Black Friday

November 22, 2015

How To Avoid Black-And-Blue Friday — And Make One Present Give Twice

by Freddy J. Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + No Relation To The Grinch; photo by Powhusku from Laramie, WY

Marketing regularly churns out some seriously heinous jargon, such as “mocial” (the mutant spawn of mobile + social), “best of breed” (good for describing dogs, absurd for products and services), and “authenticity” (not a bad word in itself, but oh how it’s misused).

With Black Friday lurking around the corner, the scariest marketing term is “doorbuster” — used to describe a deal so irresistible that you’ll want to break down the door to get at it. Now, that term might have been cute… slightly… a little… or maybe not… years ago, but since people have actually been killed by Black Friday stampedes, “doorbuster” is in horrific taste today. Any retailer who uses it for brick-and-mortar sales is essentially inviting violence.

Plus, if you’re concerned about the true spirit of Christmas, what marketing word could sound less spiritual? The materialistic frenzy leading up to December 25 — including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all related shopping orgies — is the true “War On Christmas,” NOT whether you say “Happy Holidays” (or nothing at all) on a coffee cup.

So if all that bugs you, but you still have to give Christmas presents, here’s a friendlier Black Friday alternative.

Sea Shepherd giftsTo honor the spirit of the holiday and avoid crowds mobs, simply buy from your favorite charity. This could be your favorite animal rescue, arts organization, national park, college, church, or even struggling independent artist/writer/musician. Many of them sell merchandise, both physically and online. Think of the benefits:

  • You financially support their cause (hence, you’re giving twice with one present).
  • You spread awareness of this cause, particularly if the product is branded.
  • Your gift has meaning, at least to you, and that makes it more thoughtful overall.
  • Your shopping activity on their website helps their SEO (bet you didn’t think of that one).
  • You avoid most crowds, and most likely any stampedes.
  • You feel great about all the above.

What if you need a more commercial present like, say, a videogame? A couple of online options share a little to charity:

  • AmazonSmile: Same format and selection as Amazon’s regular site, but 0.5% of your purchase (exclusions apply) goes to the nonprofit of your choice.
  • Amazon Success Stories: Amazon also features artists, entrepreneurs, and others who have overcome incredible odds, along with the products they’re selling.
  • Goodshop: This is a collection of affiliate links to a variety of online retailers. Start here instead of going straight to the retailer’s website. A small percentage goes to the charity of your choice.

By the way, all these options are available year round for any gift giving or self indulgence. Indeed, if all the college students in America would buy their wickedly expensive textbooks from AmazonSmile instead of just Amazon, they could make some charities very happy.

Above all, by shopping in support of charities, you’ll support another worthy cause: marketers who don’t use the word “doorbuster.”

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Freddy is the Founder & Creative Strategist of Atomic Tango. He also teaches at the University of Southern California (go Trojans!), shoots pool somewhat adequately, and herds cats. Freddy received his BA from Harvard and his MBA from USC.

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