Too soon for holiday cheer?

Starbucks has officially unveiled its bright red holiday cup, which begs the question: Is it too early for brands to begin pushing out their holiday products?


Other companies are jumping on the bandwagon with early holiday promotions as well. If you peruse the mall or shop at Target you’ll inevitably see holiday decorations popping up everywhere. On the other hand, some companies like REI are skipping the Black Friday madness altogether.

Where do you stand? And what could early holiday marketing do for a brand? Some believe it could make a brand appear greedy by pushing holiday-inspired products on the consumer too soon as a way to boost sales. However, from a business perspective, it does appear to work. Early holiday promotions seem to inspire people to begin their holiday shopping much earlier than they normally would. Also, some people actually do prefer to get all their holiday shopping over and done with early.

On the other hand, some individuals and companies feel it’s way too much too soon. Let’s take a look at REI. The outdoor giant is choosing to close on Black Friday and give their employees a day to go outside and play in order to honor what their brand represents.

Whether we choose to accept it or not, it appears that pushing holiday products early has never seemed to hurt a brand’s reputation. So, consumer brand companies continue to do this even though we as consumers may not like it on an individual basis.

With the case of Starbucks, the bright cheery red cup flicks on a switch in some loyal coffee drinkers’ brains, signaling the start of the holiday season. That cup is genius from a marketing perspective; people see it and think Starbucks and holiday cheer as one entity. They are pulled like a magnet into shelling out four to five dollars for a peppermint mocha, gingerbread latte or any of the other holiday-inspired beverages.

Throughout social media there’s a variety of different opinions. Many people think it’s way too soon, while others are excited for the holiday to begin. When did a bright red paper coffee cup signal the start of the holiday season? It took years, but this is just one example of effective branding. People see the red Starbucks cup and think delicious, comforting, warm holiday cheer. It’s so simple and yet so devious.

Then there’s REI. A company that’s being applauded by some for essentially boycotting Black Friday.

Where do you stand on early holiday promotions?


Jessica Bettendorf

Author: Jessica Bettendorf