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Black Friday Ads Lacking


It’s “Cyber Monday”! So named in the dot-com days when consumers would jump-start holiday shopping online. On this occurrence I’m taking a look back at what seems to have become a lost art – Black Friday newspaper inserts.

The newspaper arrived Thanksgiving morning. In Minneapolis it weighed 3.5 pounds. Pretty hefty given the sorry state of the economy and newspaper advertising.

Generalizing the 47 ad inserts in the paper that morning is done with one word – FRANTIC! Every square inch of printable space covered in sale prices, percent off, store hours, calls to action such as, “Hurry!” or “Door Busters!”. Each one attempting to out-shout the other. Awful stuff.

So here are my top three picks for best 2010 Black Friday Newspaper Inserts:

#3 Borders – promotes books and e-Reader “Kobo” on full-sized sheet, glossy paper and a coupon for 50% off any on item in the store.






#2 Famous Footwear – front page dominated by “By One Get One 1/2 Off” for BearPaw boots and slippers (BearPaws are Ugg’s knockoffs). The merchants at Famous Footwear picked their best sellers, gave them space to be properly presented and used great values and incentives to sell. A coupon to “Save an Extra 20% On Your Entire Purchase” was included on the back cover.


#1 Sam’s Club – Great headline (whatever happened to headlines anyway?) “Oh What Fun It Is To Save”. Crisp creative presentation, a range of products and prices – Samsung Smart Phone $.96, HP laptop $499, diamond earrings, Vizio TV $488.  A $25 gift card offer for new members. The entire 7 page insert is clean, well-organized, great product supported by terrific prices and compelling copy. Doesn’t seem like rocket science but clearly unique in today’s Black Friday insert world.

Newspaper and print connections such as catalogs have lost their edge. The art of merchandising is best when the cross-functional effort of merchants and “creatives” work together to present the “must have” inclination by consumers. That’s selling!

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