Tis the Season to be Ruthless; do retailers really need to ruffle our feathers on #BlackFriday?


It lurks round the corner like the Grinch behind a Christmas tree, awaiting the time when it can jump out and seize vulnerable shoppers. It pries on our ability to put off Christmas spending and forces us to part with our cash—and, yes, Black Friday is back again to haunt us. The day has seen retailers nurture their talent for sending us into a frenzy as we skulk through the months in the run-up to the festive season. Although we may try to suppress feeling merry and bright; to resist the temptation to put up the tree and nod towards Christmas, efforts to put the festivities on the backburner are quashed when we, ironically, reach a day that is anything but festive.

London, United Kingdom - December 27, 2014: People fight their way along a crowded Oxford Street, London, during Christmas time.

With the promise to save hundreds of pounds on must-have presents and oversized TVs, Black Friday has become a trigger to kick-start the shopping season. This year, however, certain retailers are wising up to the woes of the dark day by boycotting it altogether. The website, adbusters.org, is advising shoppers to avoid buying discounted gifts to ensure “the most joyous holiday season you’ve ever had”… and they’re probably right. It seems that the high-street shops set to swing open their doors in the early hours of Friday morning, such as Asda and Argos, to entice customers to spend, spend, spend are perhaps taking the wrong approach.

Advertising Black Friday this year has taken a different direction. Rather than reducing it to a mere 9-5 stint, major companies such as Amazon and John Lewis have said they launch weekend events, lasting up to four days in the bid to work up a tornado of panic. It is this tornado that causes shoppers’ desperation and probably even the in-store fights to break out.

Marks and Spencer has launched early deals such as their “gifting weekend” that lingers around Black Friday and John Lewis is fuelling the festive, money-grabbing tension by releasing advertisements for their Friday deals—scattering various “coming soon” banners around their website to keep us locked in suspense.

Although the festive season is definitely well underway, trees are up and turkeys have been ordered, listening to retailers such as Aldi might just be the best way to have a hassle-free yuletide. The “already discounted” supermarket is refusing to participate in the mayhem of Black Friday due to providing offers throughout the year.


Made.com have also taken a stance on Black Friday. “No thanks, Black Friday” is a campaign that launched to show how black is used in their everyday furtniture, playing on the fact that they do not need to run a Black Friday campaign to attract more attention or sales. The video has already had nearly 65,000 views and is a great example of how the brand are being slightly provocative in their approach to advertising.

So, it seems that since rampaging shoppers don’t entirely reflect the season of goodwill, businesses should perhaps do-away with the mayhem of Friday and ignore the anticipation of spending in the run-up to Christmas. And though you may be left sobbing over missed deals on Saturday (or Monday), at least you would have clung on to the last inch of sanity available throughout the stress of Christmas planning and shopping mania.

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Author: George Burton

George is studying English Literature at the University of Exeter. He is an adaptable, scriptwriting enthusiast with experience in marketing and the entertainment production industry. George is currently working as an intern within our creative team.


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