News & Views
Injecting humour into advertising

Black Friday has been and gone, and retailers are now gleefully analysing their revenue. One company is particularly surprised at its impressive Black Friday sales performance – as it actually raised its prices. As co-founder Max Temkin says: “Anyone can do a sale for Black Friday, but nobody but us could get away with raising their prices and risking a ton of sales just to make a joke.”

Cards Against Humanity is a party game with a tar-black sense of humour, and this is evident in its marketing strategies. For Black Friday, a day of crazed impulse buying brought on by widespread price reductions, Cards Against Humanity unveiled its “once in a lifetime” offer to customers, who were able to get their hands on the game for just $30. Which sounds like a pretty sweet deal, until you realise that for the other 364 days of the year, Cards Against Humanity costs $25.

“We initially started talking about doing a Black Friday sale over the summer, and came up with the idea of a ‘$0.01 off’ coupon,” writes Temkin on Tumblr. “I liked the idea, but have always maintained a policy of no deals, no discounts, and no sales for Cards Against Humanity, even during our Kickstarter. To me the game is always $25, it’s never another price, and doing any kind of deal or discount undermines the simplicity and honesty of the game… After some discussion, Ben came up with the idea of raising the price for Black Friday and that was so outrageous that I fell in love with it instantly.”

And the risk paid off in a big way; Cards Against Humanity outperformed their sales from Black Friday last year. “We kept our position as the best-selling toy or game on Amazon,” says Temkin. “My guess is that peoples’ buying decisions just weren’t that affected by $5. The interesting thing to note is that we got a nice life in our sales the day after Black Friday (“Regret Saturday”). That might be from people who were waiting to buy the game until it came back down in price, or, more likely, those are sales from people who heard about the game after our Black Friday press. Not bad for an ad that paid us to run it.”

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