Battle for Time: Black Friday and Cyber Monday

November 30, 2016 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai


Black Friday. Cyber Monday. (Aka 24-hour sales that really just turn into week-long sales).

These two annual shopping extravaganzas are usually the type of thing that makes people equal parts excited to check things off their wish list and aggravated at the aggressive hourly eblasts.


Traditionally American, this yearly sale has crept across the border and is gaining momentum in the types of sales offered.

However, in between all the pitch-slapping some retailers are making bolder statements by changing up what this retail norm is about.

From Kit and Ace’s “push pause” video, to Lush’s Error 404 bath bombs, certain brands are deciding to make people more aware amidst the shopping frenzy.

This is what captured our minutes this week.

Here’s why:

1. These people aren’t putting the sale first, unlike everyone else.

OMG, that’s like retail suicide right?! Nope, not at all.

Lots of retailers still had a sale. UK clothing brand FatFace said it would donate $166,000 of its profits to local charities.

Kit and Ace still had a sale, but they offered people a peace of space and meditation in all the crazy stimulation that comes from this sale period.


It’s almost like the sale was an after thought.

In fact, these retailers dug deep and unearthed those values (you know the ones scrawled across a wall in the office?) to give them some real life action. And it was all done in the most retail-y way possible.

Everyone was getting emails, text reminders and flyers that pushed the sales. After awhile, it becomes clutter. Audiences can only take so much bombardment, regardless of how appealing the discount looks.

The people who will be remembered amidst the rest will be those who do something that much more special.

Being remembered: brands, isn’t that a deal that’s appealing?

2. These brands took a risk on using the normal to create something that’s abnormal.

In a Digiday article about UK brands getting charitable on Black Friday, a spokesperson from UK shop Pieminister explained this idea perfectly: “Black Friday has connotations of spending lots of money on stuff you might not need, so we saw a chance to turn it on its head and do some good.”

Indeed, they decided to give things to people that they desperately need: Pieminister opened up pop-up shops that were giving away surplus stock in its freezer in exchange for a donation Shelter, a charity that deals with housing.

Lush on the other hand didn’t have a percentage off, but they created the Error 404 Bath Bomb with the intention of donating all profits to Access Now in order to address government-backed hacking.


Sorry to say, but some people are greedy. Some people are going to scroll through their inboxes and say, “25%? Pfft, not enough” and move on.

We don’t have the sales numbers for these two initiatives, but we’re feeling pretty positive about the results that these retailers will see.

Why? Because they were smart and creative: they took the power of Black Friday marketing that makes people look and used it for another purpose.

Repurposing content is always a good strategy. Repurposing the purpose is an impactful strategy.

Among those people who won’t buy a thing for under 40% off, there will be a lot of people who at the very least will be guilted into giving back after their glutinous expenditures.

Taking a second to stop and think is hard, even for brands. Especially when consumers’ wallets are wide open.

However the people who take action with purpose are the ones who are more than a product. They’re a brand that people want to live.

At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.

What will win this week?

People used to vote with their wallets. Now they vote with their time. Battle for Time, curated by The Tite Group, recaps what’s winning our minutes every week, from business to current events and everything in between. The rule of thumb for the winners? Make quality content that people need and want.

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