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Ads With Benefits
By: Briskman Stanfield
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Advertisers...what will they think of next? Plenty! No longer are special events once-a-year, awaited happenings. During times of "we will bend over backwards for your business,” consumers are lavished with ad attention. These days they are accommodated, wined, dined, gifted, instructed, and entertained, at (little or) no extra charge because it is profitably better business to give in order to receive.

For starters, on the free-beauty scene, the Shiseido counter at Bloomingdale’s NY had make-overs with psychic readings from Kim Allen to enable customers to find their true "life colors." And various Sephora locations were celebrating the Bliss product line by giving away indulgent skin treatments and beauty swag.
Exercise enthusiasts got physical and socialized with coached group runs sponsored by Athleta, which were held in Central Park with encouragement for Halloween costumes, healthful trick-or-treat bag handouts, and a private post-run reception.
These days, involvement is the come-hither way of building a good selling image. It's often combined and accomplished through educating video tutorials, emails, social media, or in-store classes, something Lululemon practices.
This spirited venture, founded in 1998 Vancouver, BC, is a trendy growing business. It's not just uniquely recognizable (to the hip) for the symbolic logo on unique, functional, performance-wear fashions, but also for the mindful lifestyle shared with consumers, especially the (gratis) yoga classes (proving that lulu merchandise is irresistibly gorgeous at any angle, even downward dog).
Gifts with purchases are also shifting the old advertising approach toward one with more generosity. Costco wants to make Thanksgiving so easy that they not only offer a hefty discount on bountiful "dinners for eight" in a box, delivered right to the customer’s door (in plenty of time for thawing), but they throw in a $20 gift card (to be used at the customer’s discretion...but they do suggest rolls and wine to complete the holiday dinner).
When certain cosmetic lines (i.e. Clinique, for one) who would never budge the gift rules are now giving customers personal choices as in "have it your (McDonald’s) way...in product/s and color selection," it’s a shout-out that retail ad times are a-changing.
Yet the surprises in advertising ain’t over until Black Friday begins, a date that comes earlier this year for two stores…so far. That’s right; Target and Macy’s plan to jumpstart the season at midnight following families' Thanksgiving feast.    
Take a look. Retail signs of creative, desperate ad measures are everywhere. Bottom line? Time is money, and during the business holidays that’s all (that counts), folks.

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About the Author

Briskman Stanfield is a freelance copywriter and all-around, behind-the-scenes team player.

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