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Marketers Begin Pushing Sepoctonocember

No panic – it’s only November. You still have lots of time to find the perfect Christmas gifts and Starbucks still has time to fix a Christmas branding gaffe, right? Not really.

November is the new December when it comes to the retail season. Christmas, in terms of retail, starts early thanks to marketing and merchandising campaigns launching the moment the clock tolls midnight on Halloween. Coined Christmas Creep*, some suggest Labour Day, Thanksgiving and Halloween are now mere speed bumps on the highway to Christmas; events simply folded into the 115-day month of “Sepoctonocember”.

For Starbucks, early November 2006 included a logistical rollout with fantastic and global scope – offline and online – in the stores and on the web. But all was not well at campaign launch, and an industry blog picked up on the gaffe calling it an example of ‘disintegrated marketing’ The gaffe has subsequently been addressed and Starbucks’ website is now a fully functioning live link (and a rich micro-site to boot).

Last year, One Degree noted that nowhere in a store full of “Red Cup” promotional signage was the complimentary micro-site getting attention. This year, the call is for better coordination at launch so that such promising integrated campaigns are smooth like butter; mixed media living in harmony.

*(def): The gradual trend toward beginning Christmas-related merchandising and advertising earlier and earlier each year.


  1. Matt Williams
    Matt Williams November 9, 2006

    October 2nd was my first Christmas related punch in the face.
    I’ve always thought that the American Thanksgiving was an appropriate time to start the advertising. It’s just much too early to get started before then. It isn’t even cold out here in Vancouver!
    It’s a lot like the Cadbury easter egg treats. They just aren’t all that special anymore.

  2. Lex
    Lex November 22, 2006

    After receiving my first coffee in a red cup, I thought I’d pop on over to check out the Red Cup site from last year when I got back to the office.
    Now, what was that domain again? – No coffee here just a weird templaty thing. – What’s this? an offer to buy me a coffee if I call… but who do I call? – nothing – nope
    So here I am back on only to find Starbucks has dropped last year’s domain for something new.
    Guess it’s not worth maintaining a domain just to keep last year’s in-crowd feeling special.

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