Tax Day Is the New Black Friday

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Manuel Martinez (R) and Jose, both dressed like the Statue of Liberty, wave signs advertising the Liberty Tax preparation business in Denver February 14, 2015. Tax season is in full swing in the U.S. with federal tax returns due to be filed April 15th. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY BUSINESS) --- Image by ? RICK WILKING/Reuters/Corbis
Manuel Martinez (R) and Jose, both dressed like the Statue of Liberty, wave signs advertising the Liberty Tax preparation business in Denver February 14, 2015. Tax season is in full swing in the U.S. with federal tax returns due to be filed April 15th. Photo: Rick Wilking/Reuters/Corbis

It’s Tax Day, and brands want to share your pain. And by share your pain, I mean sell you nachos. 

At the various Hard Rock Cafes, the deal is called “Sing for Your Supper,” and it entails getting up onstage for some karaoke in exchange for a burger. It’s an “enjoyable way for the brand to give back to our guests and help ease the burden of Tax Day,” said John Galloway, the brand’s chief marketing officer. At Pizza Hut, it’s an event called the National Pizza Return: fill out and mail in a “P-2” form and win some gift cards. At California Tortilla, say “taxes shmaxes” to a cashier and get some free chips and queso. “We’re chipping in on tax day!” the inevitable tagline goes. And on and on: Cinnabon, Boston Market, Staples, Bruegger’s, Carrabba’s, Outback, Sonic, Bonefish Grill, Schlotzsky’s, Hooters, McDonald’s, Olive Garden, and a number of other companies are running promotions. 

They’re also marketing them heavily on social media, where in general #brands have gone crazy for #taxday. Here’s Pizza Hut trying, and failing, to make us forget about the inevitability of death: 

Hooters is appealing to the libertarian-creepster market segment: 

I have no idea what is going on in this Snickers advertisement:

Businesses offering deals on tax day is not a new thing, granted. But the attempt to make it a full-on, fake-holiday, retail-and-marketing bonanza is. (See also “Cyber Monday.”) But tax filers, beware. Many of these deals come from perma-discounters, the kinds of chain businesses that are always running one promotion or another and are always looking for a new hook to get bodies in seats and carts in aisles. If you’re lucky enough to have gotten a refund, spend your pennies where you want.