Has Red Wing created a new standard for Labor Day promotions?

Discussion
Photo: Red Wing Shoes; Source: Red Wing #LaborDayOn Social Media Kit
Sep 02, 2020
George Anderson

The Red Wing Shoe Co. announced yesterday that it is running a different kind of Labor Day promotion this year. Instead of offering sales discounts on its boots, the 115-plus-year shoe manufacturer and retailer said it will do its part to help unemployed Americans get back to work by promoting job opportunities within its organization and at other businesses that wish to join it.

Red Wing took an ad out in yesterday’s New York Times calling on others to join in the #LaborDayOn movement by posting all job openings they have on September 7. Today, more than 25 million Americans find themselves out of work largely as the result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The shoe company, which presently has 80 openings, will post job boards with available positions at its 525 stores across the country, as well as other businesses. It will also turn its customer service line (800-RED-WING) into a job search hotline on Labor Day to offer free guidance and help connect those looking for work to open positions.

Red Wing has posted a spot promoting #LaborDayOn on its site and on social media channels. It is calling on other companies to use the #LaborDayOn hashtag “to help Americans the one thing they need most — jobs.”

Has Red Wing created a new standard for Labor Day promotions?
Photo: Red Wing Shoes; Source: Red Wing #LaborDayOn Social Media Kit

“Our hope is to start a movement and leverage our own channels to highlight these jobs and help Americans end Labor Day on a high note — with a new job to celebrate,” Dave Schneider, the brand’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “But we know as one brand we can’t do it alone. That’s why we are calling on brands across the country to join us on reclaiming Labor Day for the workers of this country. And right now, that means helping as many Americans as we can get back to work.”

In an interview with Twin Cities Business, Mr. Schneider said that #LaborDayOn could be a one and done promotion, but that he sees the potential for it to mirror Small Business Saturday, an American Express program that grew into a national annual event.

Companies that have joined Red Wing for #LaborDayOn include General Mills, Land ‘O Lakes, Johnsonville, Marvin, Michaels Foods, Sleep Number and Toro.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Red Wing Shoes’ #LaborDayOn initiative elevate the brand and its sales in the U.S.? Do you think Red Wing’s promotion will prompt other retailers to reevaluate how they approach Labor Day?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Any retailer can run a sale on Labor Day, and most will, but taking action to help Americans get back to work trumps 20 percent off every time. "
"What a great message by Red Wing Shoes! It should inspire other businesses to follow in a demonstration of public leadership that is so desperately needed today."
"I love this! It fits with what the brand has always represented – working boots for working people."

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19 Comments on "Has Red Wing created a new standard for Labor Day promotions?"


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Ryan Grogman
BrainTrust

I think this is a great idea by Red Wing and I applaud the concept. Labor Day originated as a way to celebrate the contributions and achievements of American workers but, over the years, it has become more known for retail sales and as a Monday off for most non-essential workers. With unemployment rates so high, a “promotion” which seeks to highlight job openings is not only helpful to American laborers, but on-brand with Red Wing’s hard working image. I do not believe this will drive much of a spike in Red Wing’s sales, but it certainly elevates the brand. And given some of the other retailers who are already joining in, I suspect this may be a way for the retail industry to drive awareness towards finding employment as opposed to another promotional weekend sandwiched between back-to-school tax-free sales and pre-holiday sales.

Scott Norris
Guest

In the Before Times, a common discussion thread on these boards was how the lack of qualified staff was materially impacting sales in many different sectors. The fundamentals haven’t changed — if anything COVID has proven how necessary it is for a company to have a strong team. It won’t build sales that weekend, but it’s essential for building sales over the long haul. Proud that Red Wing is a Minnesota company!

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

This is a great program! A great example for other businesses.

David Naumann
BrainTrust
David Naumann
CEO and President, Cogent Creative Consulting
2 months 29 days ago

Red Wing Shoes’ #LaborDayOn initiative is a smart strategy to not only help unemployed consumers but, additionally, to raise awareness about the unfortunate 25 million unemployed Americans. With all the other bad news on a daily basis, sometimes people forget about the plight of the unemployed. Hopefully this will propel other efforts beyond Labor Day to help the unemployed.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Any retailer can run a sale on Labor Day, and most will, but taking action to help Americans get back to work trumps 20 percent off every time.

Is this event self-serving? Maybe, because Red Wing has a lot of positions to fill, but calling on other brands to reclaim Labor Day and do the same is not. It’s about time our national holidays become known for more than deep discounts. #LaborDayOn

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Only 20 percent? There is no comparison of running this as a promotion to what every other retailer will do. Maybe, just maybe, only a handful of people will get jobs. But even if it is a handful (I believe it will be much more), it is worth more than all the possible shoe sales that could be generated.

Georganne, let’s give them 100 percent or more.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

I said that helping Americans get back to work trumps 20 percent off every time – as in a 20 percent off sale. I’m with you on the 100 percent.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

My misreading — but it got us in the very same place. BRAVO!

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Thanks, Gene!

Suresh Chaganti
BrainTrust

This is really thoughtful of Red Wing Shoes. It also speaks to their core constituency – wearers of industrial safety and work shoes – so it makes eminent business sense as well. It will bring a ton of good will.

But each brand has to decide for itself what is meaningful and thoughtful. Such messaging and such a cause do not fit for every brand. That’s where the risk of coming across inauthentic for brands trying to do things like this is high.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

I think this is a great idea. Red Wing is betting that expressing their social conscience will increase brand awareness and translate to an inspired workforce and elevated brand awareness/passion, and that will translate to sales. Out of the box thinking that other retailers should emulate.

Ben Ball
BrainTrust

I’m not sure how many pairs of boots this will sell — but it’s a positive message that people want to hear. Lots of folks need help of all sorts right now, from COVID-19 to Hurricane Laura to California wildfires, you don’t have to look far to find people in need and brands that step up in any fashion are appreciated by consumers beyond just those getting the aid. But for many of those folks the aid they want most is a job so they don’t continue to require other sorts through no fault of their own. Manufacturers and retailers who publicize their job availability should earn deserved goodwill from consumers. Good move.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

I love this! It fits with what the brand has always represented – working boots for working people.

Zel Bianco
BrainTrust

Retailers can and should do both. Those that are seen as helping Americans get back to work should be rewarded by purchasing their products. Another area where corporate America must take action given our lack of federal leadership.

Kathleen Fischer
BrainTrust

What a great idea and an appropriate way to recognize Labor Day! I hope other retailers will follow in Red Wing Shoes’ footsteps.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust
Ricardo Belmar
Retail Transformation Thought Leader
2 months 29 days ago

What a great message by Red Wing Shoes! It should inspire other businesses to follow in a demonstration of public leadership that is so desperately needed today. From a PR perspective, sure, it also helps promote a positive image for Red Wing Shoes but, more importantly, shows they understand they have a place in their customers’ and (future) employees’ lives that matters.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

This is a generous move. I have always said that no company stands so tall as when it stoops to help a person in need. Will this help sales? Not in the short term. Do I think that they think it will? Also no. But as a positioning move in a market — yes, this will help big time.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

If I understand the brand correctly, Red Wing specializes (or at least “-izED”) in “working man’s shoes, so Labor Day seems like a natural fit — no pun intended — for this. And certainly the thought is laudatory.

That having been said, I’m not sure how the mechanics of this work: don’t most companies maintain job boards that list positions 24/7? So what will companies be doing that they don’t do every day already?

Brett Busconi
Guest

This is good stuff — and I hope that they do get some wins from this out of some additional sales. Others will join, I am sure.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Any retailer can run a sale on Labor Day, and most will, but taking action to help Americans get back to work trumps 20 percent off every time. "
"What a great message by Red Wing Shoes! It should inspire other businesses to follow in a demonstration of public leadership that is so desperately needed today."
"I love this! It fits with what the brand has always represented – working boots for working people."

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