Why Retailers Should Avoid the Christmas Creep

How soon is too soon for holiday advertising campaigns?Kmart Christmas Creep

Insights

  • The majority of conversation (93%) about the ad campaign responded negatively to Kmart’s Holiday Layaway ad. Around 66% state that September is generally too early to start running Christmas commercials.
  • A portion of the conversation includes shoppers claims that they will boycott Kmart because of the early holiday ad.
  • The conversation is consistently negative throughout September. However, September 18th – the day Kmart released their Fab 15 Holiday Toy List – is characterized by mainly positive conversation.
  • Discussion of T.J. Maxx’s online store relaunch initially consists mainly of neutral news sharing. Over time, the portions of expressed excitement for the shop, concern for increased shopping addiction and disappointment in the online selection all increase.

Context

How early is too early for holiday ads? Every year the “Christmas Creep” arrives earlier in the calendar year, causing most consumers to groan rather than rejoice. Last year, when Target released their first holiday ad three weeks before Halloween, the company received a high degree of criticism.
This time around, Kmart was the first to ring in the season when it premiered its holiday layaway commercial on September 9. The ad features a colossal gingerbread man slowly inching its way towards a woman at work, as the company warns viewers not to “let the holidays sneak up on you.”
The commercial, premiering 105 days before Christmas, is just one of many companies’ growing attempts to capitalize on the holidays as swiftly as possible. The holiday shopping phenomenon continues to grow in popularity, as days like Black Friday draw in undeniably substantial sales.
TJ Maxx New Website
More recently, Cyber Monday has proven that focusing on the online market is also key. In September, T.J. Maxx, after initially struggling with its first foray in the online shopping world, relaunched its store website, a seemingly subtle attempt to prepare for the holiday season.
How do these approaches—fueling the Christmas Creep—help or hinder a company? How overt should these efforts be? Using ForSight, we looked at consumers’ reactions to the Kmart commercial and the reopening of the T.J. Maxx website.
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