Black Friday: 4 Marketing Campaigns That Stole the Spotlight

In the busiest period of the year for e-commerce retailers, launching your Black Friday marketing material can feel like dripping a tiny drop into an endless ocean. 

Wanting to turn your little ripple into a big splash? Take cues from these marketing veterans of years past on how to make waves this Black Friday 🌊

Gymshark’s Blackout Friday 🏋️‍♂️🦈

Like the millennial industry shaker-uppers that they are, Gymshark tear up the Black Friday rulebook. 

Flipping the unspoken marketing design code on its head, Gymshark’s usual Black Friday routine consists of ‘Blackout Friday‘. In this unusual take, photos of models in incredibly low lighting accompany ads, leaving the products barely visible.

This increases audience curiosity by restricting the immediate view of the products that are on promotion. The result: users are forced to go to site to solve the mystery, bringing them one step closer to purchase. Considering the enduring hype around Gymshark in the online fitness community, it’s far to say this works for them.

Overall, Gymshark’s approach is a fairly risky Black Friday marketing strategy. Perhaps this approach is only suited to brands that already have a cult following and large year-round loyal customer base.

Apple’s Black Friday Email Teasing 🍎

When it comes to brand awareness, these guys most definitely already have it covered all year round. Most people carry a walking Apple advert in their pocket, demonstrating the brand’s constant innovation with regular iOS updates.

However, you may be surprised to hear that Apple take a more old-fashioned approach to Black Friday than you’d expect from a top tech trailblazer. They turn to email marketing. Often (wrongly) dismissed as outdated, Apple uses email marketing updates to tease customers in the run-up to the big day. 

This approach keeps the brand and its bargains on people’s minds, allowing them to plan their purchases in advance. It also helps to generate that all-important FOMO. These effects are especially important when it comes to brands hoping for high order value purchases, like tech companies.

Pieminister’s Philanthropic Flavour 🥧

Not the usual suspect that springs to mind when you think of the Black Friday rush, but British pie shop chain, Pieminister, have made the big BF work for them. Despite not being an e-commerce retailer, they still set a great example of how to stand out from the crowd on Black Friday.

Pieminister’s strategy could be referred to as ‘putting the heart back into Black Friday’. At a time of the year defined by consumerism and excess, the pie brand turns to charity to change the tone. 

Teaming up with homelessness charity, Shelter, Pieminister launched the ‘Black Pieday Big Pie Giveaway’. In exchange for donations to Shelter, customers received free (black) pies. This drew attention not only to the issues of homelessness and food waste but also to the Pieminister brand.

Through this campaign, Pieminister familiarised consumers with their socially conscious brand values, boosted organic social media engagement, and avoided the typical advertising bidding war that occurs every year.

Cards Against Humanity’s Black Friday Hilarity🃏

A mocking and irreverent sense of humour is a hallmark of this adult-themed card game brand, and they certainly don’t take a day off for Black Friday. 

Every year, Cards Against Humanity’s Black Friday antics escalate further and further into the ridiculous – from selling $100 bills for $1 each to auctioning off literal 💩, to increasing their prices for the promotional period. The brand’s online PR stunts always pay off, reaching viral levels. Bizarrely, in this case, it seems raising prices actually raises sales! 

In 2020, the brand shocked the most by foregoing their usual shenanigans out of respect for the global chaos that defined the year. Rather than pranking their customers, they instead chose to donate $250,000 to several charities, including ones supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Cards Against Humanity know their tone and their audience, staying grounded in pop culture and the public mood to ensure they always strike the right note. Most importantly, like Pieminister, they know that social media is an invaluable and affordable tool for Black Friday Marketing. 

So, what should you take from the Black Friday successes of these brands?

Well, it seems the common denominators are strong email and organic social media marketing strategies. If you want to see more brands that are bossing the social media game, check out this blog post. And if you’re super interested, you could even check out our email marketing and social media management services. Don’t hesitate to get in touch, we’re excellent conversationalists (if we do say so ourselves) 😉