Black Friday Hype

On Friday 29th November (timing well with payday) shoppers will wake up at the crack of dawn, to ensure they are the bird that gets the worm. Setting alarms to get online or queue for stores to open, ready for the biggest retail event of the year.


Originating in the US as a way to kick off Christmas spending in the lull after Thanksgiving, Black Friday first made the journey across the pond eight years ago. The event is no longer restricted just to the Friday, as the name would suggest, but spans the whole weekend climaxing on Cyber Monday. Across four days, usually polite shoppers will be transformed into crazed bargain hunters, with scenes more commonly seen in a bar brawl.

Behaviour shift

This bonkers behaviour is driven by one thing – scarcity. Less of something heightens its appeal. So the hype is created by a simple ‘first come, first served’ tactic. Demand for the exaggerated discounts exceeds supply, and so creates urgency as nobody wants to miss out. This strategy has proven so successful that the Office for National Statistics reported that November has started to steal sales from the Christmas period. Many spenders have admitted to spending most of the day at work shopping online or even booking the day off!

So what are people buying?

When it comes to Black Friday, electronics are king. Over half of the total spend will be on electronics, with retailers using it as a good way to flog excess stock and older models. Most customers are using this weekend to get all their Christmas gifts sorted but the hype means a lot of impulse purchases are made.

Spontaneous shoppers

This impulsiveness gives marketers an opportunity to cut through the noise and stand-out from the crowd. While big savings will result in a quick sale, the money saved is quickly forgotten. In such a competitive retail landscape more and more brands are looking to do something different, even abstaining from the event all together. This is even truer in electronics as the biggest Black Friday sector. With cameras fighting off laptops and mobile handsets holding off TV’s, it’s about time someone changed the game.

Turning hype on its head

So what if we were able to recreate the hype while adding value rather than taking value away? In the current experience economy our Promotional Intelligence Index (Pii) shows that people would rather tell people about something they’ve done rather than something they have. Giving customer’s money can’t buy experiences, exclusive rewards, limited-time only activities and allowing them to get involved with your brand story is sure to make a bigger statement than any amount of money off. 

Enjoyed this? Try Festive Retail Frenzy

Sources: The Conversation ‘Retail Rage’, Tech Radar ‘Black Friday UK 2019’, BBC UK, Planning Dirty Julian Cole, Periscope by McKinsey

Mindful Materialism


Ever thought how strange it is that you can remember a fun fair ride when you were ten like it was yesterday, but you struggle to remember what you ate for dinner last night?

A lasting memory is the product of an experience and unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll be well aware of the shift in consumer mind-set, as more of us seek out opportunities for self-improvement, adventure and for more profound encounters with the people and places we love the most.


More now than ever, brands need to give consumers a reason to engage and move beyond the rational to the emotive.

People forget 90% of what is shared with them within 48 hours*. In order to retain the 10%, brands must mix traditional advertising with below the line, multi platform marketing techniques. Recent research using biometrics and steady-rate topography has confirmed that advertising across platforms builds brands in the brain more effectively than advertising in one single platform. The creative strategy of a cross-platform campaign needs to be unified across different platforms, to maximise impact and build a “kicker effect.”*

*WARC Best Practice, December 2018


Recognition is not to be confused with effectiveness. Analysis from our Performance Intelligence Index (Pii) shows that until a brand turns their story-telling into a “story-doing” customer experience, it can take on average, three times longer to get the same cut through in relation to customer acquisition or retention.

Festive Retail Frenzy


In the run up to the busiest shopping events of the year, we all become savvy deal seekers and bargain hunters. With Black Friday offers and festive freebies soon to arrive in our inboxes how can retailers stand-out from the competition, both in-store and online, to persuade us to spend our hard earned cash with them, not the brand next door?


It’s November, it’s grey and rain is dripping from your umbrella down your neck. You wish you had stayed at home and just done your shopping online. This is why high streets across the UK are struggling to drive footfall. What is the added benefit of leaving home and going into store?  

Store experience is the answer. John Lewis have responded by offering personal styling pop-ups in their stores, available to book online as an exclusive converting tool from ecommerce to store spend. Discounts and money-off events are no longer enough. Retailers need to add-value to the purchase journey. Offering rewards for purchase that align with the brand message and audience interests, whether that is Dr Martens giving their music fan base money off their next gig ticket or Superdrug giving students mindfulness sessions to avoid exam stress.


With over half of us doing the majority of our shopping online this has become a competitive space for promotions. 69% of UK shoppers will compare price across multiple online retailers before making a decision, so giving them a reason to choose you is vital. Online retailers have separate but just as challenging barriers to purchase. We all do it, add to bag, add to bag, add to bag – then go and make a coffee and never checkout. Retail online abandonment is a whopping 84%. This poses a huge opportunity for retailers to add-value into the journey to ensure that buy now button is clicked.


Adding value through rewards and experience has much more power over free delivery or 10% off. Think of your own purchase habits, how often do you tell people about a discount? Emotional marketing through experiences and rewards is twice as efficient as rational. Disrupting the same old thing that customers are used to seeing with something new and exciting, helps your brand stand-out and stick in the mind for longer.

Enjoyed this? Try Mindful Materialism

Sources: John Lewis, Mintel ‘Retail’ Report, IPA, Statista ‘Online Shopping’ Dossier, The Drum News

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