"Black Friday is a frenzy of deep discounts, limited-time offers and last-ditch efforts urging you to 'save' by spending more. We're not doing that.” - Patagonia
In the world of environmentally conscious consumers, Black Friday has evolved beyond mere discounts and deals. Since Patagonia’s shocking “Don’t Buy This Jacket” sustainability campaign in 2011 (a full-page advertisement in The New York Times urging consumers not to shop on Black Friday), the holiday season is now a prime opportunity to showcase your brand's commitment to sustainability and appeal to conscious customers.
We've compiled a list of inspiring sustainability campaigns from Black Fridays gone by, which not only met conscious consumer demand but also made a positive impact on the planet. Read on to get inspired by powerful Black Friday marketing ideas from recent years.
Black Friday campaigns that encouraged conscious consumerism
Here are 3 brands who leveraged Black Friday season to promote a more conscious approach to shopping.
Industry: Beauty & Personal Care Campaign: Slowvember Deciem has broken away from the one-day frenzy of Black Friday in the last few years with ‘Slowvember’, offering 23% off all products throughout the entire month. This slowed-down approach encourages conscious consumption, giving shoppers time to consider whether they need the purchase rather than making a rushed decision for ‘one day only’. In addition to the month-long sale, the cult-favourite skincare house closed their physical stores for sales on Black Friday and instead hosted special events featuring live music, refreshments, and art workshops.
Industry: Fashion Campaign: Long Term Investment Friday Fjällräven, the Swedish outdoor apparel brand, discarded any discounts in favour of their unique campaign ‘Long Term Investment Friday’, emphasising the durability and longevity of their products. Whilst admitting it’s not the catchiest campaign, the company used their platform to share how an investment can contribute to a more sustainable future: “the longer you can use your gear, the less you need to replace it."
Industry: Beauty & Personal Care Campaign: Green Friday Rituals' ‘Green Friday’ campaign is a prime example of how to increase customer demand for eco-friendly products. Instead of slashing prices on everything, they focus on refill products, reducing waste and encouraging conscious shopping. As an added bonus, every refill purchase helps them plant, protect, or restore a tree year-round.
Sustainability campaigns that gave back for Black Friday
Next up, three sustainability campaigns where brands did good by people and planet amidst the sales
4. Lucy & Yak
Industry: Fashion Campaign: Fior Di Loto Friday Sustainable fashion brand Lucy & Yak have been doing Black Friday differently since 2018, donating half their profits to charity partner organisation Fior di Loto Foundation. Encouraging people to also donate on the Lucy & Yak website, their 2022 campaign managed to support education for 223 underprivileged girls in India.
5. Ella’s Kitchen
Industry: Food & Beverage Campaign: Turning Black Friday Green From Black Friday to Cyber Monday, the UK’s number one baby food company donated all profits from their online sales to rewilding charity, Trees for Life. The campaign enabled the brand to plant over 6,900 trees, sharing a message that good can come from the Black Friday madness.
Industry: Fashion Campaign: Break Tradition, Not The Planet Allbirds went against grain in 2020, avoiding discounts and instead increasing the cost of their products by $1. But here’s the catch - they matched that $1 and donated $2 per product sold on Black Friday to support environmental projects with Fridays For Future.
Black Friday campaigns that championed small businesses
Here are three brand sustainability campaigns that chose Black Friday as a moment to spotlight small businesses making a difference.
7. Ocean Bottle
Industry: Food & Beverage Campaign: Let’s Make Black Friday Blue Reusable bottle brand Ocean Bottle celebrated Black Friday by featuring small businesses on their social platforms. Alongside the promotion, for every product sold on Black Friday, the company funded the collection of equivalent to 2,000 plastic bottles in weight - double their usual offering.
Industry: Beauty & Personal care Campaign: Blue Mind Market Natural skincare brand Haeckels gave up their retail spaces in London and Margate last year to showcase small brands, artists and disruptors promoting a sustainable future. Their Black Friday initiative was part of their broader 'Giving Back' campaign to foster opportunities for brands doing good.
Industry: Health & Wellness Campaign: Shop Small Saturday DAME, a carbon-negative period products company, used the weekend buzz to amplify small sustainable brands. Using their social channels, they shared special deals and discounts to encourage customers to support a variety of eco-conscious food & drink, fashion and personal care businesses.
Sustainability campaigns that promoted circularity on Black Friday
Lastly, these sustainability campaigns rewarded customers for embracing a low-waste lifestyle and returning their old products back to the brand.
Industry: Fashion Campaign: Take Back Friday Rapanui used Black Friday to launch a sustainability campaign reminding customers that its t-shirts could be returned for recycling in exchange for a £5 voucher. They also urged their community to engage with and share their #TakeBackFriday social posts to spread their message of circularity.
Industry: Homeware Campaign: #BuybackFriday In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, the furniture giant called on customers to return their used IKEA furniture to their local store’s Circular Hub. As part of this sustainability campgign, all returns received part of the item’s value back in the form of a voucher, and IKEA family members received an additional 50% extra buyback value.
Industry: Tech Campaign: Bring Back Friday Back in 2021, tech giant Vodafone encouraged customers in their European markets to trade in old phones to be recycled or repurposed responsibly. By bringing back old devices, customers received credit towards new ones, contributing to Vodafone's commitment to reducing electronic waste.
Leverage Black Friday buzz with a powerful brand sustainability campaign
By infusing sustainability into your Black Friday campaigns, you not only attract conscious shoppers but also make a positive impact on the environment and communities. These inspiring examples show that conscious consumers appreciate brands that align with their values, and it's a win-win for both your business and the planet.
Leverage this Black Friday season to promote a more conscious approach to consumption, making a significant impact and creating positive change while still attracting customers with the excitement of Black Friday deals. We hope these innovative sustainability campaigns spark creativity and inspire your next marketing moves towards a more sustainable future.