Car dealers and furniture stores seem to take advantage of Memorial Day, but I think most stores just look for any opportunity for a sale. It seems like most of the time the stores are the only ones honoring fallen heroes anyway, so I guess we should be glad someone is.
I too am a little jaded, but I do know that Memorial Day is a huge day for many retail businesses, especially those that deal in summer products. So my guess is that the most effective advertisements would combine patriotic images with those of summertime and leisure. I have certainly seen a great deal of local promotions at stores, car dealers, and other businesses.
In what might have been a play on the idea of memories-as-memorial, Michael's Arts and Crafts Supply Store ran a coupon that offered a discount on all frames and art display merchandise.
I don't know exactly how effective the offer was. I did buy some art display merchandise and used the coupon, but I was going to get the same stuff anyway.
I saw many ads that played on patriotism and service while displaying their company's committment to honoring the service of those who paid the ulitmate sacrifice for our freedom. To me, some of it seem a little contrived, but I tend to be a little jaded sometimes. Lots of red, white, and blue.