Amazon: The Home of Black Friday

Amazon showcases its products, technology and brings to life the brand itself for Black Friday 2018

by Sebastian Stone, Thursday 29th November 2018


Amazon showcases its products, technology and brings to life the brand itself for Black Friday 2018

Amazon’s ‘Home of Black Friday’ pop-up was back again this year, this time taking place in Shoreditch. The event which was held in a 10,000 square foot space featured eight themed zones including a kitchen and living room space, an immersive tech and gaming zone, a kids play area, two bedrooms with beauty and grooming parlours, a home entertainment theatre and an aesthetic bar. Amazon aimed to show off a whole host of products and features, as well as featuring brand partnerships with Samsung, Lego, Canon and Playstation to name a few.

The event which ran from the 23rd-25th November attempted to be as inclusive as possible, appealing to a wide age range and providing products and experiences for both genders. A live children’s book reading with Dermot O’Leary and live music helped achieve this.

From a retail point of view Amazon integrated their QR style ‘SmileCode’ which allowed people to quickly view any item on display through the Amazon app. However, this technology is nothing new, Tesco introduced ‘virtual stores’ into South Korea’s subways and bus stops in 2015, which allowed shoppers to purchase their weekly shop through the scan of a QR code for delivery directly to their home.

Amazon cleverly made this event highly ‘Instagrammable’, this was achieved by implementing a variety of immersive experiences, aesthetically pleasing environments and incentives which increase the likelihood of attendees sharing their experience on social media. Themed zones including a woodland setting where people are encouraged to take a photo on the swing, and another snowy winter wonderland room populated by Christmas trees, allowed attendees to become fully immersed in the event and forget they’re in the big smoke for a moment or two. Of course, selfies were not uncommon in this room…

A front of store view into the Amazon 'Home of Black Friday' event.

After making your way through the tech filled kitchen/living room and kids play area you arrive at the #AmazonBar, where attendees exchanged a drinks token for their favourite beverage. By sharing your experience using the hashtag #AmazonBar and #HomeOfBlackFriday, revellers were promised another drink on the house, result!

Amazon’s charitable angle on this event seems to be an attempt to improve the brand’s image. People attending the event are encouraged to smile into a camera while queuing for the event. Each smile equals one donation to Magic Breakfast, a charity who provide healthy breakfasts to vulnerable children in schools. This trend of placing interactive installations in high footfall areas has been adopted by other well-respected brands also. In October this year, the Moncler X Craig Green collection launch at The House of Genius store in Tokyo featured a hero image from the collection next to the queue, this could be brought to life using AR from the attendee’s phone.

Interestingly the pop-up event comes just days after Amazon accidentally leaked some customer’s data from the UK and US onto their website, resulting in vast adverse press coverage. Furthermore, protests popped up coinciding with the all-important and busy Black Friday for Amazon. In France, environmental activists dumped mounds of broken electronics at the French headquarters of Amazon on Friday, accusing the e-commerce giant of encouraging over-consumption while falling short on recycling. Amazon’s employees also took a stand, with 90% of workers at a logistics depot near Madrid walking out Friday morning which Amazon later claimed was not the case.

This leaves us with the question, to what extent do events such as ‘The Home of Black Friday’ cultivate a favourable brand image for brands such as Amazon?


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