Prime Day or Black Friday: What provides the best PR value?

Amazon has launched ‘Prime Day’ offers for the second year today (Tuesday), and, as shoppers scope out the best deals among its ranges of tech devices, clothing, health, beauty and toys, Gorkana asks PR pros, what provides better PR value – the e-tailer’s Prime Day or the more widely used concept of Black Friday?

Both retail events see retailers claim to offer mass discounts across brands, products and services for a short period of time in the year – a trend which PRs have kept their eye on.

Prime Day is a 24-hour sale with thousands of reductions worldwide for subscribers of the Amazon ‘Prime’ service. Although the event is reserved for subscribers, the online store has said that non-paying members can sign up for a 30-day free trial for the event.

Also, it takes place a few months before Black Friday, which is a day where a wider range of retailers slash prices for a weekend in November just before Christmas. Black Friday first came to  the UK from the US in 2010.

In terms of PR, do both events work for the brands taking part? Gorkana asks comms pros from W, Champion Communications and Punch Communications where opportunity lies with the two events and which of them provides better PR value?

Adam Leigh, strategy director, W Communications

“The natural answer would probably be Black Friday, because it’s simple, universal and well understood. It’s become something that everyone feels they can participate in, and consumers clearly respond to, while Prime Day, aimed at a small percentage of Amazon customers, is by definition a more exclusive proposition.

“Having said that, the fact that Amazon is such a polarising brand means a brilliant subversive idea from a brand, campaign group or even a charity could turn the tables and generate huge traction. Everyone can take part in Black Friday, and the principle is really simple. The challenge is that it’s a crowded space, with so many brands trying to engage consumers, so it can be difficult to stand out.”

Richard Cook, MD, Champion Communications

“From a B2B PR perspective, Black Friday is more versatile than Prime Day as more businesses are affected by it. The online shopping frenzy in December creates problems and opportunities to highlight (them) relating to every part of the online retail eco-system. Brands that have a genuine perspective on these can initiate or join the discussion – sharing their insight on how to make the most of Black Friday opportunities.

“Prime Day is less competitive from a PR point of view, but it’s really only about what people can buy from Amazon. It may be a great opportunity for brands to announce special offers in a race to the bottom to celebrate Prime Day, but the whole thing feels much more contrived. Whereas Black Friday is a phenomenon created by consumer behaviour, so feels more credible.”

Philip Keightley, head of PR & Social, Punch Communications

“Black Friday, Prime Day and similar flash sales are not sophisticated in a messaging sense – the primary DNA being heavy discounts, high speed and mass fervour for a deal. As such, complex brand messages simply won’t cut through the noise and in some cases, the decision for brands to participate will be the result of commerciality being put before brand equity.”

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