Black Friday was a deliberate invention of the National Association of Retailers. It was not only the perfect way to promote stores during a super slow news day, but had the side benefit of creating a new cultural norm.
Any media outlet that talks about Black Friday as an actually important phenomenon is either ignorant or working hard to please their advertisers.
Retailers offer very little in the way of actual discounts, they expose human panic and greed, and it’s all sort of ridiculous if not soul-robbing.
Sixteen years ago, Jerry Shereshewsky helped invent a concept called ‘cyber Monday’ as a further expansion of the media/shopping complex mania. It was amazingly easy to find people eager to embrace and talk about the idea of developing yet another holiday devoted to buying stuff.
Here are some of the steps involved in creating a marketing phenomena like this:
- Find something that people are already interested in doing (in this case, shopping)
- Add scarcity, mob dynamics, a bit of fear (use discounts, limited time frame)
- Repeat the meme in the media. Press releases etc
People like doing what other people are doing. People don’t like being left out. The media likes both. Black friday is a perfect combination.
Black friday is a scam, it perpetuates consumption habits and leads to unconscious consumption. Don’t let someone else scam you into being unhappy just because you are not going to buy anything on friday.
A sale is not a sale if you were not planing to buy.