Marketers have tried many ways to engage people’s spending habits around spring. One of the most interesting ones is spring cleaning, because although it’s a time when people are supposed to be decluttering and organizing, it has the potential to be that season when people spend a crazy amount of money at the home goods store. And double their landscapers’ schedule. And buy a new spring jacket. And all of that, as we marketers know, is not an accident…
Spring cleaning ads have found a perfect digital home on Pinterest, where brand-created pins are hardly discernible from #ad #sponsored blogger posts and non-sponsored list pins. A quick scan through “Spring Cleaning” results on Pinterest shows a dozen brands within the first few hundred results, including DSW and Stitchfix, Walmart and SunTrust, Livingly and Lonny.
Before Pinterest, though, brands did have to think a little harder about how to target their audiences — going local with newspaper inserts, direct to mailboxes with catalogs and leaflets, and national with commercial spots.
Examples of the spring-cleaning spin, from yesteryear to today
An obvious fit for spring cleaning at its most fundamental, household cleaning products have been advertising big since the early days of TV ads, when concepts could be straightforward and messaging simple. This vintage 1964 Spring Cleaning seasonal spot by Ajax features the classic clichéd housewife who’s “gotta scrub, gotta sweep” till her clothes are clean enough to… hang in the main streets. Also, there’s a prize giveaway, to win desirable merchandise like mops. Things really were simpler then.
Out with the old, in with the new — but don’t just throw all the old into the trash to become landfill! We have to give props to the National Waste and Recycling Association for its various consumer education initiatives, like “Begin With the Bin” campaign, a 2015 program in partnership with Keep America Beautiful. The microsite for the campaign is ready for recycling, but the idea, with its 10 easy steps, is enjoying an extended life on Pinterest, where everyone loves a practical and seasonal infographic.
Certain home features require a specialist’s expertise at the change of seasons. Specifically, HVAC contractors, pool maintenance companies, and lawn-care specialists are always in high demand at spring. Small contractors are not necessarily aggressive marketers, but they know they need to put in extra effort and even an ad spend to attract customers at this time. SEO-friendly content and advertising on places like HomeAdvisor now are tactics, as much as placing small ads and dropping leaflets on front doors used to be.
Some people get by just fine with a list on a notebook, or by recording notes to themselves on their phone. Others employ an entire arsenal of organization tools to help them manage their overcrowded schedules and goals. And then there are the people who do best with professional help. To serve all these personality types, there’s a booming “professional organization” niche that encompasses a plethora of online productivity tools, an Instagram community of artistic bullet journal aficionados, all sorts of virtual coaching services, and then all the Type-A experts who will actually come to your home and organize your life.
For people who aren’t sure what level of help they need, this article from Trulia provides expertise from the National Organization of Professional Organizers.
Spring cleaning is a term that automotive industry has adopted this term as a catchier way of saying it’s their end-of-the-quarter sale. They’re not quite ready to make room in the showroom for next year’s models – no, that won’t happen till fall. But there do tend to be great deals on offer, since sales figures are assessed quarterly and dealerships often need to hit steep goals. Hyundai plays up the Spring Cleaning angle quite heavily in its local spots – this one’s from a Texas dealership, but will sound familiar no matter where in the country you live.
Also see other seasonal campaign retrospectives:
- How Brands Warm Up to Valentine’s Day: Classic to… Um… Soggy Campaigns
- St. Patrick’s Day Marketing Traditions: Guinness to ‘Green Ice Cream in a Can’
- Brands Marketing at the Championship Level for March Madness
- Why Did Presidents Day Become More of a Marketing Thing?
- You Can’t Be Serious: An April Fools’ Prank Campaign Retrospective
- Let’s Flashback to Buzzed-About Super Bowl Commercials of the Past Decade