The 12 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. 

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.  

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 


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. 

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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