Superstition can be silly, or even irrational, but the fear of the number 13 (or triskaidekaphobia), affects more people than you might think. More than 80% of high-rise buildings lack a 13th floor, some hospitals don’t have a 13th room and many airports avoid the 13th gate. But even if you think superstition is nothing to fear– think again. Whether it’s a casino or a grocery store, businesses generally see a massive decline in sales on Friday the 13th. It’s estimated that around $700-800 million in revenue is lost every on these days. Now that’s scary!
This year, we’re going to be observing THREE of these unlucky days in February, March and November. Instead of falling for superstition, embrace it with these clever advertising ideas.
Advertise good luck charms.
Many great athletes carry lucky charms or perform rituals before every game. Some have a lucky pair of (unwashed) socks or a hat they need to wear. Others might need to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before every game or they believe they’ll be setting themselves up for failure. Sports equipment stores can use these superstitions by advertising a deal for anyone who admits they have a lucky charm or ritual on social media. They can even offer deals on charms for those who haven’t found their luck.
Retail stores can also promote deals like “Buy-one-get-one for a lucky penny.” They can also try doing “lucky penny deals” for items that have trouble selling. Find those hard-to-sell items or discontinued products and advertise them as costing one penny. This makes it like a treasure hunt for those who are looking for a deal and also encourages other sales as customers search for these items.
Spread the word about black cats.
Animal shelters can encourage animal-lovers to ditch the black cat superstition by advertising black cat adoption on Friday the 13th. Any other day of the year is difficult for black cat adoptions because they’re often viewed as a bad omen. Sadly, they’re the ones most often left without a home at animal shelters. Try using a tagline like, “Make Their Friday the 13th Lucky!” while advertising positive facts about black cats. But don’t forget about our other black furry friends! Try offering deals on all black-fur animals as well since black cats aren’t the only ones who are left behind.
In addition, shelters can team up with pet grooming facilities to give a free pet grooming per adoption. Or, they can provide dog and cat grooming for $13 off for regular customers.
Try an “everybody wins” giveaway.
Businesses can offer 13 “grand” prizes in an online/social media giveaway, while making it possible for everyone to be winners– even on Friday the 13th. In addition to the grand prizes, businesses can offer coupon deals or small freebies to those who entered the giveaway. Since many may be reluctant to try their luck in a luck-of-the-draw contest, offering something to anyone who participates will be more reassuring.
Promote with clover deals.
Book stores and libraries can hop on board for Friday the 13th deals by creating a fun way to entice shoppers and book borrowers. Businesses can hide paper four-leaf clovers into a random selection of books at a particular book display. For those who are lucky enough to find a clover in the book they are purchasing, or simply leafing through, they can use it to get 13% off of a book or turn it in for a small prize. This drives the tradition of pressing four-leaf clovers in books for safe keeping. This could also be a great idea for St. Patrick’s Day!
There are plenty of opportunities for businesses to advertise for Friday the 13th. Although this day usually has the least amount of sales, businesses can use creative ways to encourage the more superstitious (and even the least superstitious) customers to check out their store. If you’re the more superstitious one, don’t create your own bad luck by missing out on some great selling opportunities!