Originally a US import, Black Friday has become firmly embedded in British culture over the course of the last few years. More recently, however, there has been somewhat of a backlash against the annual retail free-for-all.
Recent examples of retailers and organisations taking a stand include Patagonia’s 1% for the Planet stunt, which saw it give away $10 million worth of profits taken on Black Friday, and WWF’s flash sale of ‘limited stock’ – which turned out to be endangered animals in need of adoption.
Freitag’s sustainability message is at the heart of its range of recycled bags, so it’s unsurprising that the Swiss retailer has never felt the need to jump on the Black Friday bandwagon previously.
Last year, it decided to go even further and actively take a stand with SWAP, or Shopping Without Any Payment. The anti-Black Friday campaign centred around a Tinder-style bag exchange between existing Freitag customers.
This year, SWAP is back and bigger than ever, as Freitag plans to shut down its entire online store on Black Friday. Instead, visitors to the retailer’s site will be redirected to SWAP in order to exchange their pre-loved bags and satisfy the urge for something ‘new’.
“As long-lasting as our bags are, we understand that sometimes a bag owners’ needs and styles might change over the years. So, we wanted to create an initiative that got our customers thinking in cycles – exchanging their bags instead of automatically buying new ones,” says Freitag’s head of communications, Elisabeth Isenegger.
“We didn’t want to start talking about extending the life cycle of a product in a way that felt too educational – we believe a message can have more impact if you manage to do it in a fun and entertaining way. That’s why the idea came up to create a dating app-style bag exchange that allowed customers to swipe and swap their bags with other Freitag bag owners.”
To take part in the initiative, customers need to register at least one product and activate it for SWAP-ing. You’ll then be able to view other swappable bags; if you like a bag and want to trade it for one of your own, simply swipe it to the right. If you don’t like it, swipe left until you meet your bag match.
“We hope people like our take on discounts,” says Isenegger. “In a way, Freitag presents the best Black Friday deal of all – through SWAP our bags are 100% off, with 0% resources wasted. And through this, we hope to initiate a discourse about today’s consumer behaviour.”