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Best Black Friday campaigns – 2020 edition

black background with red sale tags

We’re taking a look back at some of the Black Friday campaigns that really smashed the ball out the park with their creativity in 2020. 

Brands, the countdown to Black Friday is well and truly ON. 

It’s no secret that the situation did look very different last year. Most if not all states in the US were grappling with some form of Covid restrictions, and the UK were in the midst of a full-blown lockdown during Black Friday and the weeks surrounding it. 

For many, Black Friday shopping took place exclusively online as a result, which meant brands had to get creative to really stand out from the (virtual) crowd. Thankfully, this year is looking a lot more normal than the last. So as businesses start gearing up for an exciting retail period, we’re reflecting back on some of the best Black Friday campaigns of 2020 – and why they worked so well. Enjoy!

Gymshark – epic video content 

Gymshark’s Black Friday sales are always highly anticipated by Gen Z gym fanatics (or those who just simply enjoy wearing gym wear as casual wear) – and it’s not hard to see why. 

As a brand, Gymshark has always been ahead of the game when it comes to digital marketing. They were among the first branch of brands to really leverage growth via influencer marketing and social media content. But perhaps an even bigger strength of theirs is creating the ultimate build-up to their biggest sale of the year – Black Friday. 

Their 2020 Black Friday sale campaign video carried all the excitement and power you’d expect from a powerhouse like Gymshark. Titled ‘Big Deal Energy’, the campaign video started with teasers, building up plenty of anticipation ahead of the big sale event. The campaign video also features some big names – including YouTube stars KSI, Behzinga and Calfreezy and includes a futuristic gaming scene and cool editing to show off Gymshark workout gear. It’s a Gen Z digital native’s dream! It even made our top Gen Z campaigns list.

Princess Polly – winning Gen Z on social media 

Having expanded into the US market in early 2020, Australian-based online fashion retailer, Princess Polly, saw impressive results during their first US Cyber Week working with Student Beans last year. They offered a special 30% off for customers during the big event, and featured heavily on the Student Beans website with promotional banners. They also ran a pre-Cyber media campaign – proving once more that starting early is key for this retail event. 

To engage with young consumers on and around Black Friday, Social extensions played a huge role in Princess Polly’s strategy. The strategy was executed with tight targeting and relevant content on Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok that was all unique to the Gen Z cohort. The brand saw an increase in revenue of over 1200% as a result. 

Princess Polly Black Friday campaign promotional banner

Walmart – putting the safety of their customers first 

It has been reported that last year, there was a 160.8% increase in usage of the word ‘early’ in posts and ads about Black Friday compared to 2019. Clearly, promoting sales early is an ever-growing trend, though not necessarily a groundbreaking prospect for Black Friday. However, spreading deals across a wider time scale instead of packing them all into one day or week is a fairly new concept, and one that Walmart adopted for their 2020 Black Friday campaign. 

Deals For Days signaled three different Black Friday sale events that happened throughout November – starting on the 4th, then moving to the 11th, and finally ending on 25th November. Each of the three savings events began online at and then continued into stores a few days later. Customers were also able to collect their online Black Friday orders through contact-free curbside pickup throughout the Deals for Days period – which took away stress associated with shipping delays. This deal was promoted on their Instagram channel – with a countdown strategy, a message from the brand’s Senior Vice President, and plenty of posts promoting what’s on offer. 
But Walmart didn’t stop there. To promote their offers even further, the brand launched #UnwrapTheDeals – an immersive, shoppable Black Friday filter that allowed users reveal the brand’s best Black Friday Deals and be in with a chance of winning them.

Walmart then took to TikTok to promote their new initiatives, partnering with six creators to demo the filter to TikTok users and share some of what was on offer for their Deals For Days sale. 100 TikTokkers won their Black Friday Deal.

Walmart’s goal was to promote a safe, convenient way for shoppers to take advantage of the deals while the pandemic was a concern. The brand showed care for their customers by putting them first in their strategy – all while embracing the digital and getting creative with their strategy. 

Best Buy – Black Friday in July 

As well as the usual Black Friday deals in November, Best Buy went one step further last year by promoting Black Friday deals in July. The brand offered discounts on open-box, clearance and other selected items. Perfect timing for Gen Z students with tech items and homewares on their Back to School wish lists! 

Whilst promoting early is definitely a bonus for brands, July may be a tad earlier than we meant. However, for Best Buy this was a great way to draw attention to their business and get consumers excited for what’s to come when the real Black Friday event rolls around. 

Plus, given the tough year that was 2020, a short, sweet and unconventional sale period during an uncertain time is just what the doctor (or student consumer) ordered. 

Looking to create a fire Black Friday strategy that appeals to Gen Z students? Look no further than our dedicated Black Friday Hub

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