5 Ant-Black Friday Campaigns That Give Us Hope For The Future of Business

“Black Friday is hungry and wild-eyed and sweaty and pushy and desperate. It is competitive. It is Darwinian.”

It’s here again. Black Friday. Or perhaps it should be re-named Dark Friday. That day each year when people trample over each other, in the heat of the moment to save a bit of money on that 60" TV, or something equally as meaningless.

If, like me, you’re sick of all the ads and special offers bombarding us, here are some clever anti-Black Friday campaigns from some of my favourite brands.

It just shows us that, despite the headlines, there are businesses that put their purpose before any short-term profits.

1. Cards Against Humanity

Humanity Saves America

From the team behind the ‘party game for horrible people ’.

Two years ago, it charged shoppers $5 for absolutely nothing in return. “The greatest Black Friday gift of all is buying nothing,” it said at the time. Last year, it encouraged people to donate money so they could dig a massive hole at a secret location in the United States and live-stream it on YouTube, raising $100,000 for charity. And this year the company behind the popular game says it has bought up a plot of vacant land along the Mexican-American border in a bid to stop Donald Trump building a wall. Genius.

2. REI

We’re outside, join us

America’s largest outdoor retailer:

“Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the essential truth that life is richer, more connected and complete when you choose to spend it outside. We’re closing our doors, paying our employees to get out there, and inviting America to OptOutside with us because we love great gear, but we are even more passionate about the experiences it unlocks.”

3. Hiut Denim

Buy less, but better

From this small but well-loved Welsh jeans company:

“As a small maker, we come in each day to make the best jeans we can, not the most jeans we can. We charge a fair price for them, enough we hope to keep us going as a business. But for us, Black Friday feels like a battle to see who can be the cheapest. Lots of people buying things they don’t really need with money they don’t really have. And the result, a throwaway culture when the planet needs us to make things to last. But don’t worry, we will be open tomorrow. When common sense returns.”

4. Patagonia

Don’t buy this jacket 2011

The first and most famous of all.

“It’s time for us as a company to address the issue of consumerism and do it head on. The most challenging, and important, element of the Common Threads Initiative is this: to lighten our environmental footprint, everyone needs to consume less. Businesses need to make fewer things but of higher quality. Customers need to think twice before they buy.”

5. Lush

Black Friday soap

Not an anti-Black Friday campaign as such, but rather a way to highlight their mission and what they stand for, cruelty-free brand Lush launched a limited edition soap in order to raise awareness of how perilously close to extinction orangutans are. Every penny from sales goes to the Sumatran Orangutan Society (I actually visited it many moons ago and it does amazing work).

At The Happy Startup School we help founders and leaders focus on what matters with less stuff and more experiences.