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18th January 2019

Blue Monday – is it still fair game for marketers?


The year that Facebook and YouTube were in their infancy, Twitter was just a twinkle in Jack Dorsey’s eye, Bird Flu was everywhere and Tom Cruise jumped on a couch.

It’s also the year that holiday company, Sky Travel, issued a press release naming the third Monday of the month as “the most depressing day of the year”. They worked it out with an equation and everything.

Blue Monday was born and it’s been on quite a journey since then (it falls on Monday 21st January this year). But should marketers just see it as a one-off day of activity in their tactical year long plan or can the principles of Blue Monday be used as part of a wider approach?

The cynical view

Anyone planning a campaign around Blue Monday needs to be aware that it was born a meaningless marketing event and some believe it will likely die off that way too.

In fact, it’s often held up as the epitome of pointless “national days” which don’t actually resonate with consumers. Anyone who’s done a social media content calendar knows that there are hundreds of these – National Something on a Stick Day, anyone? Lima Bean Respect Day?

Even “established” calendar events like Black Friday, which retailers place a huge emphasis on each year, are increasingly leaving customers nonplussed.

But don’t be blue…

It might look like the nails are in Blue Monday’s coffin, but I do think there’s a lot to be said about a day dedicated to making your customers happier and ultimately increasing their consideration of your brand.

After all, customers don’t care that Gourmet Burger Kitchen giving out burgers is a marketing ploy. They got a free burger. They don’t care that easyJet only did “Orange Monday” to increase engagement rates. They got a free holiday. They couldn’t care less that Pret gave out hot drinks to increase sales. They got a free coffee.

Blue Monday is not only an opportunity to make your customers love you and keep you front of mind, in an increasingly competitive marketplace – in recent years it’s also taken on a more meaningful connotation in terms of mental health and self-care, for example Moonpig’s partnership with Mind.

But, crucially, what’s more important than calendar dates is spotting emerging trends in consumer mindsets and behavior. If you know your customers love self-care, don’t just give them a free bath bomb on January 21st, create a longer lasting campaign that makes them feel heard and gives them meaningful mindfulness content to share – include them in the conversation.

Blue Monday is a great opportunity to let customers and also your own staff know you’re thinking about them, but why not adopt the attitudes it embraces year-round to make them your proudest ambassadors?