The Black Friday content campaigns that caught our eye

Richard Marriott 4 years ago

Every year, the Black Friday sales descend in a flurry of emails with big stats, social media ads with discount codes, and websites reducing everything in sight – especially this year, where many stores are unable to open their physical doors due to local lockdowns. So in terms of creative content campaigns, who stood out this year, and why? Our team tell us their favourites…

A softer approach to selling

Emma Baxter, Senior Content Editor

This year there was a noticeable shift towards being less pushy for Black Friday - especially on Instagram. 2020 has seen many people endure testing times financially thanks to redundancies or reduced pay via the furlough scheme. It seems many brands have made a conscious effort to navigate these circumstances sensitively.

Through the use of celebrity endorsers and influencers, brands have been able to add a more personable approach to their sales methods. Relatable 'celebrities' such as radio DJs, podcasters and fitness influencers have posted discount codes on their stories with a 'no pressure' messaging.

For instance, DJ Kate Lawler shared a code for dog food and treats from Pooch and Mutt as she's always posting about her dogs Baxter and Shirley - it's stuff her followers are already interested in. Another example is Sophie Butler, a Gymshark and Myvegan athlete - she posted codes for Myvegan protein but clearly said "there's no pressure to use this code, I'm posting to help if you were thinking of getting some anyway" - both approaches will surely have been appreciated by people in trying situations.

Kelly Barnett, Senior Content Editor
kelly barnett
Self-proclaimed slow fashion brand TALA swapped the usual stream of Black Friday emails for something closer to business as usual. Instead of slashing prices to draw in masses of sales, the sustainable activewear makers opted to continue with regular product drops and throw in a free headband with orders worth over £40.

This simple-but-effective ‘Black Friday lite’ approach was paired with on-page content and social hubs laying out a moral justification. ‘At TALA, we will never create products specifically for Black Friday sales, or any other discount opportunity,’ reads a blog post on the subject. ‘We will never send our clothing or accessories to landfill.’

This ethos-first, promotions-second approach perhaps predicts a future in which brands will seek to distinguish themselves by placing notions of trust and image above traditional KPIs.
It’s a reminder that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to Black Friday marketing. If traditional promotions don’t fit your business model, sometimes it pays to swim against the tide – while throwing in a free headband, of course.

The 'Green Friday' angle

Richard Marriott, Head of Zazzle Media

richard marriott

According to an article I read on The Drum, 33% of eCommerce sites were not taking part in Black Friday, which I struggle to believe! I’m sure like everyone else, my inbox was flooded with hundreds of emails and I was hit across every available piece of ad space.

While there were plenty of the usual big-ticket discounts, it was a refreshing departure from the norm to see several brands giving back with the a ‘Green Friday’ initiative. For example, Sofology pledged to plant 100 trees for every Sofa Rescue and several outdoor/clothes retailers such as Innov 8 and Joules (interesting combo I know) donated a percentage to charity or planted trees with every sale.

green friday

Kirsty Daniel, Senior Marketing Executive
kirsty daniel
It was clear that many brands were getting behind a purpose this Black Friday. There were more ‘anti-Black Friday’ approaches from businesses, trying to point away from excessive consumerism and provide awareness of the global climate crisis.

Patagonia did this in an especially surprising way. By taking out a New York Times ad on Black Friday itself, they declared ‘Don’t Buy This Jacket’. Instead, they pointed shoppers towards their Common Threads Initiative - promoting ‘Worn Wear’ where they recycle, repair and share old or used Patagonia clothes. This encouraged users to look into their recycled range and to truly consider the lifespan of their clothing and the carbon, waste and water footprint of their purchases.


Conversion based bargaining

Alex Jones, Campaign Manager
alex jones
It was two fitness brands that caught my eye this Black Friday.

The first was Gymshark, who slashed prices across hundreds of products for their Black Friday Week offering. Many brands simply use Black Friday to re-hash deals which have been seen before to simply piggyback on the hype, however Gymshark provided a range of bonafide bargains which were available that week and that week only. This made their promotion really stand out for crowd and generated significant buzz before the launch.

The second was Myprotein. Myprotein are well known as a brand who offer discounts on products pretty regularly, in fact you'd be hard pressed to by something at full price from their range! However, for Black Friday these offers went up another level, at times reaching 75% off selected products. They also ran a promotion which added a ticking clock style of urgency to the event. Customers would be given 45% off selected products, however this would decrease by 2% for every hour that passes. A great incentive that could convert browsers into customers.

Turning one day into a longer term strategy

Lisa Wisniowski, Communications Director
lisa wisniowski
When it comes to Black Friday, we’re exponents of long-term thinking. Whilst promotional strategies to increase sales in November can be an important cashflow driver, eCommerce brands often miss out on some brilliant long-term opportunities to drive engagement and customer loyalty.

Neom, the natural fragrance brand, caught my eye this year in offering ‘added-value’ rewards rather than direct discounts over the Black Friday weekend. Daily deals were available, for their email subscribers and on social channels, where customers received an additional full-size item or, a surprise gift based on a minimum order spend rather than direct discounts. The promotion gave Neom the opportunity to extend their product range to existing and new customers, make existing customers happier with the opportunity to get a free gift in addition to any planned purchase and, start a retention strategy campaign for entirely new customers.

If you look at Black Friday as just the start of your customers journey and, an opportunity to increase existing brand loyalty then, with the best nurture plan in place, your customer lifetime value can only increase.

Following the data

Adam Brown, SEO Manager
adam brown
As an SEO, it's hard to ignore the data of Black Friday and Cyber Monday events – and though this isn’t an example of a brand sales technique, it’s an interesting take on the phenomenon of Black Friday from a marketer’s perspective. The Common Thread Collective pulled together an examination of data from thousands of holiday sales, to get to the bottom of how to combine data and your Black Friday approach - resulting in this monumental infographic (which you'll find at the bottom of the page) with their findings, and inspiration for messaging and imagery.

Summing up
2020 has thrown in some interesting approaches to this now coveted Christmas shopping opportunity, and it's interesting to see new takes on the 'holiday' in comparison to the hardcore supermarket fistfights of the past. If you are a brand looking to understand how to improve your offers and customer journey on Black Friday, you can check out the raft of content our Group colleagues at Stickyeyes have to cover all your digital Black Friday and Cyber Monday needs.

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