20+ Best Black Friday Marketing Campaigns
This post was updated on August 17, 2023.
Ever heard of “holiweek”? According to our friends at Stacked Marketer, it’s something you should try as part of your holiday marketing strategy.
It’s pretty simple; turn Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other holi-days into holi-weeks or even holi-months. Then you’ll give your customers the ‘excuse’ they need to enjoy your special holiday deals for longer and boost your overall holiday sales.
Black Friday becomes Black November. Cyber Monday becomes Cyber Week.
You get the picture!
Want more original tactics for your holiday (or holimonth!) marketing campaigns? Check out our annual roundup of the best Black Friday campaigns and get inspired.
Best Black Friday Campaigns 2023
Amazon – Lonely Yeti
Amazon had a lot of fun with its Yeti campaign for Black Friday, featuring a legendary Bigfoot-like character. The ad spot, titled “Lonely Yeti”, shows the Yeti all alone in his freezing habitat as he contemplates spending the holiday season in solitude. Amazon saves the day, however, with an early Black Friday deal on a hairdryer, delivered straight to the Yeti. He preens himself up and confidently strolls into a party, turning heads to the strains of the 80s song “Okay Okay” by Pino D’Angio. Slightly weird but definitely eye-catching and memorable. At just 15 seconds long, the commercial couldn’t fail to keep the viewers’ attention, all the way to the satisfying conclusion.
Walmart – Michael Bolton
Nostalgia is the perfect condiment to any ad campaign, and Walmart does it brilliantly with a Black Friday commercial featuring legendary singer Michael Bolton. The story goes like this: Bolton has been hired at Initech, a fictional company inspired by the 1999 comedy Office Space, to “boost morale”. And he doesn’t waste any time. Breaking into his smash hit song from 1989, he’s not crooning, “Tell me, how am I supposed to live with you”, but rather “Tell me, how Black Friday deals are on a Monday” – referring to the Walmart Plus club, whose members get early access to Black Friday deals. With such a catchy tune and such an awesome voice, Bolton makes watching this Black Friday ad a pleasure!
Davines – Green Friday
Forget Black Friday. At Davines, the high-end hair care brand, it’s Green Friday. And this is not just lip service. In 2022, Davines committed to donating 100% of its online profits earned on Black (Green!) Friday to charities that support environmental causes. Consumers love brands that share their values, and brand authenticity is absolutely essential to build trust and loyalty among customers. Davines is the perfect example of a brand with strong values and authenticity, which especially stands out during the extreme consumerism of the Black Friday shopping season. Not just a remarkable gesture of true giving, but also a smart brand move.
Supercheap Auto – Pitch Black Sale
Aussie auto accessories retailer Supercheap Auto wanted to stand out from the crowd for Black Friday, so they decided to go Pitch Black. That’s right, the company’s Black Friday ad had to be seen (or not) to be believed. Nathan Murray, the brand’s PR face and funnyman, starts off the commercial by switching off the lights in a Supercheap Auto store. Chaos ensues as he tries to show off the hot Black Friday deals in the dark, some breakage occurs (inevitably), and when the lights come back on, the damage is super. As Murray quips, “This is coming out of my pay, isn’t it?” We love a laugh and this ad delivers, complete with pitch-black theme.
Samsung – Reverse Auction
Consumers expect big savings and incredible deals on Black Friday. Besides simply dropping prices, finding original ways to engage customers is tricky. Samsung Australia did an incredible job, turning the tables on its audience with The Reverse Auction campaign. Instead of bidding for the highest price, consumers were invited to bid as low as possible on a range of products, such as smart TVs, Galaxy phones, Galaxy buds, and more. The results were impressive, with 50,000 people who registered for the auctions – meaning 50,000 people who were excited and engaged with the brand. Plus the deals were awesome, with winning bids running at nearly 50% lower than recommended retail prices. So smart and surprising!
Puma India – Influencer Doppelgangers
There’s influencer marketing…then there’s the Black Friday influencer marketing campaign by Puma India. Puma recruited doppelgangers of its brand ambassadors – athletes and celebrities Virat Kohli, Kareena Kapoor, Sunil Chhetri, and Yuvraj Singh – who posed as their famous lookalikes in pop-up stands in Mumbai, selling ‘fake’ Puma merchandise. The real brand ambassadors were totally in on it, calling out Puma on social media about these imposters. The company even changed the website to look like it was hacked. The message of the campaign was simple yet smart: everything can be spoofed, but Black Friday shopping deals? They are 100% real. This is influencer buzz at the next level.
Rogue Fitness – Smart Shipping
Part of the challenge around Black Friday is standing out from all the other discounts and offers. Want to see how it’s done? Look no further than Rogue Fitness, the strength training equipment manufacturer. The company offers a maximum $75 shipping fee no matter the (enormous!) size or weight of the purchase. There is also the policy “the more you buy, the cheaper the shipping cost”, which is incredibly smart and enticing for a brand that sells the heaviest weightlifting gear around. Plus there is the $1 shipping per pound dumbbell offer, and don’t forget the 5 for $5 – choose 5 products from a qualifying range and pay just $5 for shipping. There is so much more like this that makes Rogue Fitness the rogue winners on Black Friday deals; check out their promo video and get inspired.
Best Black Friday Campaigns 2022
Target – Holiday Price Match Guarantee
Target is a perfect example of the ‘holiweek’ concept – extending the holiday season to drive more sales. In 2021, the company began offering Black Friday Deal Days in October for early shoppers, followed by the Black Friday Week Deals sale on November 21 to 27. Instead of releasing all the thousands of Black Friday deals at once, Target gradually ramped up the excitement by adding more savings on a variety of products from November 25.
Another smart move was the launch of the Holiday Price Match Guarantee. If a product purchased earlier in the holiday season is reduced in price, customers can get a refund on the difference. Plus, Target committed to match competitors’ pricing within 14 days of purchase. This is a great tactic to boost Black Friday sales even before the official start of the season; instead of waiting and waiting for price reductions, customers who may be hesitating can feel secure to buy now. And that’s more money in the bank for Target, upfront.
Chatty Feet – #Putasockinit
We’ve seen it before – brands that go the “anti-Black Friday” route, criticizing the frenzied consumerism of the holiday season while at the same time promoting their own products. It’s easy to be cynical about it, but when it’s done well, this tactic is pretty effective. In 2021, the funky sock company, Chatty Feet, told Black Friday to “put a sock in it”. Literally. In an attempt to “drown out the noise” of the sale season, the brand committed to donating two pairs of socks to charity for every pair bought before Cyber Monday. Besides the pun, which we loved, it is also great to see a brand that walks the talk and really turns Black Friday on its head, presumably wearing a cool pair of socks at the same time.
Teachable – Smart Discounts
This one is simple, but that’s why we like it. While businesses are offering 25%, 30%, 50%, or even 75% off, Teachable, the online learning creator platform, decided to go original and offer 36%, 47% and 58% discounts on its annual subscription plan. Promoted via a short video post on its Facebook page, there is something about these non-round discount figures that really makes you take notice. It might even change consumer behavior! During Black Friday season, everyone is offering deals and discounts. With a small tweak, yours can jump out and grab consumer attention too.
Dude Dad – Golden Ticket Giveaway
2021 was the 50th anniversary of the beloved movie classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Dude Dad, the popular online personality and video creator, decided to produce a Wonka-themed Black Friday video, complete with a real-life Golden Ticket Giveaway competition. Any orders of over $50 from the Dude Dad store before December 3 might have one of three Golden Tickets inside! Instead of a visit to a chocolate factory, the winners receive one of three dude-like prizes, including a snow blower, leaf blower, grill set and more. There’s nothing better than when a marketing campaign references pop culture in a fun and smart way. The Golden Ticket concept is the perfect fit for the Black Friday shopping vibe. We love it!
Bed Bath & Beyond – For the house
What’s the first rule of marketing? Know your audience. And if you know what they are thinking, then you definitely can’t lose! This fun Black Friday commercial from Bed Bath & Beyond literally gets inside the heads of its target customers. The ad features a shopper deliberating over the Black Friday deals she would love to buy, but can’t really justify, because she is gift shopping, right? But her subconscious – in the form of a reassuring sales clerk – tells her it’s “for the house”. She gets totally on board, buying everything she wants – for the house, of course! This is a genius ad, because it so totally captures the guilty pleasure of Black Friday shopping. What’s more, it gives the customer an ‘out’ so they can buy what they really want. Clever stuff.
Google – #BlackOwnedFriday
Google’s brilliant Black Friday campaign nailed it in so many ways, it’s hard to know where to begin. Firstly, Google focused a spotlight on a key social justice issue, turning Black Friday into #BlackOwnedFriday, supporting black businesses and shops during the holiday season. The campaign commercial is a fantastic ‘shoppable’ film starring T-Pain, Normani, and Desi Banks, featuring dozens of products from black owned businesses that can all be purchased at the campaign website.
Plus, the campaign includes a Google search marketing component, directing viewers to search for “black owned shops near me”. The results are configured to promote relevant links and content that boost the visibility of black owned stores and businesses in every location. It’s the second year running for this incredibly unique Black Friday campaign, and we look forward to seeing what Google delivers for the theme next year.
TWOJEYS – Project Black Friday: The Bank Never Wins
Who doesn’t love a great heist movie? Watch some awesome video storytelling at work in this Black Friday campaign from Twojeys, the Spanish unisex jewelry brand. For Black Friday 2020, the brand created a 5:40-minute movie, starring actor Oscar Casas, model and influencer Jessica Goicoechea, YouTuber Nil Ojeda, and singer Lil Moss, as well as the Twojeys founders and others from the Twojeys family. The film tells the story of a break in at a casino bank, and the theft of 10 million euro worth of jewelry. Production quality, suspense, and pure fun, the Bank Never Wins, but jewelry lovers do! Launched on Instagram, the movie resulted in 5000 more orders in the first 24 hours, and racked up over 5 million views. Watch it now:
Best Black Friday Campaigns 2021
What was so special about November 30, 2020? It was only the biggest ever day for online shopping in US history, with over $10 billion in sales. Sales were highest between 7pm and 8pm Pacific time, at $12 million per minute. Over 35% of purchases were made on smartphones, and curbside pick-up was up 30% over the previous year.
Yes, Cyber Monday 2020 was peak pandemic, so these figures are not surprising. Even so, they highlight just how competitive Cyber Weekend has become for retailers, and why Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to be the busiest and most important times of the year in the seasonal marketing calendar.
In such conditions, one of the things that marketers can really use is a bit of extra inspiration, and especially if they want to stand out in crowded BFCM markets. You don’t need to come up with a genius idea – you just need to find that hook to grab the attention of your target audience. This takes some originality and creativity, but it is doable.
Let’s take a look at Black Friday campaigns that we thought stood out for their brilliance and performance, and perhaps these will help inspire your next Black Friday marketing win.
Walmart – #Unwrapthedeals
Every marketer knows that interactive content works, but creating something that really stands out is a challenge. That’s why we loved Walmart’s TikTok campaign that turned Black Friday sales into a fun, engaging, gamified experience. The campaign used a shoppable TikTok filter that enabled customers to “unwrap” virtual deals and discover Black Friday surprises. Using the #Unwrapthedeals hashtag, TikTokers posted their challenges for all to see, and if they liked their win? They could click straight to the product page on Walmart’s website and buy it. The campaign was a phenomenal success, with over 5.5 billion hashtag views, and an 18.4% engagement rate, breaking all TikTok Hashtag Challenge benchmarks.
IKEA – #BuybackFriday
Today’s consumers are super aware of global issues like sustainability, and they love brands that share their values. Rather than just relying on the usual Black Friday discount concept, IKEA meshed its brand values with its annual Black Friday marketing to launch the #BuybackFriday campaign. The campaign, which ran for a week in 27 countries, gave customers the opportunity to return used IKEA furniture and receive a credit voucher for up to 50% of the value of the item. Items that could not be resold were recycled or donated to communities in need. This is a great way to celebrate Black Friday and offer genuine discounts to customers while ‘walking the talk’ of commitment to brand values.
Best Buy – Black Friday… in July
Getting ahead of the competitors is always a good tactic in marketing. Best Buy decided to take it to the extreme, offering a “Black Friday in July” sale with big discounts on open box and clearance items – in July. At the end of the day, this campaign was simply a cheeky way to leverage the buzz of the “Black Friday” concept a few months early. And it’s a smart way to bring attention to the brand, at a time when no one else is talking about Black Friday. Why wait till November, when customers are absolutely bombarded with Black Friday offers everywhere they turn? The early bird catches the worm, so to speak.
Costco – The day the deals “leaked”
Speaking of cheeky marketing tactics, there’s nothing like a “leak” to drive interest and attention. In this case, a news item presented the (shocking!) news that Costco’s Black Friday ad had been leaked early online, giving a sneak preview of some of the sales and discounts that will soon be on offer, like $499 large screen TVs and $200 laptops. Although transparent, somehow it does the trick of building anticipation and making sure that Costco stays top-of-mind among consumers in the leadup to the big day.
Patagonia – ‘Buy Less, Demand More’
Outdoor clothing and gear brand Patagonia is well-known for its challenging, value-based approach to everything it does, and its 2020 Black Friday campaign was absolutely no exception. The company wrote and promoted a ‘reversible’ poem to raise awareness about the urgent need to save the planet. And there’s no better time to remind consumers of the importance of ‘buying less’ than during the frenzied shopping season. The poem can be read in both directions – start to finish, or in reverse. Read normally, it is a lament about the state of our world; read backwards, it’s a call to action. The ad was promoted with a full page ad buy in the New York Times, and while it took a 180-degree turn away from traditional Black Friday marketing, it definitely turned heads.
The Verge – Mystery bag
Grabbing consumer attention around Black Friday is tough. So many sales, so many deals, so many ads! People love free stuff, so a good quality competition will always be a winner, and that’s exactly what The Verge tech news website did. To celebrate Black Friday, it created a competition to win a mystery bag full of their favorite tech gear and gadgets, But as we all know, nothing is ever really free, so in order to enter the competition, people were asked to follow @VergeDeals Twitter account. Existing followers just had to log in to Twitter to get entered into the competition, and they could even enter again in exchange for a retweet. It’s a lot of potential reward for a few clicks – totally worth it and also a great way to engage readers and get those retweets during the tweet-filled holiday period.
Amazon Fire TV – Influencer marketing
What do you get when you mix macro-influencer marketing, pop-up stores, and live content sessions? You get an awesome Black Friday marketing campaign for Amazon Fire TV. OK, so this is an example of a resource-intensive campaign that won’t suit many businesses, but it’s a great source of inspiration for how to stand out and create Black Friday buzz. During the campaign, celebrities hosted a week-long schedule of curated programming at an LA mall, building brand awareness for Amazon Fire TV with live sessions demonstrating how to use the product to prepare for the holidays. A pop-up store was nearby to capture foot traffic of engaged customers, and local LA-based influencers were invited to visit and receive a free device in exchange for exposure on their social media accounts. The best of the Hollywood spirit and the best of Black Friday marketing.
Banana Republic – Video ad
2020 was not your average year, so it wasn’t your average Black Friday either. Due to pandemic lockdowns and social distancing, there was more online shopping and less in-store shopping. Plus the mood was more subdued than usual too. Banana Republic did a nice job under these conditions with a warm and mellow Black Friday ad. Set against scenes of loving couples and families in quiet, isolated settings, there was of course the obligatory 50% off promotion. And while the 2020 campaign was focused on providing Black Friday shoppers with all they need online without having to leave home, this year the brand will also put more effort into getting foot traffic back into stores.
Space Camp – Buy now, experience later
One of the powerful aspects of Black Friday deals is that they are instant. Get your heavily discounted microwave today and start cooking! That works great for products, but what about services? What about events or happenings that might only occur a few weeks or months from now? That’s no reason not to get on the Black Friday bandwagon. Space Camp does it every year, offering early registration to summer camps and seminars at discounted Black Friday prices. Black Friday is actually a great way to secure those bookings and revenue well in advance, by offering discounted prices for future events. If you are selling a service or workshop that customers will be using in the future, consider offering advance bookings at special prices for your Black Friday marketing tactic.
We’ll be updating this post every year with exciting and engaging examples of Black Friday campaigns to inspire you to stand out. Stay tuned for more.