are your thoughts? Was the overlooking of Christmas in July this year a missed opportunity for many businesses or a better strategic alignment of resources? Additionally, did you see any noteworthy Christmas in July campaigns that I overlooked? If so, please fill tell us about them in the comments below!

In the meantime, I'm going to listen to a few rounds of Mariah Carey's 'All I Want for Christmas is You', light my Christmas tree-scented candle, and then hang up my Santa hat. There's always next year.

Merry Christmas in July everyone!

A copy of Target's 'Back in Black Friday' email campaign which kicked off on Wednesday, July 13th and the promotion itself ran on Friday, July 15th 

2 comments:

  1. For me Christmas in July was the exact opposite. Being from the southern hemisphere Christmas in July was our only chance for a 'traditional' Christmas. Usually Christmas is spent by the pool, lounging about in ridiculous heat while lunch/dinner is cooked on the BBQ. But Christmas in July brings with it the (scant) possiblity of snow - even though you've got to drive over an hour inland to see it. In actual fact it's an excuse to get the family together, got out for a nice meal and peruse the local Christmas markets (I use that in the loosest form of the word) more like whatever markets/savvy businessmen peddling trinkets are about. All in all it's a great day.

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  2. Wow Aww What happen when USA Christmas in July hmmm it will make a change ................ we will not buy blankets, buy fans (hahaha) :-D....
    Now I am going to buy christmas gifts

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