Imagine my horror when I checked into a hotel in mid-August and saw a Christmas tree standing as bold as brass in reception. It got me thinking, “really?! In the middle of summer… a Christmas tree?” I guess that’s just how things work now.
Like divorced parents vying for their child’s affection with a sickening selection of expensive gifts, brands are doing anything they can to stay ahead of one another. Brands are starting their Christmas prep earlier and earlier every year in a bid to gain an advantage.
This phenomenon is known as the ‘Christmas creep’, where merchants and retailers introduce Christmas-themed merchandise or decorations well before the traditional start of the festive season.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
It’s not totally absurd for brands to start preparing for Christmas this early. Like anything in life, the earlier you begin the more organised you’re likely to be. Every man and his dog will be competing for your festive business; shops want you to buy their presents, restaurants want you to eat their festive menu, and other brands are desperate to establish their product as the quintessential Christmas accompaniment.
During the unofficial official festive season, the market is heavily saturated. Everywhere you turn you can’t escape the green, white and red malaise that is Christmas. Being first off the mark is a good thing. It etches your company firmly in the mind of consumers and helps you stand out from the crowd.
Consumer focus shifts
Valentine’s Day. Mother’s Day. Easter. Father’s Day. Summer. Christmas. And repeat. Christmas is the natural next step for us Brits. We don’t have a Thanksgiving Day equivalent and we don’t celebrate Halloween with the same verve as those from across the pond. So, it’s only logical to turn our attention to the festive season once the sun cream has been packed away for another year.
Deals glorious deals
One benefit of embracing the premature Christmas buzz are the deals on offer. As the big day approaches, desperation sets in and the ill-prepared among us will pay over the odds so we don’t miss out. One advantage of purchasing out of season is the discount deals that can be had. Retailers recognise the big day is still some way off and are more willing to slash prices in order to generate solid business.
Marketing strategies don’t always go as planned. A strategy you were sure would take off may fall flat or miss the mark completely. Starting early enables you to be reactive. If your Christmas strategy crashes towards the end of August, you still have four months to rectify it. Better still, if you have a contingency plan in reserve you can switch strategy seamlessly with little impact to your business.
Although I’m not on board with Christmas starting in mid-August per say, it’s understandable why brands would try to gain an unfair advantage over competitors with a false start, especially in the current retail climate.
Does the fanfare around Christmas really start too early? Does Christmas feel more like an all year-round event with every passing year? Tweet us @otbtweeter with your thoughts.