Holidays of Shopping

With the holiday season coming up, are you more excited about turkey or sales?  Black Friday deals attract customers in mass numbers every year. In order to keep that excitement going, Wal-Mart promotes “rollbacks” the whole week starting November 21st. “It used to be called Black Friday, and then it became Thursday, now it’s a week long,” said Wal-Mart U.S. chief merchant Duncan Mac Naughton last week. “Maybe we should just call it November.” Wal-Mart’s marketing strategies not only include longer windows of deals, but also price matching, online sales, more staff, and e-commerce in order to take full advantage of the Black Friday madness. Walmart has even added signs to the registers advertising that they will have more lanes open than ever from Thanksgiving until Christmas.

George Gerbner developed the idea of Cultivation Theory. This states that the way that we view our world is influenced significantly through what we watch on TV. Wal-Mart as well as other companies have been broadcasting commercials showing Black Friday sales, Black Thursday sales, and even more recently, sales that last the whole week long. This is cultivating our minds and making us feel like everyone around us is doing these extreme sales thus making us feel the need to shop this much in advance.

Another component to Gerbner’s cultivation theory is resonance. This means that the more times we see something, the more likely it will stick in our minds, and perhaps influence us to do something or believe that something is true. Wal-Mart has been on a Black Friday commercial spree using celebrities such as Anthony Anderson and Melissa Joan Hart on almost every other commercial to influence buyers to do their Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart. This strategy Wal-mart is used to try to resonate in people’s mind that their store is the right choice because the celebrities in the commercials think so too.

Due to the fact that television is a huge part of our society’s lifestyle, do you think that the numerous amount of commercial’s Walmart are using are making people want to do their holiday shopping there?

-Margaret Cafasso, Kierstin Geary, Connor Gold, Olivia Sadler, Hannah Zeskind

5 thoughts on “Holidays of Shopping

  1. I was literally talking yesterday about how many of those Wal-Mart commercials were popping up recently. While I have to say, it is about time they made black Friday longer than one day. I’m tired of hearing about people pepper-spraying each other for video games and children’s toys. When it comes to the success of the commercials, I can deny, they are everywhere, and people are noticing. Personally, I did understand the size of the campaign, and the celebrities they are using to endorse it. I never once thought “WHOA! Melissa Joan Heart knows what’s up! We need to make a Wal-Mart trip, like NOW!.” Granted, I am sure that there are way smarter people making these decisions and they have a reason for these choices, but they definitely missed my demographic.

  2. Thomas,
    Thank you for your comment! I agree that making Black Friday into a multiday event is helpful. You made an interesting point about who Walmart uses in their commercials, they really seem to be trying to appeal to a slightly older demographic.

    -Olivia Sadler

  3. I am an international student at UNCW and I have never experienced Black Friday before, so Friday is going to be my first time! Back home I stick to some shops I really like so I think with the Black Friday sales, you have your own stores you go to. If you always go to Target, I do not think the Wal-Mart commercials will have a big impact. Although if a commercial from Wal-Mart is about a big sale then you can consider to go there only for that sale item.
    I agree with the point you say that seeing something many times can increase awareness for your brand, I am not sure however that it will affect someones behavior directly.

  4. I find it quite ironic that a holiday that was once about giving thanks for what you have has turned into purchasing things that you don’t have. As for Wal-Mart and their constant commercials I think that Gerbner’s cultivation theory does play a part in making people want to go to Wal-Mart for deals. Although I do not personally shop there and want to say that their annoying commercials are not making people want to go there, it is hard to argue with the lines of people that stretch out past the parking lots during these sales. Even though these commercials irritate people I think that resonance does occur. These commercials get stuck in people’s heads and are easily remembered.

  5. Eva and Juliane,

    Thank you for your comments on our post! It seems as though even if you are not from the US, you still have an idea of what Black Friday is due to marketing. I agree with you both. Wal-Mart commercials might not always be the most entertaining but they do have a way of getting stuck in your head!

    -Margaret Cafasso

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