We know that if you can be a pioneer who starts or promotes a new trend, it has the potential to generate good PR. But today Asda is showing that it also works the other way around. If you go against the grain and decide to jump off a popular “bandwagon”, then it can also lead to positive publicity.
Here I’m talking about the supermarket giant’s announcement that it will not be taking part in the annual retail frenzy around the Black Friday sales this year, noting that there is “shopper fatigue” around this kind of short, sharp “flash sale”.
Asda’s move is all the more newsworthy because it is one of the retailers that originally helped introduce Black Friday (which marks the start of the US holiday shopping season) to the UK.
The company has said that its customers have told it they don’t want the short term rush and hysteria of a Black Friday sale. So instead, it is going to invest the £26m it will save across the seasonal shopping period (although I can’t help thinking that Asda bosses might also be wanting to avoid a repeat of the panic and brawling that accompanied last year’s Black Friday promotions).
Either way the announcement has been widely covered by the press and broadcast media today. And I think it has generally been spun as a positive PR move that positions Asda above its competitors who are still slugging it out in the Black Friday bun fight.