3 wicked examples of original Black Friday marketing campaigns

 What’s this? A post about Black Friday…in September?! Yes indeedy. Writers will be starting to think about marketing campaign collateral for the big day already (hell, I’m writing Christmas copy as we speak!).

The challenge to come up with something new and original is tough—not only do you have to differentiate this year’s campaign from all your historical efforts, you also need to make sure you’re not stepping on anyone else’s toes. Not only that, but pushing a mundane, half-assed discount isn’t enough to make you stand out. If you don’t stand out, you don’t get the market share.

To help you find fresh inspiration and avoid those dreaded clichés, I’ve pulled together some banging examples of original campaigns and how you can use the same techniques to inject a new lease of life into this year’s effort.

1. Patagonia
Taking the charitable high-road

We’ve talked before about how Millennial consumers are all about an ethical brand. They work on the theory that they ‘have’ to put their money somewhere, so they may as well make a difference while they do it.

Outdoor wear company, Patagonia, nailed it in 2016 by promising to donate 100% of its BF sales to an environmental charity. As a brand specialising in outdoor wear, this is perfectly on-brand for them, as well as being a ‘feel good’ gesture at a time of year that coincides with our most charitable public holidays—Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It’s not even sales suicide, either. You think people aren’t buying outdoor coats in November? Because they sure as hell are. Patagonia knows they have the seasonal edge and they’re using it for a good cause. It worked, too—they raked in $10 million in BF sales.

2. Cards Against Humanity
Choosing branding over sales

When confronted with the annual scrabble for BFCM sales, brand values are all too easily shoved to the side to make room for a soulless, samey marketing campaign.

So why not take a leaf out of Cards Against Humanity‘s (filthy) book? Back in 2013, the NSFW card game company took a totally on-brand approach to Black Friday and raised their prices by $5. They promoted the ‘sale’ with the same vigour that other companies might have, making it all the more ridiculous. And yeah—people went nuts for it.

3. Nasty Gal
Throwing down a theme

Fashion retailer, Nasty Gal, chose to theme their Black Friday campaign back in 2015. They lopped 30% off everything black and—as we all know—black will never go out of style (if it does, I’m buggered).

Sometimes, all it can take is a solid, clever theme, and your BFCM discount is suddenly a lot more original than the rest of the rabble. Like Nasty Gal, try to make sure you’re discounting stuff that people actually want. One of the reasons Amazon do so well is their personalised approach to discounting—they’ll hit you with products they know you want, rather than throwing a lot of shit at the wall and hoping something sticks.

The ‘black’ theme is so solid, it’s been adopted in various iterations by other brands in the cosmetics and fashion space.


Got a favourite Black Friday campaign? Which clichés are you the most sick of? Comment below!

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