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‘Christmas’ is still Christmas in America

admin : November 19, 2010 11:08 am : Ad2 Blog, Ad2 Inc, Featured, Latest News, Marketing, Public Relations

‘Christmas’ Winning War on Christmas in Marketing Messages

Reposted from AdAge.com

Published: November 18, 2010 NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — The War on Christmas may be in its final days.

This season, Merry Christmas — not Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings — will dominate retailers’ marketing messages. There will be Christmas sales and Christmas trees and Christmas carols galore. That has the American Family Association, arguably one of the loudest voices advocating the use of Christmas in retailers’ marketing messages over the past few years, predicting that its crusade could conclude in the next year or two.

Dick's Holiday Shop

Dick’s Holiday Shop

 

Randy Sharp, director-special projects at the AFA, said that in the past five years the group has seen the percentage of retailers recognizing Christmas in their advertising rise from 20% to 80%. Just eight retailers are left on the group’s list of “Companies Against Christmas.”

It’s also become more challenging to find a large, national retailer to single out for the group’s annual boycott. This year, Dick’s Sporting Goods, which boasts an online “Holiday Shop,” will be the target of the boycott. The AFA is expected to send an Action Alert to its 2.3 million supporters on Friday morning. That alert will urge shoppers to boycott Dick’s between now and Dec. 25. It also calls for consumers to email President-Chief Operating Officer Joseph Schmidt and then call Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Hennion. The retailer declined to comment. In the past, Target, Sears, Gap Inc. and Walmart have been targets.

“We’ve had a complete flip,” Mr. Sharp says. “The politically correct holiday verbiage is going away. Companies are getting the message.”

Indeed, retailers that have found themselves the target of boycotts or media and consumer scrutiny have responded swiftly in recent years. Lowe’s “Family Trees” were renamed “Christmas Trees,” while Walmart’s “Holiday Shop” is now a “Christmas Shop.” Midway through the 2005 holiday season, Target, facing a boycott, announced its advertising messages would become more specific and include references to Christmas. And last year, Gap Inc. responded to a boycott by issuing a press release highlighting the use of the phrase “Merry Christmas” in its upcoming Old Navy ads.

Mr. Sharp stopped short of saying that he was surprised by how quickly and readily most retailers have changed their marketing. But he did point out that, especially in this type of economic environment, retailers are being careful not to alienate customers.

“Shoppers vote with their wallets every day,” said Ellen Davis, a VP at the National Retail Federation. “[When it comes to boycotts,] retailers realize, ‘It could just as easily have been us.'”

The NRF does not formally advise retailers on whether they should use the word Christmas, but Ms. Davis said it does provide statistics. This year’s NRF/BigResearch survey found that 91% of consumers plan to celebrate Christmas, compared with 5% for Hanukkah and 2% for Kwanzaa.

“Retailers dipped their toe into the Christmas waters again last year, and there wasn’t much push back. There wasn’t a huge outcry from groups offended that retailers were saying Merry Christmas,” said Ms. Davis. “We see the word Christmas being used much more this year than three or four years ago. The pendulum seems to have swung back.”

The “extreme backlash” to generic holiday messaging likely caught retailers off guard in years past, Ms. Davis added. Now, phrasing around the holidays is much more strategic. “At this point, it’s a conscious decision. It’s not just whimsical phrases being tossed around in the marketing department,” she said. “These are conversations that are now probably taking place in the C-Suite.”

Retailers certainly tread carefully when it comes to the subject of Christmas. Major retailers such as JCPenney and Target said they don’t have formal policies on in-store greetings. And retailers ranging from Gap to Macy’s and RadioShack to Sears emphasized their inclusion and respect for shoppers of different beliefs, while noting that at least some of their marketing messages include the word Christmas. RadioShack, however, still appears on the AFA’s list of “Companies Against Christmas.” A RadioShack spokesman declined to comment on that distinction.

Plenty view the tactics of the AFA and other groups as bullying, but Mr. Sharp rejects that. “It’s not bullying, it’s consumer advocacy,” he said. The AFA’s stance is that retailers should not profit from Christmas, if they refuse to clearly acknowledge it. “When your advertising has trees and ornaments and gift wrapping, you’re advertising Christmas, so don’t call it holiday,” Mr. Sharp said, adding that the group is not at all offended by Happy Hanukkah messages.

 

AFA’s Naughty or Nice List*
*Incomplete list, click here for complete list.

Companies for Christmas
Company uses term “Christmas” on a regular basis.

  • Amazon
  • Best Buy
  • Cabella’s
  • JCPenney
  • Kmart
  • Kohl’s
  • Lowe’s
  • Macy’s
  • Nordstrom
  • Petsmart
  • Sears
  • Target
  • Walmart

 

Companies Marginalizing Christmas
Company refers to “Christmas” infrequently or in a single advertising medium.

  • Banana Republic
  • Gap
  • Old Navy
  • Limited Brands
  • Starbucks
  • Toys R Us
  • Whole Foods

 

Companies Against Christmas
Company may use “Christmas” sparingly in a single or unique product description.

  • Barnes & Noble
  • CVS
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • Office Depot
  • RadioShack
  • Staples
  • Supervalu
  • Victoria’s Secret

 

 

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What is Public Relations?

admin : September 7, 2009 9:45 pm : Ad2 Blog, Public Relations

publicrelationspicThe business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm, or institution. It is also the degree of understanding and goodwill achieved.

Through the use of long-term media contacts and relationships and award-winning copywriting, Ad2 can help you relate to the public in a way you never thought possible. Ad2 can help you find your supporters, understand why they support you and cultivate those relationships with mutual benefits through the use of effective communication and relevant media & communication channels.

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What is marketing?

admin : September 7, 2009 9:37 pm : Ad2 Blog, Marketing

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The act or process of selling or purchasing in a market b: the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service2: an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer.

Although the concept has been around since the beginning of time, the marketplace has changed drastically. If you are using the same old methods to market your brand, you are not being seen or heard. Ad2 can efficiently and effectively position your brand in the market of relevant receivers. Through the use of market research, strategic planning and implementation, you will find yourself in the minds of potential customers for all the right reasons. You won’t have to go looking for them; they will be looking for you, because you will be in all the right places answering their needs as they arise.

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Why do I need an agency?

admin : September 5, 2009 10:35 pm : Ad2 Blog, Latest News
agencypicWell, let’s look at the alternative: You could do it yourself. Besides, who knows your company, your products, your services better than you do? An agency isn’t limited to the resources and perspective of in-house marketing. A fresh perspective is not only a nice thing to have, but a necessity when marketing your organization. Often times, advertisers feel like they know what their customers think, but are surprised to hear the truths revealed by marketing research.

“Although you may feel like you know how to market your products and services, how are you going to do it? Where do you start? When do you start?”

Let’s say you know a graphic illustrator, and you can probably judge a press proof. Sure, you can probably write a clever script and even get the TV or radio station to produce a low-budget spot, but is the quality going to be there? Is your message going to be heard loud and clear? By the right people? Do you know how to reach your target demographic? Do you know who that is? You can probably negotiate a media buy, but do you know whether you’re getting the best reach, frequency and cost per point for your advertising dollars? When an advertising rep calls on you they usually have a bias opinion and will only represent their medium. As an ad agency, we review all mediums and recommend the most effective your organization.

We pride ourselves in utilizing the most effective marketing campaigns to maximize our clients return on investment. That is what we are in the business to do, and we use our contacts and volume to each customer’s benefit.

Ad2 Advertising and Public Relations (more affectionately known as Ad2, Inc.) has emerged into the full-service marketing and PR firm we are today in response to the growing demands and needs of our customers. When we started more than 10 years ago, we helped open 90% of the casinos on the Coast today, and 98% of our business was from the gaming industry. As our client base developed, we were able to grow our repertoire of direct marketing methods. After years of diversifying to meet the needs of our expanded customer base, we have truly become something special in the field of marketing and to our customers.

So, what makes us so special? We truly engross ourselves in our customer’s business, learning it from their perspective and through the critical eyes of their customers. We schedule regular client meetings to make sure that we are in the loop in even what some might consider to be trivial or non-relevant goings-on in the business. A customer once told the rest of his board, “Your marketing firm is like your attorney, they got to know everything”. We frequently attend seminars and continue educating ourselves on advancing technology to ensure that we know what the marketing trends are and how we can best use them in each customer’s individual situation.

We truly partner with our customers, displaying unsurpassed loyalty and strong confidence in their products and services. Our belief in our client’s organization shows throughout our marketing campaigns.

So, you could do it all yourself, or you could hire us to do it for you? After all, if you don’t, your competition will…

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Welcome to our new website

admin : September 5, 2009 10:05 pm : Ad2 Blog

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Our new site is launched. Bringing to you Ad2, Inc. latest news, our enewsletter, RSS feeds, plus much more.

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