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Marianne Paskowski

TV Networks Brace for Black Friday Sales

November 26, 2008 10:14 AM

I’m not one of those maniacs who get up early the Friday after Thanksgiving to jump-start my holiday shopping spree.

With all the bad economic barometers out there, Black Friday sales will provide another yardstick about the state of television advertising. And for now we know it doesn’t look great.

But maybe it won’t be all gloom and doom. While the three domestic auto companies have noticeably slashed their ad budgets, ads for imported cars seem to be on the rise.

And Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, which has absolutely no need to advertise its value proposition, is laying it on thick this season, with TV spots running in all dayparts.

So yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, even though we’ve seen all those surveys that predict consumers are tapped, and are capping their holiday spending budgets.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.


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Comments (19)

David Cohen:

Every Friday is a black Friday when you're unemployed. And since the unemployment rate is at its highest level in years, I'd be surprised if sales weren't down.

Jeff Mulligan:


I don't know how Black Friday's sales will indicate the state of TV advertising. The aspirations of TV advertisers, yes. But it takes guts and smarts to boost a budget in the face of anticipated reduced holiday sales, which is the way to bet now. How many advertisers will stay the course in the face of a dismal Black Friday? Not many will follow Wal-Mart's lead.


Marianne Paskowski:

Hi David,

Black Friday is a good thing for retailers, meaning not operating in the red.

Saw some stat that said only 10 percent of shoppers have started spending for the holidays, as of yesterday, I believe.

Maybe we'll see some pent up demand released as people get tired of the new frugality.

Thanks for your post, m

Marianne Paskowski:

It does to the extent that if people don't buy, companies don't spend money on TV advertising.

We shall see. Don't expect to see me at the mall on Friday, as always, I'll be in bed, avoiding the crowds, if there are any this year, m


Ugh! The USA is losing 10,000 jobs per day now. I've never shopped on Friday after - I think I'll shop this year.

Marianne Paskowski:


Things are bad but we can't talk ourselves into an even worse recession by stuffing money in the mattress.

Saw a retail analyst on CNBC today who predicted that many stores will close after Christmas. Afraid he's right.

Enjoy your Black Friday shopping, I'll be sound asleep.

Thanks, m


Saw that same report on CNBC. Hope a few those stores make it. Just read a really good blog on that network. With the economy of late, seems like it's the channel of choice lately. Check it out:


Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Tom,
Thanks for the link along with your post. CNBC is a staple in my office at home. My fave show "Fast Money" is now on in the background.

I read another post elsewhere that even CNBC is not immune to the financial meltdown.

Even though its ratings are way up during this economic meltdown, CNBC is being squeezed as well by GE, its owner, looking for spending reduction.

GE was up 50 percent today, btw, m


oooo...hope those spending reductions don't push out my favorite talents. Erin Burnett, Larry Kudlow, that guy Steve who knows everything about everything...

Bought GE earlier this week for less than $15. Feeling good about it right this moment.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Tom,

The spending cuts mentioned at CNBC were pretty vague.Given GE's wide swath of cable holdings, if there are any cuts, imagine they would be in the so-called back office positions like accounting, legal, HR, etc.

Congrats on scoring GE, I dumped it a long time ago, when they sold off appliances.I don't understand the company anymore.

And I tend to hate media stocks in general. Nice dividend and yield,for GE, however no one can figure out the "E" in their P/E estimates.

Your pal Kramer is on right now:) m


Yo, Blondie --

Though I never shop the day after Thanksgiving, being too gorged with turkey and all those trimmings, this year I think I'll try it. I'll get to the stores very early, and talk to the real hard-core shoppers who've been waiting in line all night to buy stuff they don't need at alleged discounts. Then I'll ask them, because they're obviously among the mindless sheep who voted Republican this go-round, why they love Sarah Palin.

My version of sociological fieldwork, I guess.

Cruisin not bruisin

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Cruiser,

While I admire your sociological fieldwork going into Black Friday, your results will be flawed because you are apparently biased.

This economy has become so Darwinian, the survival of the fittest. And that applies to stores that manage their inventories, have specials and advertise, will do better than those that do not.

I have the feeling that Black Friday will be better than we think. Market up four days in a row, gas prices down, interest rates lower, etc. Sure lots of bad economic indicators out there, most jobless rate.

Thanks for your post, mp

Chi-town Mike:

I've made it a tradition each year to have a little Black Friday fun. I'm not one of those nuts that brings out the camping equipment and sits outside for multiple days. Instead I'll look at all the early ads online and wait outside in line for a couple of hours to get that MP3 player or computer upgrade on sale. Usually I get to a store 1-2 hours before it opens and enjoy talking to perfect strangers to find out what they are going to stampede and hurdle over others to get.

This year is definitely different...

Walmart is still going strong this year, but the rest seem to be quite conservative to Black Friday standards (for obvious reasons). Yes the majors are spending on advertising with TV, print, and my personal email is severely flooded, but taking a drive by my local Best Buy earlier it looked like a ghost town. Then again with Circuit City being a wounded duck, many competitors can take a chance on being less aggressive this year.

While it is "Black Friday", to some retailers (compared to the previous years) today may seem a lot more like "Friday"...

David Cohen:

I was driving home from Thanksgiving dinner around 8 last night and saw at least 50 people camped outside the Best Buy on the corner of Sixth Avenue and 23rd St. in Manhattan. Unreal.

David Cohen:
Chi-town Mike:

Black Friday has come and gone...

While locally it appeared (compared to the last couple of years) that more people decided to shop online today, nationwide the crowds were still there. As usual not all behaved with respects to the Toys R US shooting in So Cal, and the trampling of the store employee at Walmart in Long Island.

No matter what the economy is you can always count on one tradition, what was the worst stampede incident at Walmart? Sadly a 34 year old employee died while trying to open the door or what has become America's version of "The running of the bulls". Maybe it was Black Friday after all...

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Chi & David,

Back home from Cape Porpoise, Maine (brrr) where I spent my Thanksgiving. Just heard prelim sales reports for Black Friday from CNN: 3 percent up from last year.

Read another interesting piece about the economy in the NYT, that sales of TV sets would serve as the barometer this holiday transition.

I doubt that, but that's what it said, mp


I was out for a little while Friday morning in the burbs of Chicago. Places were busy, but I have to wonder how much profit retailers actually made because everything was on a very heavy discount.

Marianne Paskowski:


Good question and unfortunately we know the answer: not much. Saw a staggering number yesterday that 39 percent of holiday shoppers were finished with their spending. They did it on Black Friday.

On top of that, it's a short sales season, compared to last year.

And now today, some agency officially declared the country in recession since December 97. Oh like we didn't know.

Thanks for your post, m

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