22/11/21 Emily Welham

A creative guide to Black Friday

This season is the time to be different, to tap into creative juices and create campaigns that stand out among a very crowded marketplace. The “20% off” sales are nice, but they won’t necessarily draw attention. Look for ways to reach out and grab attention rather than passively hoping it will come to your brand.

One thing that marketers can really use is a bit of extra inspiration, and especially if they want to stand out in a crowded sales market. You don’t always need to come up with a one in a million idea – you just need to find that hook that speaks to YOUR target audience.

Creating Anticipation

Apple Advert

Apple played into the mystery that usually surrounds their big releases by harnessing the suspense in this BF campaign. Letting the anticipation build slowly over several blasts, starting with a teaser some weeks in advance that gave nothing away, and then following up with an email detailing the actual deals closer to the big day.

For a company whose product is a hot commodity like Apple, this works very well. It gets customers imagining what amazing deals will await them. Even if the deals end up not living up to expectations customers will likely have already become invested throughout the campaign.

Subliminal Messaging


Retail giants IKEA used a subtle approach with subliminal ideas. Using such familiar items that have instant brand recognition to convey the value of the potential savings you could make over their Black Friday event.

Shareable Content

GiifGaff Black Friday

Championing a ‘circular economy’, GiffGaff gave people the option to get a great Black Friday deal but also give back by refurbishing or recycling their old phones with the option of donating some of that money to charity.

Tapping into the collaboration potential they partnered with LAD Bible for the “Check Your Drawers” campaign on YouTube, it had a lot of people hyped up about it and sharing it on social media.

Playful Messaging

Patagonia Ad

A brand known for its emphasis on ethics Patagonia’s  “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign back in 2011 was a game changer. They actively encouraged their customers to NOT buy their clothes, instead repairing their existing garments or purchasing second hand.

In 2016 they followed this up by donating all of their Black Friday sales to nonprofit environmental groups around the world. A truly great company speaking strong messages to its audience.

Charitable Cause

Pieminister Ad

It isn’t just large brands with huge social media followings who can reap rewards on Black Friday. Pieminister decided against a regular discount-led strategy and instead they chose to give stock away in return for donations to a well-known homeless charity – thus giving them access to a much larger brand’s social audience.

They raised £3,600 for the charity, and found a genuinely worthwhile way to monetise stock they would otherwise have discounted or thrown away.

Breaking the mould

Cards Against Humanity Ad

Party card game Cards Against Humanity  decided to go another route and  have a special Black Friday increasing the price of all its products by $5. Poking fun at traditional deals, which are typically heavily-discounted products that encourage consumers to make savings by spending money.

You could argue that people will just wait until the day after to buy the same product but looking at theirs sales there was a significant number or their customers who appreciated this bold move from the team behind CAH.

In Conclusion

BFCM is the one weekend of the year where every retailer on planet earth gives customers the chance to save big. But in an over saturated market there are a few brands out there that are changing things up and using the period of high intent for customers to really shout about their brand values and putting their words into action.

Brands are reminding consumers that amidst Black Friday’s conspicuous consumption, there’s value in saving things other than money.