Mixed Signals: Christmas Rage Available at Kohl's (Rebecca) Black Friday

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.

Holiday advertising has been increasing over the past few weeks as stores gear up for our country’s infamous mega-shopping day, Black Friday. One store’s advertising, however, may have just destroyed its Black Friday rush.

Kohl’s Department Stores released a TV spot promoting its Black Friday midnight opening by tweaking a song that got plenty of press this past year. Just when you thought Rebecca Black’s “Friday” had sunk to the bottom of the music sea, it’s back:

Reaction to the spot has been overwhelmingly negative. Shoppers are venting online, claiming the use of Black’s song is so infuriating that they will not shop at Kohl’s. And supposedly some Kohl’s employees are so embarrassed by the ad that they wish they could quit. Not quite the response Kohl’s was looking for…

I also had a negative reaction when I saw the spot earlier this week. But the discomfort passed when the spot ended, so there was little harm done to me personally. Looking at the mounting public outcry, however, you’d think this spot had ruined both Thanksgiving and Christmas. The more the news covers the outrage, the more people voice their disgust, and the more airtime and attention the spot receives.

Emotion is running high, and I am wondering why. It’s just a TV spot. No one is being forced to watch it. We all have remote controls these days. The rage just doesn’t seem to fit the level of the offense.

When I hear people lashing out over a 30-second TV spot, I am reminded of the great need we have for Christmas, in the truest sense, to enter our hearts. We may have peace and goodwill toward some, toward those we have deemed worthy of our love. But when it comes to a 13-year-old girl with an awful song or a retailer looking to break through the advertising cacophony — there is no goodwill to be found.

When something as minor as a TV spot sends us into an emotional fury, it points to the greater need we all face. Without the love of God poured out into our hearts through Christ Jesus, anger and offense will rule in our hearts, looking for an outlet (such as was found in this TV spot). How wonderful it is that Jesus comes to override the heart’s bent to rage and fury. For this, I am truly thankful this Thanksgiving.

About Erin Straza

Erin Straza (Associate Editor) is a freelance writer, editor, and marketing communications consultant, helping organizations tell their stories in authentic and compelling ways. After a stint in corporate marketing while earning her MBA, Erin taught marketing communications at Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois State. She is crafting her first book, writing from the Illinois flatlands where she lives with her husband, Mike. Find more from Erin at her blog Filling My Patch of Sky and on Twitter @ErinStraza.
E-mail: erin [at] FillingMyPatchOfSky [dot] com
Blog: Filling My Patch of Sky
Twitter: @ErinStraza


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