We’re Grateful for these Thanksgiving and Black Friday Campaigns

Though Christmas campaigns are usually the most award winning and heralded, there are also countless, amazing late November campaigns. Thanksgiving has many of the same themes as the winter holidays: family, the home, classic meals – and consumerism. Here are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving and (anti) Black Friday campaigns from over the years.

REI’s #OptOutside

Perhaps the most iconic campaign that has come out around Thanksgiving time is REI’s #OptOutside campaign that began in 2015 and continues today. Rather suggesting consumers shop on Black Friday, #OptOutside encourages consumers (and its employees) to spend time outdoors instead. Appropriately, REI stores would begin to be closed on Black Friday.

“Obviously at face value it seems crazy, but it was all about giving our people the day off and inviting others to join us,” said REI Senior Vice President and CCO Ben Steele. “Part of this job is about storytelling, but when you can take an action and show people rather than just telling them, it can be really powerful.”

The campaign reinforced the REI brand and, in the long term, drove additional sales.

#OptOutside took home nine Lions at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Coca-Cola’s Drinkable Place Cards

The year of 2015 was also huge for Coca-Cola’s “Share A Coke” campaign and its customizable novelty bottles. Coca-Cola began a campaign suggesting that instead of boring, outdated place cards for guests at the Thanksgiving table, hosts could signify someone’s spot at the table with a personalized Coca-Cola bottle. The highly Instagrammable posts were a hit with social media influencers and non-influencers alike.




American Express’ Small Business Saturday

In 2010, Amazon Express launched Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday is the day following Black Friday that encourages spending money at local, small businesses. The yearly full-scale campaign includes the wildly popular #shopsmall hashtag push, commercials, a website where small business owners can gather marketing materials such as logos, and more. AmEx also offers cardholders up to $30 back on purchases at small businesses. The cross-platform campaign not only supports communities, but also builds an image of the company as one that’s invested in people.

Stay tuned for our favorite winter holiday marketing messages in an upcoming blog post!