Black Friday 2017

Every year, in the wake of the battle of the Christmas ads, as both marketers and consumers, we anticipate the annual commercial phenomenon otherwise known as Black Friday.

When Black Friday first crossed the Atlantic in 2010 on a ship called Amazon, the uptake was pretty underwhelming. It wasn’t until 2013 that Walmart brought the concept to ASDA and chaos ensued over flat-screen TVs at never-before-seen discounted prices.

Online however, there’s no pushing and shoving. From the comfort of your own home, you can shop a paradise of hyper discounts being offered on anything from laptops to will writing services (bleak Friday, anyone?) and with purchase intent higher than ever, just about every brand is finding a way to cash in.

Its digital cousin, Cyber Monday, gave rise to the ecommerce side of the event and now retailers use this date to tout further and final reductions as an extension of the Black Friday period.

IMRG, the e-retail trade body, reported an overall online spend of £6.45 billion across UK ecommerce sites during the Black Friday-Cyber Monday promotional period in 2016 and this figure is set to rocket by 15% in 2017. (IMRG)

Promotion versus creativity

The launch of Christmas campaigns is typically when brands and agencies showcase their best work, but poor Black Friday remains largely neglected when it comes to creativity, especially online.

Why? Well when that jacket is 99% off, who cares where it’s from? But when the pricing is so competitive, how do you make sure that it’s your price consumers see first?

Sponsored content and enhanced bids can only do so much of the leg work, but overlooking the importance of outstanding copy and creative can render your whole campaign a waste of resource at this competitive time of year. Remember, you’re up against the big boys and consumer favour cannot simply be bought.

Placement is key and the readiness to buy online at this time of year means every conduit should be considered; PPC, SEO, social media and email; desktop, tablet and mobile.

We’re browsing on the train, on the way to and from work and on our lunch break – the commuter loves to shop online and traffic from mobile and tablets is now outperforming that from desktop (Search Engine Land). Capturing custom on these devices is imperative and once they’ve followed your ads, users should be directed to a mobile optimised page, totally relevant to the ad.

In the likely case that transactions aren’t being taken to completion – because lunchtime is for browsing, not buying – remarketing is your new bestie. Remind customers of what they’ve left behind and drive them back to your site to finalise orders.

Black FriYay!

Since 2017 hasn’t been the plethora of creativity that I’d hoped for, let’s take a look at some of the best Black Friday efforts of recent years.


ASOS remarketing always gets me! Yes, I did forget something, take my money instantly, please.

Last year, their worldwide GOGOGO campaign had it all, the mark down, the targeting and the urgency. A discount code like that makes me type faster.


Despite being responsible for the carnage of 2013, the supermarket chain took an interesting stance in 2016. Their anti-Black Friday campaign, across TV and digital, poked fun at the madness of previous years with a ‘mannequin challenge’ type scene of customers fighting it out for low-priced goods. The tag-line poked fun at every other retailer: Got that Friday feeling? Relax… We’ve got low prices every day.

House of Fraser

A couple of years ago, the much-loved UK department store chain sent out a simple and very clever little email campaign. Instead of messing around making a shiny creative, they sent out an email that was essentially the website homepage and like black magic, I was shopping instantly.

Black FriNay…

When I was a teenager, my parents told me that just because everyone else was doing something, it doesn’t mean I had to do that too, and the very same thing applies to brands and Black Friday.

Such mass discounting is changing the way we shop. Why buy something today when you can buy it cheaper tomorrow? We’ve come to expect the annual price drops across the board whilst continuing to believe you get what you pay for. Therein lies the problem with Black Friday.

The relationship between perceived value and price point means that when outrageous promotions are continually applied, a brand must work extra hard to restore perceived value to the point at which people will pay full price again.

However, a market flooded with mega-deals forces businesses to decide: maintain the brand value or outperform competitors? In 2017, it appears that more and more are choosing the latter.

Black Friday: if you can’t beat them, join them.

Until next year…

Tweet @BIGPartnership and let me know which campaigns had you logging into PayPal at break neck speed.

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