Ferguson Protesters Aim to Influence Black Friday

Black Friday has existed as both marketing nirvana and the ultimate buyer’s vice for many years now. The holiday tradition has come under fire before for its role in American consumerism and its adverse effects on the brick-and-mortar shopping experience and staff. This year, however, Black Friday faces a potentially serious threat  by way of social media-imbued boycott.

The collective voice of social media—a voice that often catalyzes virality for brands—has rallied behind the hashtag #NotOneDime in response to a grand jury’s wildly unpopular decision to not pursue charges in the shooting death of Ferguson, MO teen Michael Brown. People have taken to Twitter to support, decry, or otherwise discuss a looming boycott of Black Friday, pilfering the #BlackFriday trending topic with images and rhetoric in direct contrast to the festive, urgent tones employed by some brands.

Whether or not a full-on boycott ensues, marketers should remain cognizant of the volatile nature of social media. This year has shown that whether it’s debate about Uber, critique of comedian Bill Cosby, or protests in support of Michael Brown, marketers are courting customers in a highly charged and passionate space. Users’ passions about a particular issue can quickly spill over and potentially affect brands, so prepare and act accordingly.

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