The Best Black Friday Marketing Campaigns of All Time

The Best Black Friday Campaigns

When it comes to sales events, a few can compare with Black Friday. This is one of the biggest sales days and the beginning of the holiday shopping season. It means that on Black Friday all the retailers hold large-scale marketing campaigns –– the most creative and well-executed ones. 

Sometimes it is so hard to find inspiration to generate creative Black Friday ideas. That’s why in this article we have collected examples of the best Black Friday campaigns to follow, some interesting alternative approaches to this holiday, and a couple of anti-examples a-la “don’t ever do that” 😬 Hope you will get some useful insights while reading it.

The best Black Friday campaigns of all time

Let’s take a look at the most original and attention-worthy examples of Black Friday marketing. 

An exclusive Facebook Live party by MeUndies

Black Friday Drawer Buster Event by MeUndies
Source: FireApps

About the company: MeUndies produces comfortable underwear both for men and women.

The idea: MeUndies found a great alternative to offline events and hosted a creative Black Friday campaign –– an online Facebook party with a DJ and dance contests! As more viewers joined the live stream, the company managers unlocked more significant discounts. 

It was one of their best campaigns with more than 13 000 live attendees and a 25% conversion rate. 

#BlackOwnedFriday by Google

Black Owned Friday banner by Google
Source: Blog.google

About the company: Google is an American multinational search engine company.

The idea: The campaign’s key message was to support and draw attention to black-owned businesses and shops during the holiday season. That’s why Google produced a shoppable film with T-Pain and Normani including the products that can be purchased online – all from black-owned companies. 

Also, a curious part of the campaign was the Google option “black-owned shops near me”. Its purpose was to boost the visibility of black-owned stores and businesses in every location.

Project Black Friday: The Bank Never Wins by TWOJEYS

About the company: TWOJEYS is a Spanish unisex jewelry brand.

The idea: For Black Friday 2020 the brand created a short movie with guest stars and company founders and employees. The film tells the story of a heist at a casino bank and the theft of 10 million euros worth of jewelry. 

It was launched on the Instagram page of the company and resulted in more than 5000 orders within the first 24 hours of publication. Also, it gained 5 000 000 views on Instagram. Get inspired by this masterpiece too.

Mystery bag by The Verge

One of the Mystery bags by the Verge
Source: The Verge

About the company: The Verge is a tech news website.

The idea: The website chose a good old marketing strategy –– a prize draw, but with a twist. People love free stuff, and on Black Friday The Verge offered them a chance to win a bag full of the best tech gear and gadgets

There was only one condition: to subscribe to The Verge Twitter account, and that’s it! Existing followers also could participate in the contest and even enter it again and again, in exchange for a retweet.

Are you ready to solve the mystery? by 22 Days Nutrition

22 Days Nutrition’s Black Friday email

About the company: 22 Days Nutrition is one of the most known food supplement retailers.

The idea: Curiosity is hard to resist. Having added just one new element to its marketing campaign, the brand significantly increased the traffic to its website. 

It provided each customer with Black Friday emails offering a unique discount ranging from 20 to 50%. Which one did you get? Go shopping online and check the decision of fortune!

#BNSignedEditions by Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble’s Black Friday post on Twitter

About the company: Barnes & Noble is an online bookstore for books, NOOK ebooks & magazines.

The idea: Who said Black Friday is just for discounts? What if discounting doesn’t align with your brand values? You can still provide a successful campaign, even if you don’t offer enormous sales – there’s always an alternative. 

Take a look at Barnes & Noble’s decision: they have published over a half-million autographed books from acclaimed authors as their Black Friday deals, and this campaign resulted in one of the most successful holiday seasons.

6-day social media campaign by Walmart

Walmart’s Black Friday deal

About the company: Walmart is an American multinational retail corporation.

The idea: Nowadays Black Friday has mostly migrated to online spaces. Many retailers launch their campaigns on social media, via emails, or start impressive sales on their websites. Being a giant in the offline sales industry, Walmart decided not to stay away and also enter the online game. 

In 2020 the brand launched a 6-day shopping campaign on social media, where they ran flash sales, discounted sale campaigns, trending and related content marketing, sale countdowns, and many other mini-campaigns within the main one. 

Limited edition orangutan soap by Lush

Limited edition orangutan soap by Lush

The idea: Again, a good example of a not-just-discounts approach. Lush chose a creative way to highlight the key values of the company and show it’s a cruelty-free brand. 

On one of the Black Fridays, the company launched a limited edition soap in order to draw attention to the fact of how close to extinction orangutans are. All the revenue from sales went to the Sumatran Orangutan Society.

Alternative Black Friday marketing campaigns

As on Black Friday and Cyber Monday an average brand pushes a sale or promotion, it may be hard to stand out. That’s why many retailers set themselves apart from the competition, opting for more thought-provoking campaigns. Here are the best examples:

Don’t Buy This Jacket by Patagonia

Black Friday campaign by Patagonia
Source: Marketing Week

About the company: Patagonia is a designer of outdoor clothing and gear for silent sports.

The idea: In 2011 Patagonia launched its first alternative Black Friday campaign called “Don’t Buy This Jacket”, which was meant to make society aware of the pitfalls of consumerism. 

With this smart ad, the company encouraged people to reduce, reuse, recycle, and repair their items instead of shopping and buying new ones. The campaign was published both online and offline in the New York Times.

Anti-Black Friday Campaign by Cards Against Humanity

Black Friday campaign by Cards Against Humanity
Source: BSS commerce

About the company: Cards Against Humanity is a fill-in-the-blank party game.

The idea: While other brands are trying to reduce prices as much as possible, Cards Against Humanity raises them. Such a mockery of a Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales culture! 

Here’s an example of another Black Friday email campaign by the brand:

Black Friday campaign by Cards Against Humanity
Source: BSS commerce

You probably wonder about the results –– and here they are: the deals brought the company over $100.000, and the whole process was on a live stream. Here’s a chart showing the sales spike:

The statistics of the Black Friday campaign by Cards Against Humanity
Source: Business Insider

It’s quite a bold move, but if it correlates with your brand like in the case of Cards Against Humanity, then why not?

“Buy Less. Buy Better” by Hiut Denim

Black Friday campaign’s post by Hiut Denim
Source: SiteKit

About the company: Hiut Denim is a Welsh brand producing jeans for men and women.

The idea: The brand shut down its website for the duration of Black Friday –– a simple yet elegant move. They said that being one of the retailers, they are already charging a fair price and become sick of all the Black Friday ads and special deals. 

The campaign resulted in numerous positive reviews from Hiut Denim’s existing customers and even attracted new audiences:

Facebook comments to Huit Denim’s campaign
Some reviews from Huit Denim’s official page on Facebook

Ten Things That Last by Buy Me Once

Black Friday campaign by Buy Me Once
Source: Drapers

About the company: Buy Me Once is an online retailer that stocks products with a durable shelf life.

The idea: The brand encourages consumers to choose longer-lasting things instead of throwaway items –– and offers good deals on these products. Before the beginning of the campaign, Buy Me Once sent the customers a survey to figure out what products they actually want but are struggling to afford. 

Having analyzed the results, they chose the ten most requested items that were discounted for Black Friday –– you can see them in the picture above.

Anti-Black Friday campaign by Pantee

Black Friday campaign by Pantee
Source: Pantee

About the company: Pantee is an underwear brand that is creating products from deadstock T-shirts.

The idea: The company is against the idea of thoughtless consumption – that’s why on Black Friday it made online shopping on the brand’s website available only for those on the mailing list. The members of the existing community received the password and had access to new and best products that appeared on the website on Black Friday.

“Break tradition, not the planet” by Allbirds

Black Friday campaign by Allbirds
Source: Swanky Agency

About the company: Allbirds is a sustainable accessory and footwear brand.

The idea: Instead of lowering the prices for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, as do many other retailers, the company decided to increase all prices across its entire collection by £1

Such a move serves two purposes: to increase the commitment to sustainability and donate extra money to Fridays For Future, the youth-led international climate movement founded by climate activist Greta Thunberg. 

“ReVivo” offering by VivoBarefoot

Black Friday campaign by VivoBarefoot
Source: Milled

About the company: VivoBarefoot is creating shoes with ultra-thin puncture resistance soles.

The idea: The brand used the occasion of Black Friday to promote its ReVivo platform. This platform is used for purchasing repaired shoes that have either been returned by other customers or that are surplus or ex-display stock. 

Such a thoughtful approach to this day correlates best with the values of the company.

The weirdest Black Friday campaigns & offers

And now forget about all the positive and best examples we’ve mentioned. It’s time to observe the strangest, funniest, and most absurd Black Friday deals and discounts, and mistakes made by popular (and not-so) retailers and services.

A “mistake” tweet by McDonald’s

Black Friday tweet by McDonalds

People still argue whether it was made on purpose, or was an honest mistake by a sleepy staff member (didn’t get enough coffee!). But the fact is that the “mistake” tweet existed for 9 hours and generated 23 000 likes and 11 000 retweets. 

Crazy Target Lady by Target

Black Friday campaign by Target
Source: Sickmalls

This is a series of Black Friday videos by Target. The key message of the campaign is to show a crazy lady “training” for Black Friday shopping as if it were a marathon. Looks like the retailers are talking down their customers turning them into a parody.

Sure, there are many people who stay up late and go to Target at midnight because they want to get some great deals and make purchases. But why make fun of them or turn them into crazy caricatures? People usually do not accept well the jokes that come at their expense.

The build-your-own twerking robot kit by ThinkGeek

Black Friday offer by ThinkGeek

ThinkGeek produces consumer electronics. For Black Friday 2017 the company offered quite a weird deal: a discount for a 212-piece robot kit that twerks when you insert two AAA batteries. 

What? Why? There are more questions than answers 🧐

Free reindeer poop by Tanga.com

Black Friday offer by Tanga.com

Technically, not a Black Friday campaign, but still a part of holiday sales and too bizarre to ignore it. In 2013 daily deals site Tanga.com offered a free pile of reindeer poop on a first come, first served basis. 30-day warranty guaranteed for every customer. 

Well… the customers might be really interesting people. Curious to see at least one of them – if you’re reading this article, please let me know 😅

Summing it up

No matter what strategy you choose for your Black Friday marketing campaigns –– traditional discounts, an “anti” approach, or something outstanding and on-the-verge. The most important is that this strategy correlates with the values of your brand and matches the needs of your target market. 

We’ll be updating this post every year with exciting and engaging examples of Black Friday campaigns. Stay tuned for more!

Know more worthy-of-attention examples of Black Friday campaigns?

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