Last year outdoor apparel brand Patagonia took out a full-page ad in the New York Times and other papers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday—the days around Thanksgiving that get the tills ringing loudest for US retailers—with the bold headline ‘DON’T BUY THIS JACKET’. Urging consumers to buy only after making a considered choice was obviously a risky move, but despite this, its sales were still up 28 percent on Cyber Monday. And, according to chief executive Casey Sheahan, who was speaking at the Better By Design CEO summit in Auckland today, this bold attitude permeates the brand.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are big days for retailers in the States—and, judging by some of the figures this year, the discounts offered up by all and sundry certainly got consumers to prise open their wallets. In times of economic stagnancy, the level of consumption is often used as a barometer for recovery. But, as this fairly brave print ad for Patagonia that ran in the New York Times shows, maybe less consumption is a good thing. Or perhaps it’s just a bit of cheeky reverse psychology in action.