What I’m thinking about today:
1. Black Friday is leaking into Thursday. But what does it all mean?
2. You don’t want to sit next to these people on the plane.
3. Second screen gets noticed.

1. What is Black Friday really about? Black Friday is an opportunity to…get deals? Kick-off the holiday season? Celebrate commerce? Camp out in the parking lot at a major retailer for a week? All of the above? Yep. All of the above.

I feel like there should be a Charlie Brown special for Black Friday (“It’s holiday savings time, Charlie Brown!!”). But if you think about the origins of Black Friday it didn’t start with such a positive vibe. Police (traffic) and workers (long hours, aggressive consumers) nicknamed it that for a reason. However, retailers began to push back in the 80s and turned it into more of an experience, tying it to big promotions and deals. Now? Now we’re thinking about starting Black Friday even earlier as some retailers are experimenting with Thursday deals.

Janet Cho, from The Plain Dealer wrote a very interesting piece about how we, the consumer can affect this. It’s a good read full of some interesting stats, specifically we spent $11B on Black Friday last year and 140 million people will shop (in-store and online) between Thanksgiving and December 1.

I think we can all agree that Black Friday is a little out of control. I mean people have actually died on this day. But are the deals worth it? Some yes, some no. According to this article on what not to buy on Black Friday, some of the items that are ‘deals’ really aren’t because their availability won’t suffer (like the hot toys) as the season builds. And, regarding those flat screens? Don’t buy them now – wait until the pre-Super Bowl sales as the offbrands, base models are offered up on Black Friday.

Black Friday and The Super Bowl are two of my favorite marketing holidays – they are the two times during the year where everyone knows they are being marketed to. And are ok with it. They are also the two times during the year where our friends and family actually (think they) know what we do.

Beyond all of this I guess it’s not really how you spend your holiday as long as you’re spending it with your family. What is the saying again? The family that shops together stays together? Hey, why do you think the drumstick exists? Grab it and enjoy your Thanksgiving feast on the go. Good luck out there.

2. Sit next to any of these people on your last plane ride? I don’t complain too much about those people I encounter/sit next to on a plane. It’s bound to happen – you are going to get stuck next to someone who annoys you. But doesn’t it seem like travel etiquette has been on the decline. I thought this quick read illustrated that. In it you’ll see ‘the 10 travelers you don’t want to sit next to’. When you think about it in the context of some of these things actually happen you realize that yes, we may need a refresher on what you can and can’t do on a plane. And we’re not the only ones noticing. For example, several major airlines can throw you off a plane if you are smelly. Yea, smelly. Like B.O. smelly. And while they haven’t restricted it yet I wish people weren’t allowed to bring fast food on a plane. (McDonalds smells bad enough but after about an hour that grease smell lingers in small space.)

Dare I ask – do you have any horror stories of sitting next to ‘that person’ on a flight?

3. I’m obsessed with the second screen experience. I love reading about it. We are literally seeing how TV is consumed change before our eyes. And consumer brands who realize the power of this are taking notice. For example, Pepsi used MTV’s VMAs to observe how millennials are using the second screen. Afterall, the VMAs are the top-rated entertainment program on cable among viewers aged 12-34 this year—and the most social non-sports TV event.

The results are very interesting and give further credence to the experience v. the event is where the true marketing opportunity is. We’d rather talk about what we’re watching rather than watch it. Miley Cyrus, for all the hating, totally gets this. Her “performance” resulted in 360,000 tweets a minute and was a perfect example of how this demographic turned immediately to social channels to either discuss or watch it being discussed.

Read for yourself. On a side note can I just say I’m a little depressed that I’m reading about consumer behavior of people in their mid-30s…and am not a part of it. Ouch. Apparently ‘you’re only as old as you feel’ doesn’t apply to marketing demographics.