As a seller, Black Friday weekend is probably an element of anxiety, because how are you going to make your brand stand out from the crowd? How are you going to get conversions? The frantic price reduction is so ubiquitous that it has become incredibly difficult for all brands, except for larger brands, to make Black Friday profitable. The kind of feverish environment has been created where some brands seem to lose all sense of perspective completely. Here are examples of five brands that rejected the usual tactics in favour of a more different approach.
The Patagonia clothing company joined the One Percent for the Planet environmental initiative for Black Friday 2016. They agreed to donate every cent of their Black Friday online and retail sales to organisations dedicated to keeping the environment clean. With this campaign, Patagonia got 10 million dollars on that day.
Addressed with the #loveourplanet hashtag, the campaign succeeded just because it was not what people expected. They took advantage of the awareness it created, enjoying the thrill of making a secure purchase knowing that its spending will help make the world a better place.
In 2015, the sports and outdoor activities brand REI encouraged consumers to forget about shopping and go outdoors. The company set the example by closing its stores and suspending electronic commerce, giving each of its 12,000 employees a paid day off.
The #OptOutside hashtag led 1.4 million people to commit to doing exactly that and generated an incredible amount of 1.2 billion social impressions. The campaign was so successful that REI repeated the trick in 2016.
Not only big brands with big followers on social networks can make good campaigns on Black Friday. Pieminister, a cake shop in the United Kingdom, could have opted for a regular discount-based strategy for its Black Friday campaign. But instead, they chose to give cakes in exchange for donations to a charity for the homeless, which gave them access to a much larger social audience.
In a project called Black Pie Day, Pieminister opened a dozen stores nationwide, giving away surplus cakes in exchange for donations to Shelter. They raised 3,600 pounds for the charity.
If you are going to rebel against Black Friday, your campaign will have a better chance of success if you have statistics supporting your position. Hubbub is a small UK charity that creates environmental campaigns, and they did their own research in the period before the launch of an alternative to Black Friday in 2016.
They discovered that two-thirds of people do not enjoy participating in Black Friday, while half feel uncomfortable with the concept altogether. Even more worrying, 45% had spent money on something they couldn’t afford just because they had a discount, and 70% bought items on sale they had never used.
It was in this context that Hubbub held a series of events during a weekend in Brighton, designed to offer people other ways to spend Black Friday. The participants of ‘Bright Friday’ were invited to create new clothes from the old ones or to borrow and exchange fashion items, creating an antidote to the consumerist message of Black Friday.
Cards Against Humanity
Many companies would consider it a commercial suicide, but this rebel brand was so against the idea of lowering their products’ prices, so they decided to increase their prices over the weekend.
The Cards Against Humanity creators, a famous card game, initially considered reducing their prices by one cent as a joke. However, they ultimately adopted a much riskier approach: they put an additional 5 cents on all their products.
Amazon hesitated but gave the green light to the price increase and withdrew incredulously as card game sales increased. The campaign was widely shared on social networks, was the primary publication on Reddit and was extensively covered in the media worldwide.