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  • Rachel Patterson and James Huff

PR Wins and Fails during the Holiday Season

  1. Fail: Most fragile items have “Handle With Care” on the box, so the item would not be broken from any rough handling. Apparently, Fed Ex employees ignore this specific instruction around the holidays when there’s a gate between them and the front door. Watch this video to see a FedEx employee carelessly throw someone’s monitor that they ordered for Christmas over the gate. FedEx took to Twitter to respond to the video that had 9 million+ views on YouTube.

  2. Win: Since 2008, women’s retailer New York and Company has partnered with St. Jude and earned over $16 billion in donations. During November, customers are prompted at the POS if they want to make a donation to St. Jude. Each store has a minimum goal to push and has visual merchandising on display to prompt customers to donate to the cause.

  3. Fail: If you order something like an iPad Mini for your daughter around Christmas, make sure you’re home to receive the package. This video shows a FedEx employee dropping off an iPad Mini, and an UPS employee strategically stealing it. Pretty sure the parent or the little girl who had to watch this video for proof won’t be doing any online shopping after this incident.

  4. Win: Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show is nestled in between the busiest dates for retailers: black friday and Christmas Eve. While already pushing advertisements, rotating visual and perk coupons, Victoria’s Secret stores decided to host events in-store on the night the famous show airs on NBC. In order to get people from their couches to store to shop during this night, stores offer promo deals for that night only. Victoria’s Secret creates a party atmosphere with DJ’s, and give away the coveted PINK dogs, which are now only in store for certain events. This makes customers feel special and that shopping can be fun instead of stressful during the holidays.

  5. Fail: If you’re asked to cook the turkey, be sure to go with your regular recipe and not your new Bourbon recipe. Jill decided to add Bourbon to her turkey before placing it in the oven, but she accidently added twice the amount of Bourbon than necessary. Forty-five minutes later the oven door was blasted open with a blue flame shooting from the turkey across the kitchen while everyone ducked and screamed. Explanation? The alcohol vapor built up and exploded.

  6. Win: Consumers loved the “share a coke” strategy that Coca-Cola implemented by putting names on bottles of regular coke, diet coke, and coke zero. While some said “bro” and “gamer” targeted toward the male demographic during football season, during holiday season the company put words like “Grandma” on bottles. The idea of “drinkable placemats” was loved by consumers and sales climbed.

  7. Fail: If you’re going to be generous around the holidays, be aware of the inner scammer in all of your customers; Target failed to do this. They promoted a $10 gift card with every $50 gift card purchased. The subscribers began to finesse the Target system as soon as the loophole was noticed. How did they do it? Buy a $50 gift card, get an extra $10 use the purchased gift card to buy another $50 gift card, get an additional $10, and repeat. Some subscribers raked in up to $5000 and people still aren’t sure if Target knew what happened.

  8. Win: REI “Opt Outside” campaign. While most corporations are scheming for how to make sales most appealing for maximum sales on black friday, outdoor giant REI decided to close it’s doors and give employees a day off. While this meant zero sales for that day, the positive impact it had on employees, their families, and customers was enough to show that the corporation had some heart. Customer satisfaction yields good results and this campaign made REI stand out from the crowd.

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