Jason Del Rey

Recent Posts by Jason Del Rey

Best Buy’s Risky Black Friday Twitter Campaign

Ah, Black Friday. There’s nothing like super-discounted TVs to bring out the worst in some American shoppers.

Case in point: The predictable TV news reports every year of Black Friday-related scuffles, or worse.

But this year, Best Buy is apparently extra-confident in the crowd-control processes it has in place. So confident, in fact, that the electronics retailer has purchased Twitter ads asking shoppers to create seven-second Vine videos while waiting in line on the big shopping day.

I asked Best Buy spokeswoman Amy von Walter about the chance of someone videoing a confrontation and using the #VineinLine hashtag to publicize it.

“We were out in the field at stores this past weekend doing Black Friday dress rehearsals,” she wrote. “I can tell you that Best Buy has a well-established and tested process to ensure customers have a smooth and safe Black Friday shopping experience. We have a formal ticketing and line process, which begins about two hours before the door busters and allows for an orderly and smooth entrance into the store for our customers.”

I told her it still seemed dicey — a high-risk, low-reward campaign. She didn’t agree.

“We know our customers are excited to be out doing their holiday shopping, so this is a fun way for them to share the experience with friends and others via social,” she said.

Even if Best Buy does avoid recordings of not-so-nice shopper behavior, the bigger risk may end up being that footage of people waiting in line sounds just a tad bit boring.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald