1 year later: “Why I don't (still) oppose Black Friday”

Our unfiltered point of view on Black Friday this year, by Laure Bouguen, the founder of HO KARAN.

Our unfiltered point of view on Black Friday this year, by Laure Bouguen, the founder of HO KARAN.

Last year I wrote a mood post: “why don't I oppose Black Friday?”

We were in 2021, French e-commerce was generally in good health, and for the 2nd year in a row the pro-Black Friday (not always assumed) and the anti-Black Friday (adorned with their most beautiful green cape) clashed.

Collectives of companies born on the web had emerged: Green Friday, Black For Good, and each tried to show virtue by shouting to whoever wanted to hear it "we are against promotions, against overconsumption, against Black Friday”.


Advertising, a blind spot in corporate CSR policies

These dogmatic postures bothered me because they seemed to me to have geometry, or rather variable dates. The question I was asking myself: How was it possible to spend up to 40% of your turnover on advertising and promotions - on Google and Meta - 364 days a year, and be indignant about Black Friday?

After starting the process to certify HO KARAN Bcorp, the new fashionable CSR label, I realized a major blind spot: advertising and promotional expenses (typically selling constantly on sale) were never question. The choice of energy supplier for the offices was more important than the measurement of the expenses only intended to stimulate acrasia in consumers, this strange paradox that addicts know well, that of acting against one's best judgment. , to want one thing (a preserved planet, reasonable spending), but to do the opposite (over-consumption for example).


My wish: to include in the calculations of environmental social performance the % of turnover dedicated to advertising and promotions

The goal is to give consumers more transparency on the cost breakdown of the products they buy… and the systems they power, without knowing it.

The biggest French beauty retailers sell the vast majority of perfumes and care products at -25% and more all year round. Major fashion brands base up to 50% of their turnover on sales periods. Reductions therefore no longer have any meaning, they are now integrated by brands into the starting price of products to then make the customer believe that he is benefiting from an advantage.

Dance my article I shared the details of our advertising and promotional expenses by marketing division: direct advertising (google ads, insta ads, etc.), indirect advertising (editorial, blog, podcast, etc.) and promotions and purchase incentives (discounts on products , products offered, etc.). This imperfect nomenclature was intended to launch a discussion and challenge stakeholders such as BCorp or 1% for the planet in this reflection.

Following my article, several actors, mainly consultants and VSEs, had mobilized in favor of the creation of this tool. But for it to have any weight, the economic and political powers – those capable of influencing regulatory policies – need to seize it, and unfortunately that does not seem to be their priority at the moment. Because'action is sister to dream (Jacques Blamont), I will continue to share our figures with you each year.


What about our advertising and promotional actions in 2022?

Overall this year we spent a lot less on influence on social networks and a lot more on promotions and discounts with our consumers.

For a long time I was very reluctant to offer discounts on our products. The continual promotions that I currently observe make me question the perceived value of products and brands as much as the sustainability of our economy. Know that when we make a commercial offer it is a real effort on our margin. Some brands have more ability to show discounts, but what about the fairness of the initial price? For my part, I prefer to bring value to our customers with collaborations or new content such as The Great Study of Stress we're going out in a few days.

 

What about our advertising and promotional actions in 2022?

Overall this year we spent a lot less on influence on social networks and a lot more on promotions and discounts with our consumers.

For a long time I was very reluctant to offer discounts on our products. The continual promotions that I currently observe make me question the perceived value of products and brands as much as the sustainability of our economy. Know that when we make a commercial offer it is a real effort on our margin. Some brands have more ability to show discounts, but what about the fairness of the initial price? For my part, I prefer to bring value to our customers with collaborations or new content such as The Great Study of Stress we're going out in a few days.


Why is Black Friday not so decried this year?

A few weeks ago I wanted to mobilize companies similar to mine on the use of this tool for sharing advertising and promotional expenses, without success. The truth is, Black Friday and the promotional rush started in September, and selling has become a matter of survival for many. Like me, you have surely been receiving text messages and emails since the start of the school year mentioning “outlet”, “sale”, “last chance” from the brands you follow from clothing, to cosmetics and decoration. The markdowns displayed range from -20% to -60% and are no longer limited to sales periods or the famous Black Friday.

Why so many promotions? Because the year 2022 is very complicated for many e-merchants for multifactorial reasons, including:

  • the announcement of the war in Ukraine which caused Internet sales to fall in February
  • the costs of acquisition on Meta (Facebook and instagram) which have exploded - to blame according to some: the RGPD, the advertising escalation between brands and the downward trend in its effectiveness -
  • the reluctance of consumers in the face of inflation

The future is very uncertain for many brands and digital companies, and the question for them is no longer whether a Black Friday promotion is morally desirable or not, but whether it is possible to run an eshop other than 'with aggressive and continuous promotions.


Solidarity, our response to a difficult context

If our advertising expenditure has gone from influence to promotions this year, it is because we are well aware that the economic situation is complicated for our customers. President Emmanuel Macron scared the French by saying that abundance was over, and this shocking phrase went into the heads of the wealthiest. Many are now waiting for a commercial offer for non-essential purchases. I understand this need and that's why I don't want to get into a controversy for or against Black Friday. It is an indicator of an economic reality, and rather than criticizing it or praising it, I would like to use this mass event to promote positive and responsible brands, who defend French know-how, female entrepreneurship and who try to change things through sustainable and quality products. We thought with them about the best way to talk about consuming differently, lightly and without feeling guilty.

That's why we partnered with DLab, the food supplement brand created by Fleur Phelipeau, a fantastic entrepreneur who opened her own factory this year, with the ambition of reindustrializing France through beauty. We are preparing a surprise for you with The French Brief, which aims to relocate the textile industry to France, offers an incredible range of French hemp underwear and launches its citizen investment campaign on Lita. But also the brand Hopal which promotes consuming less but better by emphasizing the sustainability of its products.

 

Whether this Friday is black, green, or blue white red, above all we would like it to show solidarity, with you, whose purchasing power is undermined by the macroeconomic context, and with the French brands and companies that have committed to doing well.

 

By Laure Bouguen, founder of HO KARAN


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