Why Best Buy turned Black Friday into a whole month

The retailer's holiday campaign began earlier than ever, letting consumers know there's no rush to get in-demand products and deals.
Screen Shot 2020-11-06 at 10.28.43 AM

Best Buy is in market with its holiday campaign earlier than it’s ever been ahead of Black Friday, launching this week to diffuse in-store crowds associated with holiday shopping and the annual sales event in particular.

“We have run Black Friday pricing and promotions in advance before, but this year because of COVID, we have taken that to the next level,” says James Pelletier, director of marketing for Best Buy Canada.

Pelletier tells strategy that this is the earliest its ever started with event pricing on key products – treating November as “the month of Black Friday” – in order to limit a really high impact traffic day in stores by stretching out the event for the safety of guests and staff alike.

Apart from reducing the urgency of jumping on a deal, the electronics retailer’s holiday campaign – led by Union – reinforces the safety message with a mom buying Christmas gifts online and picking up in-store. The spot then shows her and her daughters frolicking with the latest tech gadgets, like Roombas, GoPros and drones.

In the coda, there’s a call out for a “Black Friday Price Now” Samsung QLED TV as well as its newest tagline: “the gifts that everyone is looking for.”

The target audience remains tech enthusiasts, he says, which as a whole tends to spend more than others on tech and frequently gets help from the brand’s Geek Squad experts. The tagline, however, “the gifts that everyone is looking for,” reflects the brand’s position as a mass market consumer electronics retailer.

“Our brand mantra is to enrich customers’ lives through technology, and that is more relevant now than ever with COVID, working from home, staying connected, entertaining yourself at home,” Pelletier says.

The campaign is a slight departure from previous holiday campaigns, which have taken a less product-focused approach in favour of focusing on the emotion of the season. In the fall, ahead of back to school season, Best Buy shifted its focus slightly toward highlighting its product assortment, including items not typically associated with the brand like musical instruments, small appliances and Fitbit devices.

Even though this campaign seems more geared towards customers that are looking to find exactly what they are looking for in an efficient way this year, Pelletier insists assortment and showcasing the latest tech has always been one of the brands three pillars, alongside in-store experience and knowledgeable advice.

Now, given the pandemic, Pelletier says there is more advice being given online courtesy of chat support with its “blue shirt” staff. Pelletier maintains that the blue shirts are still the personification of the Best Buy brand, but that it’s pulling back a bit from that in its marketing for the time being, as shoppers aren’t seeing them as much in stores.

When COVID first hit, Pelletier says, Best Buy dialled back the retail and promotional messaging. But, he adds, Black Friday has been growing in prominence in the last few years, and is now equal to or even greater than even Boxing Day in importance. With its in-store safety protocols, expanded ecommerce capabilities and messaging letting customers know they can take their time to get the best prices, Best Buy can talk about its promotions without creating a shopping experience that will trigger consumer anxities.

In its latest quarter, Best Buy beat analyst estimates with 9.4% revenue growth, primarily thanks to sales in Canada and helped by triple-digit increases in online sales across nearly every category.

The holiday campaign includes TV, pre-roll and social elements. Media was handled by Media Experts and Best Buy Canada’s internal digital team.