Iain Moss
Iain Moss
Posted 22 October 2021

Turning Black Friday for good – 7 brands who used Black Friday weekend for good causes

Topics: Black Friday

Black Friday is right around the corner, and as usual we expect big discounts, and a huge flurry of sales. We recently asked marketers at US Fashion brands if they are discounting more now than last year, and overwhelmingly they said yes.

But given this heightened activity, some brands have seized the opportunity to highlight good causes, either instead of, or alongside some big discounts. If you’re looking for a way to do some good over this weekend, then here are some fantastic examples from 2020 to draw inspiration from. 

Combining discounts with donations

One option is to use the discounting period to add the option for a charity donation, either wrapped up in the order itself or as an optional extra. Let’s look at some examples. 

1. Finisterre

Finisterre is an ethical outdoor brand based out of Cornwall, in the South West of England, specializing in surfing. Given Finisterre is synonymous with its local area, it’s no surprise that they partnered with FareShare South West to help provide meals for local people in need over the winter of 2020. For each order Finisterre received over the Black Friday weekend, it donated £2 to FareShare.

If you look at the email, you can see how prominently this offer was made, alongside a 25% discount which undoubtedly brought plenty of donations to the charity. 

2. Pai Skincare

Pai Skincare is a London-based organic skincare company, whose mission is to create products that are natural, ethical, and sustainable. For Black Friday 2020, the team at Pai decided that for every product they would donate to a charity, in this case Black Minds Matter. Black Minds Matter is a mental health charity with a mission to connect Black individuals and families with free mental health services. 

This was coupled with a 25% discount, and Pai put this information prominently in several of its Black Friday and Cyber Weekend emails throughout the week, as well as promoting the charity on its blog. 

3. Baby Mori

Baby MORI is a baby and mother clothing and accessories brand that uses soft organic fabrics. MORI runs a scheme it calls ‘the kindness project’ where it extends the life of its clothes by allowing customers to donate pre-loved or unused clothing, which it then passes on to its charity partner Little Village to be used in its bundles.

On Black Friday 2020, if shoppers committed to a ‘kindness pledge’, which was displayed prominently in hero images, they could unlock an extra 20% discount on their orders and help fund the kindness project and make sure that mothers and babies who desperately needed clothes had what they needed. 

Black Friday or Green Friday?

For brands with a strong commitment to environmental issues, the phenomenon of Green Friday is becoming a bigger and bigger deal. Let’s take a look at some brands who use Black Friday to promote environmental causes

4. Pangaia

Pangaia describes itself as a materials science company on a mission to save our environment. Using innovative technology and bio-engineered materials, the team at Pangaia aims to use as many sustainable and recyclable elements as possible. Given the environment is such a key component of its brand, it is no surprise that Pangaia chose to partner with an environmental cause. 

Working together with the Tomorrow Tree Fund, Pangaia gives subscribers multiple options to contribute. From following and tagging on social media, to shopping, and even just directly donating. Any of these actions a consumer takes results in Pangaia working to plant, protect or restore multiple trees on their behalf. 

5. Vivo Life

Vivo Life specialize in 100% plant-based health and fitness products. During normal times, for every order placed on its website, Vivo Life plants one tree for reforestation. During Black Friday 2020, sorry Green Friday, Vivo Life ups the ante and increases this to 10 trees.

On top of this, consumers benefit from 15% off award-winning plant-based products, and Vivo Life also commits to 10% of net sales being given to a range of charities – Cool Earth, Born Free, and Help Refugees.

Vivo Life has really leaned into the Green Friday branding with its yearly campaigns and has taken the opportunity to really invest in different environmental causes.

Ignoring Discounts entirely

Alternately, some brands decide to entirely skip the discounting that’s commonly associated with Black Friday. For some brands, it is worth making a point about using the money to do good instead of chasing discounts. Let’s have a look at a couple of examples

6. ME+EM 

ME+EM is a womenswear brand set up by Clare Hornby who believes that modern women should not have to choose between quality and cost. Part of its ethos is about going direct to the consumer and avoiding the costs that come with middlemen. Another part is a lack of excessive marketing campaigns. If you’re feeling cynical, excessive marketing campaigns are essentially what Black Friday is, so it makes sense that ME+EM would choose a different route.

In particular, their team decided to almost entirely ignore the offers associated with Black Friday, and instead donate £20 from every order to the Prince’s Trust, a charity focused on helping young people. This message was included in a lot of ME+EM’s marketing emails, but also formed the basis of a dedicated email explaining the decision. This was a great chance to reinforce brand identity, as well as doing a lot of good.

7. Anya Hindmarch 

Finally, we’ve highlighted Anya Hindmarch before, but we wanted to bring it up again. Anya Hindmarch sent out an email with a personal note from its founder to explain the decision not to participate in discounting in Black Friday 2020. But instead, Anya Hindmarch decided to donate all profits over the weekend to the charity Voice for Nature. 

This was a central point of its Black Friday communication as you can see in the email below, and a great opportunity to state brand aims, and back them up with action. 

Feeling inspired? Think you might go green? Check out our other Black Friday tactics, and let us know about any ideas you have for Black Friday. 

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