Pushing their luck: What happened to holidays?

Corporations going too far during holiday seasons?

Keith Pawlowski, Copy Editor

Christmas, Halloween and Valentine’s Day are a few of our nation’s most prominent holidays. They aren’t very similar, but one common tradition sticks out. We, the consumers, have to buy things.

Christmas is just around the corner, and even though classic heartwarming motion pictures like “The Grinch” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas teach us the “true” meaning of Christmas, (most) advertisements would like America to have a shiny new car in their driveway, or how about a new phone? It’s a steal; they’re giving away a free TV with it. T’is the season.

In addition to more traditional celebrations, “new” holidays have been popping up over the last few decades. Black Friday, for example, is the “holiday” that kicks off massive ad campaigns, highlighted with other “events” like CyberMonday. One could argue that “who really goes to Macy’s at midnight on Thursday?” but someone had to do it at some point, or else store owners would hold those sales.

“The trend started in the 90s,” 9th grade English teacher Ms. Andrea Niedbala said, “I remember shopping with my mom on black friday.” 9th grade history teacher Ms. Maria Porter said, “That’s when there were news stories of people getting trampled in stores.”

Gone are the days of where kids would throw a sheet over their heads and run around hunting for candy. But today, store-bought costumes and decorations run rampant. Entire store chains are dedicated to the selling of these Halloween-related items.

But if things really have changed in relatively recent history, then what could have caused it? Technology, for one, is a prime suspect, which opens new frontiers for both communication and analytics. With the dawn of the internet, email and instant messaging make coordinating simultaneous company-wide sales a breeze. Of course, televisions, radios and newspapers have been delivering ads for many, many years, but when the popularity of the internet grew, it became a top source of information on consumers.

Google is a prime example of a powerhouse in this revolution.  Altogether, Google made about $110 billion last year. This income comes not so much from selling smart speakers, but from selling data aggregated from its users. Now, aided by companies like Google, corporations can find out exactly who searched the web for “new running shoes” or “Walmart near me,” when they searched it and where they searched it which optimizes product marketing.

The results of these new analytics collection methods is everywhere. From stores to home, corporations collect data on their consumers to develop new marketing processes. This has changed business drastically over the years.

Keeping all of this in mind, it is a good idea to step back, take a break from shouting about how early the Christmas season was this year, and appreciate how far humans as a species have come in the science of marketing.