‘Black Friday’ as it has been dubbed, started in the USA and is traditionally the day after Thanksgiving – ironically when everyone is thankful for what they have and couldn’t wish for any more – and the day that the Christmas shopping season officially begins. This ridiculous tradition has spread around the world, with numerous shops offering discounts and special offers, but there is another way! Adbusters started an international day of protest called Buy Nothing Day in September 1992, which is pretty self explanatory, which was then moved to coincide with Black Friday in 1997 and has continued ever since.
Christmas has been hijacked by commercial forces for decades, urging people to spend, spend, spend, so the idea is not to spend a single penny on anything at all on the 23rd / 24th of December, with some people taking it a step further by buying nothing other than essentials over the whole Christmas season, or only buying from local sources to support the local economy. With the aim not just to change shopping habits for one day, but to make people question their shopping habits and to hopefully establish a lasting lifestyle commitment to combat over-consumption with the knock-on effect of producing less waste.
Here’s a short playlist of some Adbuster videos and ‘uncommercials’, starting with the infamous ‘North American Piggy’:
Adbusters suggest a few activities that you could partake in, such as putting up posters, handing out flyers, organising a ‘credit card cut up’, a ‘Whirl-mart’, or even a zombie walk through, among many others. The names are pretty self explanatory, but for the uninitiated –
– A credit card cut up is literally just that, you get some people together and cut up your credit cards, or just ruin them.
– A Whirl-mart consists of a group of people pushing trolleys around in a conga-line-esque manner inside a shop while buying nothing.
– Similarly, a zombie walk through is when a bunch of people dress up as zombies and aimlessly walk through a shop / shopping centre.
For the full-size posters and some more info. see Buy Nothing Day on the Adbusters website. You can also submit your own poster ideas and get them featured on the website.