Shhh…do you hear that whir? That’s the online noise around Black Friday and Cyber Monday (AKA BFCM) gearing up. By next month, as both days draw nearer (Black Friday falls on November 23rd and Cyber Monday the 26th), it’ll be like the world’s loudest ever hedge trimmer.
OK, forgive us for the crude metaphor, but you get the picture. As brands and retailers large and small the world over compete to be heard during BFCM, digital marketers need to get extra-creative to ensure their campaigns stand out.
For those in need of a little inspiration, check out six of our favourite campaigns from BFCMs past. Some are striking in their simplicity, some bring the LOLz, some are craftily clever, and some are all three and then some. What they all share is the stand-out factor.
1) Storq Keeps It Simple
This example from Storq is a masterclass in email best practice. The design, copy and offer are all striking, simple and attractive, much like the effortless chic of a black tank worn well, if you will. It’s a clever one too, not just in terms of wordplay, but also in subtly encouraging an increase in order value.
It’s important to note that email is essential to BFCM promotion. Last year, Shopify found that relative to other sources, it had the highest conversion rate at 4.29%, while SaleCycle found it to be the second most popular way of promoting BFCM after social, with Black Friday emails outperforming regular emails by 52.5%.
2) Amazon’s LOLcat
What is it about cats on the internet that make people LOL so? Especially cats in wigs. Well, whatever it is, Amazon used it to great advantage with this Facebook post, which was simple, smart and funny, and achieved huge engagement.
We particularly enjoy the way Amazon interacted with followers too (see image below). Engaging with your consumers like this is a great way of adding warmth and personality to your brand, something too often lacking in the faceless world of online transactions.
Our only quibble with this post is that Amazon didn’t put a wig on the cat, as it would have been even funnier then. Joking aside, there’s a serious side to this too. Humour packs conversion punch. It attracts attention, makes people forget they’re being sold to, and puts them in a good mood, all of which encourage spending. Plus, on social, the funnier your post, the more shares. And if you go viral, well, bingo! So, where fitting, be sure to inject humour in to your BFCM campaigns.
3) ASOS Absolutely Nail It
We love this campaign from ASOS. It really grabs attention, and the discount code of GOGOGO perfectly captures as well as adds to the sense of urgency around BFCM (we get anxiety just looking at it and it’s only October). But ASOS reassures the stressed bargain hunter by telling them to “chill”, and reminding them there’s 20% off everything. Phew!
ASOS really take this campaign home then with the below Instagram post. Not only are those sparkly boots seriously eye-catching, but they also fit perfectly with the overall message and tone of the entire campaign. It’s also worth noting here that social is hugely important to BFCM, with SaleCycle reporting it to be the most important channel for promotion.
4) MeUndies Go Live
Speaking of social, Facebook Live has huge levels of interest and engagement that can be harnessed for big wins during BFCM. Take inspiration from underwear retailer MeUndies. On Black Friday 2016, they hosted a live party featuring DJs and contests, and during which they gradually unveiled each of their sales.
To promote this, MeUndies first sent out invites to its 314,000 Facebook Page followers, and then ran a Facebook event ad targeting customers who opened MeUndies emails but hadn’t bought anything in over a year. And the results were phenomenal. Of the 13,300 that tuned in, they converted at a rate of 25%, which is 13 times their average conversion rate on Facebook.
5) Nasty Gal’s Trendjacking
Integral to clothing retailer Nasty Gal’s success is its ability to connect with its millennial audience, as exemplified here in this brilliant trendjacking of “u up?” for its Cyber Monday 2016 campaign. If you’re not down with this ‘U up?’ reference, by the way, it refers to late night ‘booty’ texts sent between amorous millennials.
And speaking of millennials, amorous or otherwise, they’re big spenders during BFCM (the NRF found they comprised 45% of shoppers during BFCM 2016), so ensure you have campaigns that speak to this digitally savvy lot of online consumers.
But back to Nasty Gal’s clever ‘trendjacking’ of ‘U up?’. This practice is now a common digital marketing tactic. Done right, it can really make a brand stand out online and drive web traffic. Just make sure you jack the right trend. Otherwise you may do your reputation more harm than good, like this tweet from fashion designer Kenneth Cole, which went down like a rat sandwich.
Making light of civil unrest in Cairo was a serious lapse in judgement, and a prime example of trendjacking gone horribly wrong.
6) REI Opt Out
BFCM isn’t popular with everyone, and many associate it with rampant consumerism and all that is wrong with Western society. Outdoor retailer REI decided to tap in to this anti-BFCM sentiment in 2015 by making the bold move of boycotting it.
This campaign, which they named #OptOutside, saw REI suspend all retail activity on Black Friday, pay their 12,000 staff for a day off, and encourage their customers to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. 1.4 million people took part in #OptOutside, and REI continue to boycott Black Friday to this day.
But the campaign, which is now a year-round initiative, did wonders for the brand in ways that extended far above and beyond just Black Friday. Not only did it win almost every advertising award going, but it also saw REI experience a huge rise in brand awareness, website traffic and in-store visits.
While we’re not suggesting your brand boycotts BFCM too (that’s entirely up to you!), we highlight this as an example of a campaign that stands out and delivered incredible results, and as one you could think about borrowing from if it’s right for your brand. For example, in 2016, Patagonia put their spin on it by donating all US$10 million of their Black Friday sales to charity.
Now that you’re full of inspiration for your brand’s BFCM 2018 digital marketing campaigns, why not download our eBook ‘9 Ways Your Brand Can Win Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018’ to learn more tips and tricks on how to gain that well-earned competition edge this time around.
Global Brand Consultant