It’s just six years since Black Friday launched in the UK, but the retail event is now firmly a part of British culture, with everyone from tech companies to department stores cutting their prices in the last week of November.
Along with hefty discounts, Black Friday usually brings a deluge of promotional emails and social media ads from brands promising massive savings for a limited time.
This year, WWF UK decided to join in on the action, creating Facebook ads to promote a flash sale of ‘limited stock’. At first glance, this stock looks like the kind of items you’d expect to see discounted on Black Friday – a gaming console, a handbag and some blusher – but videos soon zoom out to reveal an image of a panda and a message urging consumers to adopt the animal (which remains under threat despite being recently taken off the IUCN’s endangered list).
The campaign was created after WWF approached Facebook with an idea to do something “disruptive” to mark Black Friday. It was inspired by the insight that UK shoppers spent over £2.5 billion during Black Friday week in 2018, which equates to around a quarter of all the money donated to UK charities in the same year.
With this in mind, Facebook and WWF worked closely with Facebook Creative Shop to devise a campaign that encouraged people to give to a good cause, while reminding consumers that animals – just like sale items – are in limited supply.
“WWF UK wanted a slice of the Black Friday action, but with a little twist on the concept,” explains Ciara Harrison, a Creative Strategist at Facebook.
“Taking the top three Black Friday categories – tech, fashion, beauty – we co-created adverts that look like typical ‘sale’ items with sale buzzwords, but you soon realise that the item with limited stock is a vulnerable animal,” explains Harrison.
Content was created in just two days using stock images and was optimised for mobile in line with Facebook’s best practice guidelines. Alongside static and video ads, Facebook worked with WWF to build a Messenger bot experience, where people could take a quiz to determine their spirit animal from a list of at-risk species. The experience ended with a message urging consumers to adopt that animal through WWF.
Created in a short time and on a small budget, the campaign was hugely effective, driving over 58,000 visits to WWF UK’s website and over 2,000 new adoptions. The charity also used the Black Friday creative to promote a Facebook fundraiser, which generated over £3,000 in donations.
By tapping into people’s desire to find a bargain and subverting typical sales ads, WWF was able to cut through the Black Friday noise and raise awareness of its environmental and animal protection work at a time when most people are more likely to be buying Christmas gifts than donating to charity. The campaign followed the launch of WWF UK’s Christmas campaign, created by Uncommon London, which encouraged consumers to ‘adopt a better future’ and protect vulnerable species including pandas, penguins, polar bears and leopards.
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