Anti-Black Friday Branding Movement Gains Traction

By | November 26, 2015

Black Friday 2015 is here! It’s a day that is synonymous with great deals, big discounts and major line-up at the retail stores. Every year retailers in the United States, and other parts of the world, cut the prices of their goods to encourage consumers to get back into shops and start their Christmas shopping.

Who invented this day? The origin of the holiday is quite contentious. While some pinpoint the origins to the day when retailers turned a profit for the year and moved into the black, others claim it relates the markdowns on shop prices. Most people agree that retailers ultimately have the Philadelphia police force to thank. They nicknamed the day after chaos engulfed Philadelphia when shoppers flocked to the high street sales just as spectators travelled to the annual Army vs. Navy American football match. Consumers are thought to have started using the name in the 1950s and 1960s, judging by local newspaper reports.

Shopping has always been the key to a successful Thanksgiving season. The holiday used to be celebrated on the last day of November, but retailers encouraged President Roosevelt to move the day forward to give consumers more time to shop. Eventually, in 1941, it was confirmed that Thanksgiving would always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, rather than the last. Thanks FDR!

Unfortunately, we are embracing a new era of holiday shopping – the rise of anti-Black Friday branding. The follow ad starts with a scene of touch football in the yard. Next it zooms in on a woman and her daughter cooking together in the kitchen. “Imagine a world,” a soothing voice intones, “where the only thing you have to wrestle for on Thanksgiving is the last piece of pumpkin pie, and the only place we camped out was in front of a fire, and not the parking lot of a store.” And, then, more scenes: a man, cuddling with kids on a sofa, an older woman rolling pie dough on the counter, a fire crackling in the fireplace, warmth, wine, togetherness and laughter.

These are the scenes of an ad with a strange objective: to tell you not to buy stuff on Thangsgiving. At T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, and HomeGoods, we’re closed on Thanksgiving,” the spot’s velvet-voiced narrator informs us, “because family time comes first.”

What’s your take on this new trend and ad?

About Alex Noudelman

Alex Noudelman is a thought leader and power influencer in the digital marketing world. He is privileged to contribute his knowledge and expertise on, and When he’s not helping clients with their marketing and content, he’s coaching sports programs in schools across the Greater Toronto Area, mentoring students with learning and speech disabilities as well as participating in political debates. Alex received an Honors B.A. from York University as well as an Advanced Certificate in Adolescent Education from D’Youville College.

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