Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

How to Get Your Product in a Magazine’s Holiday Gift Guide

Monday, March 31st, 2014

How to Get Your Product in a Magazine’s Holiday Gift Guide Ellis Friedman Colleen Flood BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas PRSANY Meet the MediaHow can you pitch magazine editors to get your product in their yearly holiday gift guide? Being featured can not only give product sales a boost, but it can elevate your brand as well. But in-book gift guides are shrinking, meaning fewer slots overall, and each publication has different themes and price points, narrowing the field significantly.

Last week our VP of Agency Relations, Colleen Flood, attended PRSA-NY’s Meet the Media: Holiday Gift Guide Editors , where five panelists, all magazine editors, gave their input on how to make the cut in their 2014 gift guides, as well as general tips for pitching them year-round. Colleen brought back useful, detailed information that the editors shared during the panel.

The event’s moderator was Nicole Chismar, account supervisor of Media Relations at MSL Group. The evening’s five panelists were:

Allyson Dickman, associate lifestyle editor at Every Day with Rachael Ray

Caylin Harris, associate lifestyle editor at Parents

Irene Chang Kwon, associate editor at Working Mother

Catherine Peridis, fashion editor at Natural Health/Fit Pregnancy

Jessica Torres, beauty and lifestyle editor at Siempre Mujer

All the editors agreed that color scheme is a decision-making factor, and it helps if your product stands out or fits in with the scheme. Items should fall within the publication’s price specifications, and if it’s not a luxury magazine, they cap may be $100.

The product should also be nationally available, and when the product is shared with the media, it should look exactly how it will look when it’s on shelves. Know what types of gifts the publication features. Finally, submit early; most gift guides are finalized by early September.

Here are some of the publication-specific tips from the editorial panel.

Start early and know the theme

Torres explained that the Siempre Mujer gift guide encompasses gifts for him, her, home and kids. Siempre Mujer starts their holiday guide in July, does a run-through in mid-August, and closes in early September. (The magazine also does annual gift guides for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.)

Natural Health starts looking for gift guide items in June. At Working Mother, they start looking in July and wrap it up by the beginning of September. It’s a five-page guide that will be a mix of products for everyone, but the magazine strives to simplify the working mom’s shopping list and can include housewares, toys, and fashion products.

Parents and Everyday with Rachael Ray start looking for gift guide items in May. At Parents, Harris says they’ll call in samples in July and final submissions are due in the first week of August. Last year the six-page gift guide was organized by price. But Parents’ guide does not include gifts for children – it’s a gift guide for everyone else.

At Everyday with Rachael Ray, Dickman says it’s a four- to six-page guide, and final submissions are due by the first week of August. She says the guide is not gifts for parenting or kids, and it’s best to pitch by the sections in their magazines.

Know the criteria

At Siempre Mujer, products featured in the gift guide must be in the $5 to $500 price range. Since Hispanic culture also has King’s Day (also known as Epiphany or Dia de los Reyes), items can also be applicable for that holiday. But keep in mind that if your gift guide submission is anything written (like a book) or a movie, it must be in Spanish.

Natural Health loves charitable gifts and experiences tied to a gift. Kwon says that at Working Mother, gifts in the guide must make financial sense. At Parents, editors try to keep prices reasonable, and ask themselves how much a reader would realistically spend on a gift. They like products that look expensive, says Harris, and no gift cards or experiences.

At Everyday with Rachael Ray, budget is very important; the cap is $100, and Dickman says most gifts fall under $50. The gifts must be sophisticated but fun, and fit in with Ray’s personality.

Get picked

Editors from Rachael Ray trend spot at events, and constantly have their eyes and ears out looking for products to feature. Harris says that at Parents press kits accompanying products are incredibly important, and it helps your chances if the editors have product info readily available. Working Mother finds most of their products at events, and at Siempre Mujer, Torres says about 90 percent of their products come from pitches or look books, though the occasionally seek out products themselves.

Pitching tips

Siempre Mujer prefers deskside pitches with hi-res images, and Torres says she’s more likely to remember someone if she speaks with them in person. Fit Pregnancy/Natural Health prefers email pitches with all pertinent information, like images and cost, included in the email. Working Mother prefers both email and deskside pitches, as does Parents, though Harris says not to call. Rachael Ray will only do a deskside if there’s an actual product brought in – not a USB, as those get lost – and if the pitch is emailed, it must include a picture.

Christmas Tunes, an intentional time warp or just merry messages from yesterday’s Golden age of Radio and TV?

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

I can’t remember where I heard this season’s “first” Christmas pop song. But like hearing the first birds of spring, suddenly there it was blaring from some outdoor mall or airport …and before the World Series was even over! So why is it that songs about a reindeer’s red nose, silver bells, or a dream of a white Christmas fill our ears year after year (whether we like it or not)? I love these songs and I have fond memories of these songs as a kid. I’d just prefer to remember them from a time where I was butchering them in a school play or caroling door to door, rather than hearing them in these public places.

Christmas classics like Drummer BoyRudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Silver Bells, and Blue Christmas have been playing in retail stores, gas stations, hotel lobbies and over the radio waves for more than 60 years. Recently, these songs and many other holiday pop classics were highlighted in a popular web comic strip XKCD. The illustration points out that many of these songs, as well as other Christmas blue chip classics, were published and recorded around the 1940s and 1950s. Hint, it’s the baby boomers that we have to thank for keeping these songs in the mainstream for so many years.

Eric Harvey, a PhD candidate in Indiana University’s Department of Communication and Culture claims during a very specific time in American history (1940s and 1950s), culture and technology played a big role in the release of many of these holiday classics. During that time millions of young baby boomers were enjoying holiday films like Bob Hope’s the Lemon Drop Kid which gave us Silver Bells, and Bing Crosby’s Holiday Inn where he famously croons as a WWII soldier returning home with “I’ll be home for Christmas.” In the late 40s radio began to converge with TV and it was commonplace for families to be huddled around their living rooms enjoying holiday musicals, the songs forever etching memories of Christmas past in their minds.

With over 76 million babies born between 1945 and 1964 (who today make up more than half of all consumer spending in the US), it’s no surprise these songs are being used intentionally by retailers to recreate Christmas past and market to today’s multigenerational audiences – hopefully stimulating spending around the holiday season.

Harvey also points out, however, that “While it’s true that the majority of Christmas pop music played on mainstream radio stations was originally published and recorded in the 1940s and 50s, and naturally the culture of that time will permeate these songs, that does not directly equate to a modern nostalgia for that era.” In other words, what if you’re not a baby boomer? What if you didn’t see the movies, the TV show or are just too young to identify with these songs?

With the sheer repetition of these songs being played during today’s stressful holiday seasons, will these songs eventually condition us to equate them with long lines, holiday traffic or the dreaded visit from you’re annoying brother-in law? Very doubtful. After all, every generation has their favorite Christmas songs, and with today’s limitless choices and devices to hear them, it’s sure to be a Rockin’ Holiday Season for all generations! My personal favorites are Father Christmas by The Kinks, Greg Lake’s Do You Believe in Father Christmas? and Joan Jett’s Little Drummer Boy. What are yours?

Happy Holidays from all of us here at BurrellesLuce!!

Crazy Target Lady: Seasonal Campaign Brands Memorable Spokesperson

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Andrea Corbo*

Whether or not you’ve been trying to ignore the over-abundance of holiday sale commercials — if you’ve watched any TV in the last few weeks, you’ve surely noticed that the famous Crazy Target Lady is back again. Who am I talking about? The over-enthusiastic, fictional shopper who performs extreme measures to take full advantage of Target sales. With funny quotes like, “The Target 2-Day sale is almost here. The last thing that’s gonna stop me is weak thighs,” you’ve surely taken notice.

With so many holiday sale commercials in existence, it’s quite an accomplishment to create a campaign that can stick out in the mind of viewers, be remembered, and get people talking about your brand and purchasing your products.

Nearly every commercial we’ll see in the next month will be winter and holiday related, but does that really help guide us to shop for that brand? Or is that something we consumers have come to expect from the brands we already loyally shop? Perhaps just the idea of snow, family, and presents is supposed to drive the typical consumer toward the nearest mall? Whatever the recipe for holiday marketing, Target is making a lasting impression of its name with this series of commercials from Wieden + Kennedy, a full service integrated advertising agency.

Branding a memorable spokesperson, however fictitious she may be, is something that viewers can recall each year and, in fact, many do love that crazy Target lady. If a viewer is a fan of the comedic commercial series, this may again contribute to brand loyalty. Despite the fact that the commercials don’t exactly highlight any specific products, you’re still reminded of the Target brand itself along with the fact that you may need to do some shopping.

Personally, I don’t usually watch commercials because I fast forward through them. However, there has been such hype about the Crazy Target Lady by word-of-mouth that I’ve now stopped to take notice. People are talking online and offline which means the branding is working.

What other brands have created a seasonal campaign that you can clearly and successfully identify? Are there commercials you talk about with friends and family? Are there ads that have made you take action?


Bio: After receiving a B.A. in communications, and briefly working at a TV production studio, Andrea began volunteering abroad. This lead her to work in the non-profit world, where she was fortunate enough to learn about international education, women’s empowerment and social issues for the elderly, while traveling to over a dozen countries.  Since joining BurrellesLuce in 2011, Andrea is excited to share her thoughts and views on branding, social media, and communications with the growing Fresh Ideas audience, as well as her passion for cultural awareness, volunteerism, and sustainable efforts. Twitter: @AndreaCorbo; Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: BurrellesLuce 

How to Use Social Media to Save on Holiday Gifts

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

by Ruth Mesfun*

I love the holiday season! During the month of December, I revert to a nine year old, anticipating the slew of holiday traditions upon us. First, my family assembles the fake pine-like tree in our living room. (Well, my father assembles the tree while I read the directions.) Then, my siblings and I decorate it until it looks like a personalized Santa’s beacon with every light blinking.

One of my favorite parts of the holiday is gift-giving. However this year it seems like more of a financial burden than fun. Brands seem to understand this and are incorporating humor into social media holiday campaigns. Old Spice and its MANta Claus One Man, Seven Billion Gifts campaign is one example.


While a far cry from seven billion gifts, here is how I am using social and online media to spread a little holiday cheer while spending only $43 on presents for four family members, three awesome friends, two roommates, and one cat.

1.       Craigslist. I love Craigslist for vintage and technology. I found a quality, fully-functional vintage record player for free. It just needed a little TLC, and my father (whose record player broke) would love this. ($200 value). I also received 30 vinyl records, which I am giving half to my dad and the other half to my roommate who equally loves vinyl – potentially saving $20 on gift for said roommate.

Remember to check if it works before paying and to ensure the seller is legit. Also, make sure you know what your receiver wants. There is no use getting something for free if no one wants or needs it.

Spent: $0

2.       Groupon. I love Groupon for trips, beauty/spa deals, events, and classes. But we all know how addicting Groupon was when we first signed up and started buying all those Groupons that we thought we would use, but probably won’t. Now we can put them to good use. I have six random Groupons from a day spa to belly dancing. I am giving a Groupon to my sister, mom, and two of my friends. ($800 value).

Again, before giving random Groupons to people (unless you don’t care and will never see them again) make sure you know they will actually like the gift.

Spent: $0

3.       Marshalls. Marshalls is great to buy name brand for less. I bought an adorable jewelry box set for my other roommate and a mouse toy for the cat. 

Spent: $10

4.       eBay. I bought a miniature doll tea set for my best friend who loves all things miniature. eBay is a smorgasbord, if you know what you want this site is loaded with deals.  

Spent: $10

5.       Barnes and Noble. I love my brother and he loves Legos. So, with my sister’s help we split the difference for the LEGO 2011 Architecture White House and received a 10 percent  discount because I am a member.  

Spent: $23

The best part is that my friends and family are getting something that they always wanted.

What other ways have you used social and online media to saved money or to promote your products and services during the holidays?


Bio: Before joining the BurrellesLuce team in 2011, as social media specialist, Ruth worked as a marketing assistant in a kitchen design firm and, later interned with Turner Public Relations. She holds a BA in Economics with a minor degree in International Relations from Rowan University. In addition to economics, education, and finance – Ruth is passionate about understanding the business implications of social media, including how it can be used to increase ROI, find and maintain a career, and create a business. Connect with her on Twitter: @RuthMesfun LinkedIn: Ruth Mesfun Facebook: BurrellesLuce