The 27 best Black Friday campaigns of all time

Best Black Friday Campaigns

The post-Covid-19 landscape can be described as a transitional state where everything is in flux. Retail in the last quarter of 2021 seems to be returning, slowly but surely, to its former glory, although nothing is quite the same. eCommerce went through a tremendous evolution that altered not only the course of history but also us as consumers; so to make sense out of this constant change, every marketer and retailer must be alert and informed. In this article, we have gathered for you some of the best Black Friday campaigns of all time with the aim of preparing you for another eventful holiday. 

Just like every special occasion that took place during the pandemic, this year’s Black Friday is bound to definitely be groundbreaking, and interesting. For instance, in 2020 the number of holiday shoppers dropped from 189.9 million to 186.4 after decades of a steady, gradual ascent. Notwithstanding, this drop was followed by an unexpected rise in online shoppers reaching for the first time the 100 million mark, signifying an 8% increase.

These numbers show that the market has gone through a shift that can only be attributed to social distancing and quarantine but, in hindsight, allowed new trends to emerge. Collecting data and taking advice from industry experts is the best way to acquire valuable information that if used correctly can prove valuable and lucrative for any business. 

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Black Friday and COVID-19: What is trending now

As trends traverse from one to the next, we can observe how customer behavior shapes them and vice versa. Last year, Covid skyrocketed eCommerce and brought changes that are here to stay; even though storefronts are operational again, customers have grown accustomed to the digital convenience. The trends that made our lives more tech-savvy will continue to be present, and will definitely continue to evolve. 

As follows, retailers should expect this year’s Black Friday to be a mix of old and new traditions. For starters, consumers need lenient payment options and free shipping, so the model “buy now, pay later” will be as hot as ever. Moreover, buying local is a very popular choice this year, as the customers wish to support small businesses, instead of giant retailers. 

Lastly, an interesting tendency that originally started back in 2018, is the use of extensive deals and promotions; instead of just one day, Black Friday deals and discounts are starting before Thanksgiving and continue after Cyber Monday. This new direction has taken place due to safety regulations and the sudden growth of online shopping. 

Best Black Friday marketing campaigns ever 

As one of the biggest sales days of the year and the official signal of the holiday season, Black Friday is customers’ paradise. Find out how famous brands charmed their audiences and fire up your upcoming campaigns.

Black Friday campaign #1: Amazon – the king of Black Friday 

amazon best black friday campaigns

Why we liked it: 

Besides retail royalty, Amazon reigns over Black Friday every year. Proving its substantial influence worldwide, Amazon introduced Black Friday to the UK, integrating the holiday to the British retail scene. Amazing sales, deals that run for eight consecutive days, and impressive bundles are only a few of the reasons why this brand is undefeated.

Black Friday campaign #2: Apple’s cliffhanger campaign

apple best black friday campaigns

Why we liked it: 

Black Friday Email Marketing at its best. Securing the interest of their customers, Apple launched weeks earlier an entire email marketing campaign teasing them with anticipation. As Black Friday was coming up, they sent a second email announcing specifics on the deals a week in advance. A brilliant way that kept Apple’s customers at the edge of their seats until the big day. 

Black Friday campaign #3: Cards Against Humanity’s Black Friday parody 

cards against humanity best black friday campaigns

cards against humanity parody best black friday campaigns

Why we liked it:

First and foremost, humor sells, so let’s start with that. Secondly, Black Friday mockery has become something like a trademark for the brand. In 2018, they started an insane 99% off sale on a variety of items, including the sale of a freakin car for $97.50! Of course, the supplies were not endless, but the discounts were as real as it gets. 

In 2013, they increased (!) their products’ prices by $5, and as controversial as it seems, this absurd idea actually increased their sales compared to the previous year. Their greatest hit was probably the time when they sold absolutely nothing for $5, somehow earning a profit of $71,145, which was split later amongst the staff.

Black Friday campaign #4: Walmart’s social media campaign

walmart best black friday campaigns

Why we liked it: 

Last year, Walmart went all-in with a 6-day deal in November, mini-campaigns, and the branded hashtags #DealsForDays. Funny, inspiring countdowns were taking place every time an offer was running out, and a tweet announcing the start of  “add everything to your cart month”.

Black Friday campaign #5: Kohl’s contactless orders 

kohl's best black friday campaigns

Why we liked it: 

Black Friday has always been known for its chaotic assemblages and the hundreds of people walking up at 6 o’clock in the morning to get in line before others. Due to the pandemic and the social distancing requirements, Kohl’s initiated a series of social media posts motivating online shopping, endorsing the use of their contactless drive-up option, and reminding customers of safety regulations. 

Black Friday campaign #6: Steve Madden’s initiative

steve madden best black friday campaigns

Why we liked it: 

Four years ago, Steve Madden SA came up with a very interesting way to increase its subscribers and contacts. Creating a sense of urgency, exclusivity, and excitement, Steve Madden incentivized its customers to sign up in their newsletter and be the first to find out about their Black Friday deals. The early access incentive gave the brand additional contacts that would be used in the long run for remarketing purposes, product recommendations, or re-engagement campaigns.

Black Friday campaign #7: Patagonia’s Anti-Black Friday ads

patagonia best black friday campaigns

Why we liked it: 

Because it is a brand that acknowledges its failings. Patagonia, a renowned advocate on environmental change, launched in 2011 one of the first anti-Black Friday campaigns in history. The “Don’t Buy This Jacket” ad in the New York Times and digitally, declares open war on the culture of consumption, and criticizes excessive consumerism. Five years later, in 2016, Patagonia donated 100% of its Black Friday profits to worldwide non-profit environmental organizations.  

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Black Friday campaign #8: Cartier’s amazing returns

cartier best black friday campaigns

Why we liked it: 

Cartier’s 2020 Black Friday campaign outstripped the competition with a groundbreaking return policy. For those that indulged in some holiday shopping between November and December, the brand accepted returns and exchanges until mid-January. 

Black Friday campaign #9: Fifa’s special cards

fifa best black friday campaigns

Why we liked it: 

EA is super into Black Friday and takes care of its loyal gamers every year. In 2020 they extended their sale up until Cyber Monday, keeping the flame alive for four days. Similarly, in 2019 they offered hourly packs from the 23rd to the 27th of November, brand new pack types, revamped flash Squad Building Challenges, themed weekly objectives and so many more. With special editions and promo packs, Fifa engages its customers even more, maintaining a strong franchise for years. 

Black Friday campaign #10: Just Eat’s collaborations

just eat best black friday campaigns

Why we liked it: 

Partnering done right. Just Eat collaborated with TopCashback offering a  £15 meal refund for the new website’s members promoting brand awareness for two companies with one campaign. Apart from that, Just Eat allied with the FoodCycle, a charity company that prevents waste by serving unwanted food across the United Kingdom. The FoodCycle organization received a 50p donation for every meal sold, and together they managed to raise the incredible amount of £250,000. 

Black Friday campaign #11: MeUndies’s virtual campaign 

me undies best black friday campaigns

Why we liked it: 

Anything virtual is always welcome and appreciated. Hosting an exclusive Facebook live party with a DJ and unlocking their discounts live on the event was an inspiring idea. Of course, it gained huge traffic of more than 13,000 active users with an impressive 25% conversion rate. The company became the talk of social media inviting 300,000 followers that organically shared the event, ultimately reaching 660,000 people. 

Black Friday campaign #12: REI’s #OptOutside 

rei-best-black-friday-campaigns

Why we liked it:

Because it genuinely builds a strong, long-term brand-customer relationship, instead of a one-day frenzy. REI has been running this campaign since 2015 deciding every year that they would keep their stores closed on Black Friday. The reason was to motivate their staff and customers to spend the day outdoors using their branded hashtag.  Besides the benefit of the user-generated content, this campaign built the foundation for long-lasting brand loyalty and a sense of community. 

Black Friday Campaign #13: Alternative Apparel Campaign

Why we liked it:

Alternative Apparel is a sustainably sourced brand that offers comfortable, casual clothing. Since they primarily run their marketing efforts through their online omnichannel networks, they offered a cyber deal that was hard to pass up! Not only did they offer 40% off of their clothes, but they also offered 50% off of other brands. This technique allows consumers to engage with their brand, as well as discover and save on other brands. Providing a code to use at checkout is a great way to make this deal friendly for both desktop and mobile users.

Black Friday Campaign #14: Asos

Why we liked it:

Asos’ Black Friday campaign caught consumers’ eyes with more than just its fun colors. In 2021, they offered up to 70% off the entire store, which is almost unheard of for any Black Friday campaign. As a retailer, an important factor to note is the fine print that states the stipulations of the sale. Clarifying that the sale is limited time and applies to current stock not only sets parameters but also puts a sense of urgency within the consumer, encouraging them to act quickly. This is a great way to beat the competition when competing with other best Black Friday campaigns.

Black Friday Campaign #15: Armani

Why we liked it:

Armani made shopping easy for consumers in their Black Friday Campaign by offering a catalog of their holiday gifts. As a high-end brand, Armani recognizes that their consumer base shopping on the site during Black Friday is likely looking for the perfect gift for someone they love. Creating a collection of products for consumers to shop from allows for an easier, more time-efficient shopping experience and can increase the chance of a conversion.

Black Friday Campaign #16: Bobbi Brown

Why we liked it:

What’s better than a sale? Receiving products for free! Bobbi Brown had one of the best Black Friday campaigns by offering an attractive 30% off site-wide sale and a gift after spending $75 on their site. During the holiday season, including a gift for your consumer to keep or regift is an effective Black Friday marketing strategy.

Black Friday Campaign #17: Burberry

Why we liked it:

Luxury fashion brand Burberry is highly sought after during the gifting season. For their Black Friday Campaign, they made the task of shopping for loved ones easier by providing an online shopping catalog specifically for gifts for both women and men. During the holidays, consumers spend an average of 15 hours shopping for their loved ones. Brands like Burberry recognize this problem and provide a solution for consumers.

Black Friday Campaign #18: Zaful

Why we liked it:

People wanted deals, and Zaful listened! For their Black Friday campaign, Zaful offered their consumers a variety of conditional discounts, promo codes, and even an additional discount for students. Offering several discounts at different price points makes the consumer feel they have multiple opportunities to save and keeps them engaged on the website for longer as they browse their near-endless options. Promo codes are best used for retailers utilizing an omnichannel marketing strategy, as it allows desktop and mobile users to easily take advantage of the sale. Zaful also recognized its client base is made primarily of Gen Z consumers, which makes a student discount highly enticing and encourages more purchases.

Black Friday Campaign #19: Zara

Why we liked it:

Zara utilized several effective Black Friday campaign strategies that are worth noting. Because they operate brick-and-mortar and online, it was important to indicate that their savings were applied both in-store and online. Keeping consistency throughout omnichannel networks creates a positive shopping experience for consumers. Zara also placed their parameters and limitations on the campaign’s opening page — including the deadline for the savings — which encourages the consumer to act.

Black Friday Campaign #20: Swatch

Why we liked it:

Black Friday Campaigns do not always have to include discounts and other savings, and Swatch is a perfect example of that. Instead of offering consumers deals on their current products, they launched a line of black watches. Not only does this speak to their current client base, but it also allows for their new line to gain exposure from consumers looking for Black Friday deals.

Black Friday Campaign #21: Samsung

Why we liked it:

Samsung kept in line with its brand by creating a Black Friday campaign design with verbiage specific to the tech industry: “Black Friday mode is on.” It also mentioned that there would be special pricing on some of their most popular products. This tactic speaks to consumers wanting to save on the products they have been wanting and saving for. It gives consumers what they need to feel inclined to follow the CTA.

Black Friday Campaign #22: Sephora

Why we liked it: 

Sephora made an impactful Black Friday move by offering free shipping on all purchases for an entire weekend. Specifying that this only applied for a single weekend made consumers want to act fast, which is one of the objectives of Black Friday. In addition to free shipping, they also offered up to 50% off on select products, which is a significant discount compared to their competitors.

Black Friday Campaign #23: Ray-Ban

Why we liked it:

In Black Friday campaigns, there is a recurring trend of instilling a sense of urgency. Ray-Ban got consumers excited to save on sunglasses and eyeglasses with a countdown and an unbeatable discount of 50%. They also created a fun design that captured the consumer’s attention and added to their excitement about the savings possibilities.

Black Friday Campaign #24: River Island

Why we liked it: 

With so many brands participating in Black Friday campaigns, a retailer must create an eye-catching and unique promo. River Island nailed this task by creating a colorful design with even more colorful verbiage! The design attracted the consumer, but the savings is what kept them shopping. On top of offering discounts on products, they also offered free delivery on orders of at least $75. Free delivery speaks to the consumer that wants the most bang for the buck and encourages them to make an extra purchase that they might not make if they had to pay for services like delivery.

Black Friday Campaign #25: Tiffany & Co.

Why we liked it:

Tiffany & Co. took a different approach for this Black Friday campaign, focusing on the meaning behind gift giving and speaking to consumers looking to give a meaningful, lasting gift to someone they love. Their wordplay, “Shop the Story,” serves as a CTA that further amplifies their message. In a market where Black Friday campaigns are centered around saving money, Tiffany & Co. stood out by offering something beyond that — a gift from the heart.

Black Friday Campaign #26: Tom Ford

Why we liked it: 

Going with the theme of offering more than just discounts, Tom Ford created a Black Friday campaign that shined a light on their Ocean Plastic line. This line includes products made from recycled ocean plastic, speaking to the sustainable, conscious consumer. This tactic targeted a consumer base that is willing to spend more if it means that they are making the world a better place and remaining loyal to brands that speak to their values.

Black Friday Campaign #27: United Colors of Benetton

Why we liked it: 

The deals keep coming with the United Colors of Benetton’s Black Friday campaign. In addition to offering 30% off the entire store, they also offered free shipping and free, extended returns. A survey showed that 92% of consumers will buy something again if returns are easy, and 79% of consumers want free return shipping. This Black Friday campaign made consumers comfortable purchasing anything they wanted, feeling confident that they could always get their money back if something did not work out.

Stand out with an imaginative Black Friday campaign

A unique and carefully executed Black Friday strategy will surely affect your brand’s image and enhance meaningful engagement with your customers. We wanted to make sure that you have plenty of great examples to draw inspiration from and get prepared; you can opt for a short-lived strategy or a longer campaign that will build up your audience’s anticipation. Whatever the plan though, make sure to build a strong foundation based on data and market research accompanied by an omnichannel strategy that will extend across all outlets. 

ContactPigeon, being one of the leading omnichannel customer engagement platforms in Europe, has helped numerous brands grow and reach their audiences effortlessly with quality content and many features. Booking a free consultation call will surely prove helpful for your brand, so reach out to our trained specialists for a brief session and all the answers to your inquiries. 

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