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Brandware Public Relations | Atlanta | Los Angeles

Capitalizing on the Super Bowl of Retail

Thanksgiving weekend has its merits: a day off from work, inordinate amounts of food and Black Friday. In preparation for Black Friday, compulsive shoppers across the nation write out a “wish list” and gear up for the best shopping day of the year.

In the world of advertising and marketing, we spend countless hours brainstorming ways to get our products on that list. After all, Black Friday is the Super Bowl of retail. Last year, Americans spent a record $52 billion dollars total and an average of almost $400 per shopper. With these numbers, it’s no wonder advertisers spend a pretty penny on advertising during the holiday season.

No matter how simple or grandiose your plan for Black Friday advertising may be, it all comes back down to the basics. In 1986, Petty and Cacioppo laid out the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM), to describe how people process persuasive messages and act on them. At its very core, ELM defines the relationship between advertisers/marketers and consumers.

The central route of ELM describes a consumer who makes decisions based on a logical thought process. Our method of persuasion for central-route thinkers would take the form of a product demonstration, a list of product qualities or factual evidence of the product claim(s). This KitchenAid video is a great example of a rational message as it explicitly lists the benefits of owning the product.

The peripheral route of ELM is for those consumers who buy for emotional reasons. My favorite example of this comes from the Incredible India campaign in a video that speaks directly to your emotions – especially if you love to travel.

Of course, the world isn’t black and white. Some of the best techniques (and most effective) are a combination of both routes. Samsung hit the nail on the head with this recent Galaxy S III commerical that combines the logical point of view by discussing product features with the emotional point of view in regards to overzealous iPhone users.

As the sellers of these persuasions, it is important to consider ELM when brainstorming messaging ideas for a product, especially during the holidays. For every consumer out there, Black Friday won’t go by without an ad that will appeal to them, whether rational or emotional or a combination of both.

That leaves one question for all you compulsive shoppers out there: for the items that are on your Black Friday list this year, which ads were the most effective and why?

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