Black Friday, Cyber Monday. A Copycat Event or a Clever Marketing Tool?

We all know that Thanksgiving took place in the US last week. The Friday after Thanksgiving marks the official start of the Christmas shopping season and has been dubbed Black Friday, it is then followed by Cyber Monday.

It seems this year Aussie retailers have jumped on the Black Friday band wagon. I need to wonder, does it mean anything to us? Are we just trying to pick up another American tradition?

I was invited to participate in a quick survey a couple of weeks ago. The topic was ‘Should Australia celebrate Thanksgiving?’ Now I think being thankful for all we have is great but I think if we were to celebrate this American holiday it wouldn’t be for the right reasons. 

There is a long and rich history as to why Thanksgiving is celebrated. It centres around the pilgrims that traveled from Plymouth England on the Mayflower to the United States. Afterthe pilgrims successful first corn harvest in 1621, Governor William Bradford ordered a feast to celebrate this effort. Over time the celebration of this feast day have evolved to an American national holiday celebrated on the last Thursday of November without the religious significance it once held.

Australia didn’t even exist back in 1621 so to celebrate the true significance of Thanksgiving seems pointless in my opinion. If we were to celebrate Thanksgiving to commemorate a significant event of our history then I would be all for it.

It seems though regardless of whether we celebrate Thanksgiving or not, retailers are embracing the Black Friday and Cyber Monday trend. Are retailers being clever? Are they scaring us into making a start on our Christmas shopping? Does following an American tradition make it seem more real? 

For many years including this year through the news and social media we are constantly reminded that we have so may shopping days and sleeps until Christmas. Do we really need the Americans to tell us when to start shopping? I have received so many emails from retailers telling me all about their Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bargain but do we have to label our shopping events with American terms? Is it not time that we came up with an Australian term that means just as much as Black Friday or Cyber Monday? There are so many clever marketing professionals out there, surely we can come up with an alternative.