Black Friday Marketing: Influencers Boost Sales for Traditional Holiday Campaigns

influencer marketing black friday tiktok instagram

Black Friday Marketing Campaigns With Influencers

Black Friday is the pinnacle of consumerism, a day for brands to promote discounts and drive sales to kick off the vital holiday shopping period.

A study shows around 20% of annual retail revenue comes from holiday sales. With jewelry, department stores, and clothing representing the top three categories most reliant on the influx of holiday shoppers.

With COVID-19 in full effect, retail marketers must consider new methods, channels and strategies in order to market solely through digital and social media channels, break through the competitive marketing noise, and reach holiday consumers effectively.

We examine two recurring Black Friday campaigns and reveal how they are heightening holiday campaign success through strategic influencer partnerships.

REI’s #OptOutside Black Friday Campaign Echoes with Outdoor Influencers

REI influencers black friday

REI’s #OptOutside is arguably the most notable Black Friday marketing campaign to date.

Since 2015, REI has been closing its doors (and website) on Black Friday to encourage its shoppers to spend time outdoors and focus on nature instead of consumerism.

By shifting away from typical Black Friday messaging, and seamlessly upholding its company values, REI’s #OptOutside campaign became an environmental movement with tremendous impact.

The original campaign broke ground utilizing the company’s 12,000 employees as brand ambassadors, outdoor advertising, paid and earned media. The traction gained from REI’s 2015 PR stunt has transformed into a recurring national campaign with over 200 different non-profit partners.


  • To get American consumers outside to explore nature during the largest retail shopping day of the year.
  • Awareness: social media impressions & engagement
  • Increased UGC: In 2015, 1.4 million Instagram users posted content with the hashtag #OptOutside
  • REI opts to become a zero-waste company by the end of 2020


  • Channel: The original campaign heavily utlizied both Twitter and Instagram, REI’s 2020 #OptOutside campaign is focused on branded IG LIVE + Stories takeovers led by popular outdoors influencers and non-profits.
  • Key Influencers: Once reliant on store employees as brand ambassadors, REI now looks towards environmentalist organizations, non-profits, travel + outdoors influencers to amplify their campaign messaging.
  • Small scale, big Impact: REI taps into niche communities by partnering with nano influencers, micro influencers, and smaller-scale organizations in order to generate sizable influence.

REI nano influencer

REI’s partnership with nano-influencer and yoga instructor Adina Crawford received praise and positivity from the brand’s Instagram audience. All of November REI has partnered with smaller influencers to create authentic branded channel content and help build exposure and support for tight-knit social organizations as a part of their environmentalist mission.


  • The chosen influencers authentically uphold the brand values of the campaign which leads to successful, impactful content.
  • Cognizant of COVID-19’s impact on social media, REI transformed their Instagram account to a video channel of informative content from outdoor influencers and adventure experts.
  • By broadening the messaging to include environmentalist objectives, REI expands the campaign involvement for environmentalist organizations and nonprofits.
  • The coined hashtag “#OptOutside” has become so popular with outdoor enthusiasts, there are already 16.4 million hashtag views for #OptOutside on TikTok (a channel REI has not yet developed brand presence on).

Walmart Unwraps Black Friday Deals on TikTok with the Biggest Creators

Walmart influencer campaign black friday

America’s largest retailer Walmart has become synonymous with Black Friday due to its low-cost positioning and its competition based “early bird gets the worm” shopping environment.

In 2019 Walmart became one of the first notable brands (amongst Kroger, Gymshark and other pioneering brands) to advertise on TikTok.

Walmart launched the #DealDropDance, a Hashtag Challenge Plus campaign that allowed users to shop products on Walmart within the TikTok app. Partnering with six top dance creators, the TikTok campaign hashtag generated over 3.6 billion views and collectively reached over 17 million TikTok users.

Building on the previous year’s TikTok success, Walmart launched its #UnwrapTheDeals Black Friday campaign with notable modifications to emphasize online shopping convenience amid COVID-19.


  • To engineer campaign and platform features in order to prioritize convenience for 2020 shoppers.
  • Engage with Gen Z and millennial shoppers to generate product awareness

  • Channel: TikTok
  • Key Influencers: Walmart partnered with six diverse comedy and entertainment influencers. Among the six chosen was powerhouse creator Zach King, bringing the potential audience reach to over 74 million users.

walmart black friday influencers

Walmart partnered with TikTok comedian @muslimthicc to showcase their AI filter Black Friday deals. The campaign also featured TikTok influencer family, The J Family. By broadening its campaign target demographics from its previous Gen Z-focused 2019 Black Friday Campaign, Walmart is able to extend its reach and diversify the potential consumer TikTok audience.


  • Walmart’s 2020 #UnwrapTheDeals campaign generated more reach, comments and views than its 2019 Black Friday TikTok campaign.
  • Within the first two days of the campaign, the hashtag #UnWrapTheDeals hit over 4.4 billion views. The influencer-generated content had an average 10.3% engagement rate, roughly 2% higher than the previous year’s.
  • Expanding the influencer categories from dance to entertainment and comedy allows the retail chain to tap into different target audiences.
  • The brand-made AI filter showcases Wamart’s active Black Friday Deals in an interactive way that’s both convenient for the consumer and keeps the campaign centered around the featured products.
  • UGC: The AI filter was a hit with TikTokers as more than a thousand users posted their own videos with the interactive Walmart filter.