How Birchbox Played Black Friday Right With a Sweepstakes
Heather Taylor

It was advertised as “your easiest Black Friday score”, both on the company website and within newsletters that went out to all subscribers of the popular beauty sample insider site Birchbox. The Birchbox “Black Friday Sweeps” offered up one $500 gift card, 10 $100 gift cards, and 100 $25 gift cards, all to be used within the Birchbox shop,  to anyone who clicked on the link provided in the company newsletter and entered their name and email address into the form provided.

Granted, the site doesn’t guarantee that every person entering could be a winner, but that comes hand in hand with participating in sweepstakes of any sort. Though in the case of Birchbox, the odds are stacked further in your favor if you regularly shop with the site – for every product purchased in the Birchbox shop, an additional 10 entries to win were tossed into the online lottery under your name.


In my opinion, Birchbox played Black Friday right. It’s definitely more of a gamble to fill out some online forms and hope that a random drawing results in something, anything, biting back. For the thousands of Black Friday devotees waiting in line for deals and doorbusters on Thanksgiving evening, it may seem completely ridiculous to bank on something that may possibly deliver without really knowing if you will win or not. But for Birchbox, it’s the not-knowing aspect that made for a savvy couple of days in the Black Friday sweepstakes.

No Sense of Urgency Required

The latest date that one could enter the sweepstakes was up until Sunday November 25th at midnight. (Sorry, everyone!) Up until then, entries could be submitted at your leisure. There was no rush to get to a storefront nearest to you by a specified time, no worry that complimentary tote bags of samples would sell out – Birchbox is already a company all about sending out exclusive samples as it is! The idea was that you could enter the sweepstakes while still in your pajamas, only needing just a couple of minutes and probably while simultaneously working your way through some Thanksgiving leftovers, and not need to worry about leaving your family or the couch behind for a 3 AM wake up call to stand in line at a department store. Take your time, unwind, and don’t feel pressured into a shopping frenzy seemed to be the unspoken motto here.

Psst – The Secret of Getting More Entries Is…

… really quite simple. With every one item purchased in the Birchbox shop, an additional 10 entries in your name were submitted. Consider if you bought five items from the shop for stocking stuffers. That’s 50 more entries and 50 more possibilities that you have a chance to get a gift card with. And the numbers can only go up from there, especially if you’re shopping for a beauty junkie.

Brought Back the Holiday Spirit

This year more than any other year, Black Friday lost whatever mystery it might have had surrounding it. Deals and steals were announced early online and the night before Thanksgiving, a series of nonstop clothing emails hit my inbox in rapid succession, boasting more free goodies with purchase, more free shipping, and more discount codes. I wish I could have said it made me excited, but it didn’t. If anything, all of the discount emails bled together in one big, unidentifiable heap, no matter how many free slippers or tote bags were included. Birchbox stood out from the crowd in not offering any of that, but offering something different. Something that felt like fun to participate in and enjoy – something that dare I say it (I do dare) felt like the holidays! If but for a moment, the sweepstakes and the possibility that I could be a winner within them, took me away from the rest of the carefully planned marketing campaigns behind every other brand doing it exactly alike.

I might be a winner and I might not win. But it’s the not-knowing aspect, in a social media world where every response is so consistently regulated and examined for analysis that truly brought out the holiday spirit from within me.

Heather Taylor is a social media manager for, freelance writer, and blogger who writes and muses on social networks, business, and fashion and the occasional combination of all three. She has had her written work published with Yahoo! Shine, Forbes, Social Media Today, BettyConfidential, HelloGiggles, The Huffington Post, and more. Contact her on Twitter @howveryheather or directly email
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