There is no greater moment in advertising than that in which the spirit of a brand is linked to the spirit of humanity.
Since 2010, Google has provided a snapshot of the world's most important events through its Zeitgeist video. From our biggest achievements to our most perilous catastrophes, it reflects what touched us and shaped us during the course of 365 days.
This year's top trends can be found on their website under an array of categories - people, events, consumer electronics, hashtags, etc. - all of which result in a memorable and beautiful video. (see below)
For this marketer, the chance to experience Black Friday in the flesh is always welcome. It's different, it's fun and it's a great way of witnessing how brands fight it out in the retail battlefield. I mean, what could be a more perfect preamble for the Christmas season? So just like last year, equipped with my camera and my two cousins, we hit the streets of Miami for a reprise of an unforgettable - and crowded - shopping spree.
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers spent approximately $59 billion during Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2012, with an estimated 247 million people who visited stores and websites. As people flocked brick-and-mortar stores, the online platforms exploded. This year was no different.
In 2013, while in-store sales dropped by 2.7%, online sales increased by 15% and 21% on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, respectively. This led many retailers to target mobile and tablets shoppers more than ever before. According to Ron Josey, "This is the first holiday season when mobile is having its mark on overall retail sales. The online frenzy has couriers with higher shipping volumes., with an expected 420 million packages, a 10% increase from last year." The age of online shopping is at an all-time high.
So how did brands compensate? Simple, they started with discounts a lot sooner. By sooner, I mean days - even weeks - in advance. This substitution effect made us ask ourselves: "Why should I spend the day being shoved, when I can enjoy my discounts beforehand without the masses? Or better yet - in the comfort of my own home?" Is this all still worth the hassle? As Rafi Mohammed from the Harvard Business Reviews points out, retailers are stuck with the "discounting prisoner's dilemma."
CNN conducted a survey in which they asked people if considered Black Friday to be worth it, and the result was a resounding "No" by 54%, and comments such as "Online shopping is the way to go" by 37%. True, web deals were hard to beat, but isn't Black Friday supposed to be about the shopping experience? Could online platforms give us that same taste of the holiday season? Is this effort from our part as marketers, to be ahead of the game, to beat the time, eventually killing the purpose of it all in the first place?
On another note, according to the folks of Kenshoo, ad performance was in an all time high. Retailers generated up to 15 times more revenue from Facebook ads on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and saw a growth on its Return on Ad Spend by 93%. But what is really interesting is how Black Friday and Cyber Monday generated triple the average number of conversions with clients.
Will this be an interesting phenomenon to study through the course of the following years? You bet. As far as I can tell, Black Friday is a festivity unlike any other, whose dynamics are transforming before our very eyes. It will be intriguing to see what the next twelve months will bring.
Check out my pictures from this year's Black Friday:
Getting ready for the mayhem. - Walmart, 4:00pm
50% off - Michael Kors, 9:00pm
Getting in line at 11:00pm
$9.96 - Walmart
The Red Sea - Apple
Meanwhile, in Santo Domingo, my sister snapped this picture of one cute little shopper:
My first year in Cannes was a special one. How often do you get to go to the advertising world's biggest festival for its 60th anniversary as an attendee, blogger and a Young Lions participant? My guess is not often.
In spite of the intensity of the week - and when I say intense, I mean having 24 hours to prepare Dominican Republic's Young Marketers entry during the course of those days alongside colleague and friend, Yasser Mármol - but also cover the festival in every possible way for the blog. Camera in hand, I taped everything and photographed everyone I could.
It's that time of year again. The night in which football and advertising collide. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, "Rates for Super Bowl spots have climbed about 60 percent over the past decade, showing how much marketers value the chance to reach the largest TV audience. Last year’s game had 78 commercials and produced ad sales of $262.5 million..."
Brands turned to television (and the internet) for football's biggest night, and spent as much as $140,000 dolars per second for air time - a sum that can only be justified by the number of viewers and online buzz that generates only with an event such as this. Newcomers Oreo and Pistachios shared the spotlight with recurring participants such as Volkswagen and Go Daddy, who spurred up negative remarks due to what some considered as offensive spots.
From fans' submissions for the Doritos and Lincoln ads, to big productions with Kaley Cuoco and Stevie Wonder, this year was all about the pre-game strategy. "Social media has ushered in a new reality for marketers looking to play in the big game, and it’s allowing brands to create deeper narratives, engage fans earlier on and create greater buzz by releasing teasers and assets online before the event.", writes Rae Annfera for Co.Create.