Brands Boycotting Black Friday

Marketing | |

Black Friday is upon us, but not every brand is on board. With capitalism at an all time high, some brands are choosing not to participate in the craziness of one day of shopping.

We delve into the anti-Black Friday movement below.

First, Some Black Friday History

You may be surprised to know when the first Black Friday started.  The first recorded Black Friday dates back to 1869 – the day the US gold market crashed. Two financiers worked together to buy as much gold as possible, to drive prices up, so that they could sell it for high profits. On that Friday, they were found out, sending the stock market into free-fall and bankrupting a large number of people.

However, there are also records of Black Friday from the 1950s and 1960s in Philadelphia, US. People would travel into the city for the Army-Navy football game the day after Thanksgiving – meaning restaurants and shops were packed. Unfortunately, this made them an easy target for shoplifters, and so the day was coined Black Friday. 

Come the 1980s, the term went viral but with a new definition – shops made a loss the entire year and this day marked the first day of real profit – traditionally marked in black ink in accounting.

Whatever the true origin of the day is, Black Friday successfully crossed the pond to become a UK tradition too and is now a major day in the modern shopping calendar.

Brands Against Black Friday

Historically, these brands haven’t participated in Black Friday, or participate in a different way than the traditional raft of discounts by instead choosing to highlight a cause or sustainability. Here’s an update as to how they are participating this year.

Sitting Suits

Wearable blankets? Sign us up! Sitting Suits not only create the comfiest coats made from recycled plastic, but they are also boycotting Black Friday. They are passionate about not participating in overconsumption.


Brand Freitag is switching customers’ perception of Black Friday, by making a bold move and closing their store cash registers and making their stores into lending outlets. Customers can go in to store and borrow a bag, testing it out until 8th December – all free of charge. This encourages customers to try before they buy, because the effects of Black Friday are against their company beliefs.


Rather than running a discount for Black Friday, Lush have released an exclusive bath bomb, with 100% of the proceeds being donated to People vs BigTech – a movement that challenges the power of large technology firms.


British retailer Aligne is raising awareness for its Giving Tuesday, where they will be sending pre-paid donation bags within orders and covering the price of postage, to encourage consumers to donate items that they no longer need.


Although they are offering a discount, they are donating 20% net profit from products sold to support EOCA’s conservation efforts.

Conscious Buying on Black Friday

As a brand, it’s important to ensure that whatever you do for Black Friday aligns with your brand values, and tone of voice. Remember, what you do on these important dates, including Boxing Day and Thanksgiving, impacts your brand for longer than the day itself.

As consumers, it’s important to take a step back and ensure that if you do buy, you’re buying for good reason. Don’t go around willy nilly and buy everything in sight just because it’s got a big red sign attached to it. Make conscious actions – your wallet and the planet will thank you!

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Rebecca helps to keep the team organised and supports all of our clients with day to day activities and content. She also runs all of Ballyhoo's internal marketing.