SilverDisc Blog

13th May 2016

How does Friday 13th affect marketing?

For the superstitious amongst us, Friday 13th is a day that’s bound to bring bad luck.  Although the origin of this is a little unclear, it’s become a recognised date in the calendar. As is the case with most of my blogs, how does this cultural superstition affect human behaviour - and more specifically the world of marketing? 

Interestingly it seems Friday 13th isn’t only for avoiding walking underneath ladders, or worrying about a black cat crossing your path - it’s been estimated that hundreds of millions of pounds are lost in business on Friday 13th – we assume because people are less likely to take the plunge on a purchase when they’re feeling little more uncertain than usual. When you look at it this way, Friday 13th really is unlucky for businesses! But as with all problems, it also represents an opportunity and the chance to stand out from the crowd.

Over the past few years it has emerged that the cost of flying is cheaper on Friday 13th, as people are concerned about flying on the unluckiest day of the year! The fear, known as ‘Paraskevidekatriaphobia’ perhaps stems from the fear of the number 13. For some it’s actually a lucky number, but for many it represents the opposite. This has caused tall buildings to miss out a 13th floor, house numbers to skip past the number 13 and even hotel rooms not having a room 13 – all because of superstition.

Rather terrifyingly, Dr Caroline Watt, University of Edinburgh says that… “If people believe in the superstition of Friday the 13th then they believe they are in greater danger on that day. As a result they may be more anxious and distracted and this could lead to accidents. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

So, how on earth can we turn it around and make it a positive day for business instead?

How to take advantage of the next Friday 13th

  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Engage your audience on social media in a fun and unusual way
  • Diversify your marketing strategy

A great example is with Clarins, who turned an ‘unlucky’ day into a lucky one. Here they have created a ‘lucky’ promotion with free samples with all orders!


How about giving 13% off their purchase? Or even choose just 13 products to put on sale? Even just acknowledging it can make the difference, showing your ‘human side’ and that you’re not oblivious to the superstitions that might be affecting your customers.

But don’t worry, you have plenty of time to plan – the next ‘Friday 13th’ isn’t until January 2017!

For more tips on your marketing, or even a little advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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