What is Blue Monday?
Around 15 years ago, a psychologist at Cardiff University was creating a formula, which was sneakily in partnership with Sky Travel, to uncover when people are most likely to book a holiday. They concluded that the gloomier they felt, the more likely they were to book a flight to somewhere sunny.
From what was essentially a PR stunt, the third Monday of January was officially dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ aka the most depressing day of the year. Nowadays, companies and brands all over the world target Blue Monday for their social media and marketing campaigns in a month when the magic of Christmas is quickly fading, and the January Blues are ever looming.
Should brands target Blue Monday? And how?
Many brands use Blue Monday purely for financial gain. It’s one of those days where your emails shoot through the roof and your inbox is full of one-day-only promotion codes and special deals.
In recent years, Pretty Little Thing launched their ‘Don’t Be Blue, We Got You’ campaign giving their customers 20% off everything on their site. Similarly, Glossy Box offered 40% off their beauty subscription service with their Blue Monday code.
Many huge household names see the importance of what this day stands for and use it to spread positivity. It has the potential to provide some much-needed commercial sunshine in winter, to distract from the post-Christmas lull.
If promoted well and in the correct manner, so that people feel that they are actually benefitting from what’s on offer, then why not target Blue Monday? Here are some examples of past successful marketing campaigns aiming to spread cheer and turn that frown upside down!
- O2 Music asked their customers to tweet songs with the word ‘blue’ in their title. Five winners were selected and awarded free gig tickets!
- easyJet decided to opt for a different but simple approach by using its famous, bright colour scheme to convert Blue Monday into ‘Orange Monday’. They launched a social media competition with the prize being two free return tickets to Europe
- Tesco wanted to show its support and given the UK’s obesity crisis, opted to promote healthy eating by creating ‘Blueberry Monday’. Free fruit was given out in-store and Blueberry Smoothie Stations set up to provide complimentary fruit smoothies for their customers.
- In the past, Pret A Manger have expanded their existing ‘Make Someone Smile’ initiative by randomly adding special sleeves to takeaway coffees. 120,000 were handed out so that the recipient could pass the sleeve on to someone else who can then exchange it for a free hot drink. In the past, this campaign has seen great success with people taking to social media to express how this random act of kindness made their day.
- Companies such as Three turn to the power of social media to put a smile on our faces on this gloomy day:
- Some see the third Monday of January as the perfect opportunity to remind everyone about the importance of discussing the taboo subject of our mental health and to urge people to get help if needed. Charity Rethink ask people to support their ‘Bright Monday’ campaign by wearing their brightest piece of clothing to reverse the negativity associated with Blue Monday.
- In 2019, Staples opted to create a real-life experience, a unique initiative compared to all the above-mentioned campaigns. They set up a ‘pop-up happiness experience’ offering free food and drink, massages, doodle walls and cuddles with puppies to cheer office workers up in one of their London stores.
As you can see, there are loads of different ways that companies can spread cheer this coming Blue Monday, which some would say is more important than ever given the current lockdowns around the world, and there’s no doubt that marketing campaigns will have to adjust and adapt to target people differently this year.
The Samaritans rebranded Blue Monday to ‘Brew Monday’ after a survey by PG Tips highlighted that nine in 10 people who took part said that having a chat with someone over a cuppa would make them feel less lonely. However, this year, as we won’t be able to meet friends, family, or colleagues in person to do this, they are encouraging people to have virtual meetings and to turn them into fundraisers to raise money for the charity.
Whether it is just a PR stunt with no scientific data to prove that the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year or not, with Blue Monday just around the corner, we have the potential to really make a difference and put a smile on someone’s face. Whether it’s via giveaways, donating money to charity, offering support when someone needs a friend or arranging virtual fundraisers, this year more than ever, ‘Blue Monday’ will resonate with millions of people across the nation. Let’s use it to its full potential.
If you’re looking for an agency to help market yourself ahead of Blue Monday, or anything else, check out our services page for more info.