Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

No Black Friday at REI





That it's cynical to say it doesn't mean it's not true--"life is marketing." Look at Trump. He didn't get where he is on ideology or compassion or breadth of vision. He doesn't have the world's best hair. He's a salesman who rather consistently makes Jeb Bush look like a tree stump. Sometimes you just can't help thinking that life is just all about marketing.

I don't remember where I read it, but some business grad somewhere determined that marketing has gone through three clearly identifiable phrases. First, the era when retailers simply sold items they had and you wanted. 

This old Irish newspaper advertisement might well sell a little nationalism, "Made in Dublin," but basically what's for sale here is a bicycle, "the easiest running cycle ever ridden." What's for sale is the product, the thing. That's chapter 1 supposedly.

Along came Don Draper--well, Don Drapers were all creating copy all over Madison Avenue long before the late 50s because what ad men learned to pitch in this second era wasn't so much a bicycle as that precious "something other" that only a bicycle could afford. "See the U. S. A. in your Chevorolet" doesn't focus on the durability of the carburetors or the plush upholstery in the back seat. What marketers sold was a Chevy that would make your world a moveable feast. With that car, you're always on vacation. 

I'm sure my dad didn't buy a BB gun because he saw an ad. His kid probably hounded him until he went to Daane Hardware and bought one. My dad wasn't a hunter, never picked up a gun in his life as far as I know, not even during the war. What he needed was the assurance that buying an air rifle for little boy was a good thing, a safe thing. 

So Daisy, who still makes BB guns, tried to sell him peace of mind--the family that shoots sputzies together, stays together. That kind of thing.

The ad says nothing about operation or function, nothing about parts that won't wear out. An ad like this--and they're still all around us--doesn't claim to sell a BB gun; what it sells is a happy family. 

The third phrase--I honestly don't remember where I read this--begins with the product's disappearance altogether so that advertising isn't really about product at all. That's right. The seller isn't selling the product because the product isn't important. What the seller sells is ideology, a way of life.

REI, an outdoor gear retailer who operates as a coop, announced this week that they were simply not opening for business on Black Friday. That's a man-bites-dog story. Just about 90 million Americans shop, a lot, on the day after Thanksgiving, the Christmas season-opener. If you want a hoodie from REI--on-line or from one of their 189 shops--you'll just have to wait because REI is staying home and asking you to do the same.

They're selling everything but product. In a way, of course, it's fitting for a outdoors-y retailer to tell its customers stay out of malls and go snowshoeing. Makes sense. Go on and take a holiday. Gear up for it before you go, of course, but stay the heck away from Walmart. Go snag a walleye. Take a hike. 

To say that what REI is doing is unconventional is gross understatement. They're betting the business on the ploy because retailers nation-wide stay out of the red only because America goes shopping-crazy on what's become a holiday. 

We're a culture of Jabba the Hutts. We live and die on consumption. Nowhere else in the world are storage units a multi-billion dollar business and growing. Just up the road, a local non-profit collects people's donated "stuff" in a couple of trucks that are wide open 24/7 and always full. 

Listen, you don't have to be cynical to recognize that not opening on Black Friday is just another sales pitch. But for REI it is a real gamble. And I like it. 

So I'll buy from REI. Don't know that I need anything exactly, but I'll head over to their website, maybe not this morning, but sometime before Thanksgiving. I will. 

4 comments:

oakleyses said...

jordan pas cher, louboutin pas cher, louis vuitton outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet online, tiffany and co, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin outlet, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, air max, uggs on sale, nike free, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, replica watches, jordan shoes, longchamp pas cher, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors pas cher, tiffany jewelry, oakley sunglasses wholesale, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin shoes, louis vuitton outlet, nike outlet, christian louboutin uk, nike air max, gucci handbags, tory burch outlet, nike air max, ugg boots, oakley sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses, prada handbags, polo ralph lauren, replica watches, nike free run, ugg boots, prada outlet, polo outlet, burberry pas cher, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, sac longchamp pas cher, chanel handbags, longchamp outlet, nike roshe, oakley sunglasses

oakleyses said...

sac vanessa bruno, michael kors, ralph lauren uk, kate spade, nike blazer pas cher, burberry handbags, lululemon canada, nike tn, coach purses, north face, coach outlet, vans pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, uggs outlet, sac hermes, timberland pas cher, coach outlet store online, converse pas cher, replica handbags, hogan outlet, hollister pas cher, guess pas cher, mulberry uk, nike air max uk, michael kors outlet online, uggs outlet, nike air max, nike air force, true religion jeans, burberry outlet, ray ban pas cher, north face uk, michael kors outlet, michael kors, ray ban uk, oakley pas cher, new balance, michael kors outlet, nike air max uk, michael kors outlet online, polo lacoste, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet online, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet online, nike roshe run uk, hollister uk

oakleyses said...

herve leger, lululemon, reebok outlet, ferragamo shoes, wedding dresses, louboutin, longchamp uk, gucci, converse outlet, new balance shoes, mont blanc pens, nike air max, celine handbags, nike roshe run, hollister, nike trainers uk, p90x workout, beats by dre, mcm handbags, converse, nfl jerseys, instyler, nike air max, ralph lauren, valentino shoes, hollister, ghd hair, giuseppe zanotti outlet, abercrombie and fitch, vans, iphone cases, nike huaraches, baseball bats, vans outlet, hermes belt, chi flat iron, hollister clothing, babyliss, asics running shoes, oakley, soccer shoes, north face outlet, ray ban, mac cosmetics, timberland boots, bottega veneta, jimmy choo outlet, soccer jerseys, north face outlet, insanity workout

oakleyses said...

canada goose jackets, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, ugg pas cher, hollister, doudoune moncler, ugg, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, moncler, louis vuitton, pandora jewelry, replica watches, moncler outlet, moncler uk, barbour, juicy couture outlet, barbour uk, lancel, canada goose, juicy couture outlet, swarovski crystal, pandora charms, louis vuitton, marc jacobs, moncler outlet, moncler, louis vuitton, swarovski, pandora uk, karen millen uk, canada goose outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, moncler, ugg uk, montre pas cher, toms shoes, moncler, supra shoes, links of london, canada goose uk, wedding dresses, canada goose, canada goose, thomas sabo, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, pandora jewelry, coach outlet