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’ ItsRedAgain.com 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 TheRedCup.com 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.