Amazon's Annual Black Friday Campaign

A screenshot of today's homepage at, slightly edited for space

Once again this year we are being subjected to Amazon's Black Friday campaign.

Black what?

Black Monday has been used to refer to all sorts of events that happened to take place on Monday. Black Wednesday is used in Britain to refer to a Wednesday 16th September 1992 when the UK left the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (and may or may not have any meaning elsewhere). But what on Earth is Black Friday? Like most non-Americans, I had to look it up and like Black Monday it has been applied to many occasions but putting 2 and 2 together it seems that Amazon is referring to the Friday after Thanksgiving.

There's nothing wrong with Thanksgiving — it's a big event in the American calendar and, yes, OK, we can be snide and suggest they wait until Christmas like the rest of us, but really, so what — it brings happiness to a lot of people and that can only be good.

The irritating thing is Amazon's assumption that us non-Americans know what Black Friday is and that we care. Tomorrow is . It will be much like and here and so has no special meaning at all. Neither does this Friday. The only impact it has is that, for those of us with American colleagues, we'll get a lot of auto-responders.

Amazon is famously very good indeed at tailoring its messages to its customers (people who read John Major's autobiography also enjoyed 50 Shades of Grey and all that*). Surely they know which of their customers live in the US and which don't? Obviously, bargains are good — and I'd be tempted to do some shopping with Amazon this week if they called it 'pre-Christmas bargains' or something. But using a term that is highly specific to a single culture is marketing of the most amateurish kind and that is both disappointing and irritating.

Really Amazon, you can do better.

*I can't claim credit for this. It was a line used by Austin Mitchell, the long serving MP for Grimsby, when playing his part in laying into Amazon for legal but immoral tax avoidance in the House of Commons.