People Really Do Give Cars With Giant Red Bows On Top As Gifts

I spent the Thanksgiving holiday visiting family and watching network television in real time like it was 1983 or something, and that’s when it hit me. The barrage of holiday-themed car commercials where people give each other sedans, SUVs, and the occasional truck with a giant (inevitably red) bow on top. Does this ever happen in real life? It does.

Bloomberg Businessweek looked into this question, which really has two parts. First: do people give cars as gifts for the winter holidays and other special occasions? Second: do they buy giant red bows in real life? A representative from a company that sells giant bows for all purposes was able to answer both questions, reporting that they sell about 2,500 bows for cars every year. Sales increase around graduation time, Valentine’s Day, and of course Christmas. What’s interesting is that they only sell about half of those bows directly to consumers: it makes sense that dealerships buy the other half, and include them with home delivery of vehicles meant to be gifts.

Of course, the real reason for the barrage of car ads at the end of the year doesn’t have much to do with gift-giving at all: while Christmas and the end of the year give the ads a nice theme, manufacturers and dealers really just want to move the last of the previous model year of cars off their lots and into your driveway.

A Car for Christmas? It Really Happens, With a Bow on Top [Bloomberg Businessweek]