Black Friday Marketing Emails That Didn’t Give Me A Seizure

Tis’ better to gif than to receive.

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Has nothing to do with this content, it’s just something cute I found at Target.

It was somewhere around Wednesday afternoon that I began to wonder if every “cyber week” email was going to require sunglasses to view. It seemed no brand was exempt, safe, or too cool to go full-color neon gif when it came to sale-focused marketing. I decided to keep my inbox peeled for signs of life, for those not drinking the discount Drano and use them as examples of how we, as copywriters, might rise above the heap. I didn’t find much.

I know we’re a numbers-driven lot, and I won’t say a 90% off subject line mention from Gilt didn’t catch my eye (my fingers were too slow to actually shop the sale, who are these sorceresses that buy everything before I can even load the page??), but as a marketer and copywriter I was looking for something different, something that might inspire me as I move forward to think about the months to come, and how I might editorially approach them for the company I work for. January and February are grim, I’ll take what inspiration I can find.

Tasting Room: Thanksgiving can be hard on your wine rack — restock now and get free shipping!

I do so appreciate honesty in copywriting, and I thought that in this subject line, Tasting Room did a delightful job of reminding me that I’m an alcoholic.

Crap Eyewear: 50% OFF: Our Crappy Thanksgiving Sale Starts Now!

One of the rare occasions when a pun is not only welcome, but refreshing.

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The Arrivals sent this, just this, to mention the extension of their Black Friday sale. No bells, no whistles, no cliche, and they mercifully spared us the gifs. I payed attention to this email. I still can’t afford their jackets.

Wildfang: WAKE UP! MEGA DEALS! Click now, nap later

Alright that’s cute. If you have to use the phrase “MEGA DEALS” (and you don’t), at least follow it up with a reference to how early you’ve sent the email. Which was like 7am.

Everlane: Skip The Sales. Make A Difference

Fluent City: Don’t buy. Give.

These two stood out obviously because they went a completely different direction altogether. I have no idea what it did for their sales, but I would certainly expect plenty of brand affinity to flow from it. As if I wouldn’t already lie down in traffic for Everlane…

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This was super cool. Cotton Bureau, who are solely responsible for my wardrobe of resitancewear, sent an email linking to OTHER BRAND SITES. They actually sent a marketing email to their audience and then didn’t use it to make money for themselves, but instead sent love to their pals. How fucking cool is that?

Betabrand: No Black Eyes This Black Friday

And lastly, actual humor. Tough to do during a highly promotional and expected sale weekend. There’s also something extraordinarily sad about the possibility of jokes like this existing in this country, but I digress.

In sum, this is hard. We as marketers are dealing with huge revenue goals and numbers that tell us consumers actually respond to promotional, highly garbage sales writing. What I hope we can do moving forward is dip our digital toe in the waters of testing language that elevates the landscape. We don’t have to take the used car sales approach to emails, an idea that’s unpopular, but that I’ll keep selling nonetheless.

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