Do you know the history of “Black Friday” or where the term initiated from?
In the 1950s, police in the city of Philadelphia in the USA used the term to describe the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving (a national holiday in the USA), when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year.
It only spread across the rest of America in the late 1980s (largely due to consumer pressure) and now Black Friday is the name given to the shopping day after Thanksgiving, that generates mass hysteria right around the globe.
If you want to learn more about some of the facts behind Black Friday, read this “What’s the Real History of Black Friday?”
In thinking about the frenzy that is caused by this day of shopping, it prompted me to think about the context that drives decision making and how trends are established.
Black Friday leads shoppers to expect massive discounts and unbeatable deals. The trend that this day has created prompts our minds into a state of expectation, so much so that if a shop/brand doesn’t partake in Black Friday consumers are disappointed and even angry. The original context shows how the demand (the influx of people into the town of Philadelphia) drove the supply. Shops took advantage of the conditions and capitalised on the increase in foot traffic. As the world became increasing connected and brands/shops expanded into different locations they were able to drive the narrative of Black Friday to new customers and so the expectation spread.
So, here’s some advice. Hysteria and excitement can at times blur our decision making. Next time you have a decision to make on Black Friday take a step back… is it really a good deal you are getting or have you been led to believe it is due to the expectation that has been set?
Oh, and don’t forget to check out Cyber Monday as we navigate our digital future.
Here’s an interesting podcast
- Cohesion and commerce. The legendary thinker, Seth Godin, chats about Thanksgiving.
- Washington Post CRO, Joy Robins on working directly with ad agencies
- 119 From Experiences To Transformation with Joe Pine
An article that are worth your time:
Something to ponder:
Could we do Black Friday on any other Friday of the year? After all, it’s just a trend that retailers have been pressured into complying with due to other contextual factors. How about starting a new trend?