Version: primary November 2015 - Gemba Marketing

Black Friday is the New Cyber Monday

Black Friday means a little something different to all of us. To some, it’s the day we wake up at ungodly hours to wait in line and buy discounted stuff. To others, it’s the day we don’t dare leave the house for fear of getting run over by future flat-screen TV owners. In truth, the term itself has gone through several definition iterations. Let’s take a look. 1951: The term “Black Friday” is used to describe the phenomenon where employees try to capitalize on the holiday to score a four-day weekend. 1966: “Black Friday” now refers to the day that stores are crowded and Philadelphia cops have their work cut out for them. 1975-1980: “Black Friday” is re-appropriated to refer to the time when sales take a business out of the red and into the black (the definition we’re all probably most familiar with). The mid-2000s: “Black Friday” comes to mean “The day you’re at risk for getting trampled.” 2008: It now means “Walmart officially opens at 5 a.m.” 2012: We continue to use the term “Black Friday,” but it is now losing ground to the monstrosity that is “Gray Thursday”—or, as we like to call it, “STILL THANKSGIVING, YOU MANIACS. GO HOME.” 2013: “Black Friday” becomes known as “The Less-Good Version of Cyber Monday.” People begin favoring Cyber Monday above Black Friday and Gray Thursday, with sales up 20.6% from the previous year. 2014: “Black Friday” becomes “The day the Xbox One is released and society pretty much collapses under the weight of the ensuing stampede.” 2015: “Black Friday,” “Gray Thursday,” and “Cyber Monday” are now pretty much one in the same. We’re shopping online and in...

Thanksgiving By the Numbers

It’s almost Thanksgiving, people! We made it! The only thing standing between us and a smorgasbord of carbs is a short work week, four hours of travel to Grandma’s house, and an afternoon of everyone wondering if the food’s ready yet. To get ourselves in the mood, let’s break things down with a little numerical analysis. And from all of us here at Gemba… happy...

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: What’s Up With That?

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is just one of those things that’s such an ingrained part of our culture that we don’t stop to question it. Thanksgiving occurs. So does the parade. It’s just what has to happen. But this wasn’t always the case. The whole thing began in 1924 to kickstart the holiday season, and it barely merited two sentences in the New York Herald the following day. Since then it’s blossomed into the full-fledged juggernaut of marketing that we all know and love. It’s also an event marketer’s dream come true. From custom mobile fabrications like Santa’s sleigh to all manner of audience engagement techniques, the Macy’s parade offers up a veritable plethora of opportunities for brands. For example, Cotton Inc. does a Bountiful Harvest cornucopia float filled with fruits. Timberland provides warm and comfy outerwear to any volunteers doing parade-related work. And then there are the balloons, like Snoopy and the Pillsbury Doughboy. Maybe you’ve heard of ’em. So the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Kind of a big deal. It’s a seasonal staple. It’s how we know the holidays are upon us. It forges positive associations in our brains and allows us to feel like we’re a part of something, whether we’re Tweeting along, watching the parade on TV, or actually attending it the old-fashioned way. In doing so, we get to experience every float, every marching band performance, every runaway Energizer Bunny balloon fiasco. And that right there is why the parade isn’t just a juggernaut of marketing—it’s a juggernaut of experiential marketing, which is why we’re so geeked about it. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we kind of specialize in...

Recipe for an Experiential Agency

On average, we’ll all spend approximately 9,000 hours making Thanksgiving dinner. Turkeys will be stuffed, corn will be shucked, and buttermilk rolls will be defrosted. I’m here to tell you that Thanksgiving dinner, with all of its various parts and pieces, is not unlike an experiential agency. The art department is like the mashed potatoes, account services is like the pumpkin pie, and nobody is like the yams, because does anybody even really like yams? Aren’t we all just pretending? Anyway, here’s how we throw all those parts and pieces into the Gemba mixing bowl and come out with your business solutions (in less than 9,000 hours). Directions: 1. Start with a dollop of business development. Heat to boiling. 2. Add the creative team and account services. Watch them identify strategic, data-driven solutions for a myriad of business challenges. Reduce heat, let simmer. 3. Now throw in a dash of copywriting and art. They’ll work in conjunction with one another to present activation concepts in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and articulate. Stir well. 4. Sprinkle in some production. This is how an event (ahem, meal) physically comes to life. All elements are manufactured in-house, so—pardon the continued food analogy, but we’ve made it this far and I’m not stopping now—we really are a farm-to-table company. 5. Remove from heat. Let sit for five minutes. You’ve just cooked up for your first experiential agency. How does it feel? Good? Great? Awesome. Now,...

Tear Meter: You (Yes, You) Can Send Cookies to Veterans!

You know what’s cool? Thanking a veteran for their service. But you know what’s even cooler? Thanking a veteran with cookies. That’s right. If you head on over to Katy’s Goodness, you can send a cookie care package to a veteran, and part of the proceeds will be donated to military families to help with disabilities, job training, unemployment housing, healthcare, and education. Katy’s Goodness has reached over 2 million veteran families, and over 3.5 million dollars have been placed back into the veteran community. I’m giving this venture a solid 5/5 on the old tear meter, because 1) it’s a fantastic idea, and if there’s anyone who deserves baked goods, it’s veterans and their families. Also 2) if this video doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies and make you tear up at least a little bit, then you have a black hole where your heart should be:...