Love it or hate it, Black Friday is one of the biggest retail events of the year. In fact, US consumers alone spent over $8B online in 2021.
But with every brand pushing a sale or promotion, it can be hard to stand out. Plus, times are changing — and society is becoming more aware of the pitfalls of consumerism.
As a result, we've seen some brands pivot away from the typical Black Friday frenzy, opting for more thought-provoking campaigns that set them apart from the competition.
Ready to change your approach? Here are five alternative Black Friday campaigns to inspire your strategy this year.
#1: Try a “Shop to Give” Fundraising Initiative
In recent years, we’ve seen an increase of brands switch up their Black Friday marketing strategy by supporting social causes instead.
Sustainable clothing brand Kotn donates all of its sales (up to the value of $250,000) to building primary schools in rural Egypt, where the cotton for their collections is grown.
While a 100% sale donation isn't financially viable for most businesses — there are ways to echo the same sentiment, on a smaller scale.
You can donate a percentage of your profits to a cause you're passionate about, or donate a product in your inventory every time a sale is made.
#2: Encourage Conscious Consumption
There’s no denying that big discounts, drive big sales.
But when paired with a tight deadline, sales often encourage impulse buys.
In fact, according to a study by Self, two in five people said they regretted their Black Friday purchase.
Brands like The Ordinary are combatting this by removing the time pressure from Black Friday, and encouraging conscious consumption.
By extending the sales window and applying discounts to all products, shoppers are more likely to purchase something they actually need or want.
Plus, it means they can extend their marketing campaign, with less competition from brands in the lead-up to Black Friday.
#3: Boycott Black Friday
When it comes to Black Friday campaigns, Patagonia takes a “go against the grain” approach.
Rather than hosting a sale, they’ve become renowned for their “Buy Less, Demand More” campaign.
Similarly, clothing brand Asket closes their store (including online) on Black Friday – advocating for "a perspective that doesn’t value short-term sales, rather long-term balance."
While this approach might not work for every business, stepping back is a powerful way to put your money where your mouth is, and further highlight your brand's values.
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#4: Reward Your Community for Eco-friendly Behavior
If you’re looking for a creative way to offer discounts this Black Friday, check out how sustainable clothing brand Dai created a Green Friday quiz to reward eco-friendly behavior with a custom discount.
The higher a customer’s sustainability score, the bigger the discount they receive. Not only does this tap into Dai’s sustainability-first values, but it’s also really fun.
TIP: If you don't have the capacity to create a custom quiz, consider how this can play out on social media instead. Use Instagram Stories stickers to poll your audience and provide discount codes.
#5: Raise Your Prices (Yes, Really)
A price hike on Black Friday? Trust us, it can work.
Sustainable shoe brand Allbirds first paved the way with their "Pay It to The Planet" campaign, raising their prices by $1 across the board.
The extra dollar was matched by the brand and donated to environmental charities. Win-win.
The most effective and memorable Black Friday marketing campaigns on social media go beyond aggressive sales tactics.
Instead, they add value and build long-term brand affinity. So don't be afraid to get creative in 2022.