Best Black Friday Ad Leaks Examples That Can Make You SOLD OUT

Home eCommerce Best Black Friday Ad Leaks Examples That Can Make You SOLD OUT

We’re just a couple of months away from the biggest sale of the year. While consumers are getting ready for holiday shopping, marketers are also scratching their brains trying to come up with some different holiday marketing campaigns to stand out. Black Friday ad leaks are one such strategy eCommerce brands have been using to catch the attention of customers and take their sales through the roof. 

According to a 2015 study, email marketers have only 3 seconds and 12 words to capture the attention of their prospects. In a world where people’s attention spans are shrinking, doing something unexpected is the only way to catch attention. And a Black Friday ad leak is probably a very cheeky yet effective way to get that attention. 

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How Polysleep Pulled Off a Black Friday Ad Leak

Polysleep is a Canadian mattress brand making waves with its direct-to-consumer selling, unbeatable prices, and quality mattresses made locally in Canada. 

Their business story is truly striking. Everything from their Product Development and R&D to game-changing partnerships with retailers will have you astounded. 

But their Black Friday ad leak technique, in particular, made news in 2019’s holiday season. So, what did Polysleep do to get completely SOLD OUT before Black Friday even started? 

They Leaked an Email… On Purpose? 

Polysleep came up with a 20% off limited-time offer on 500 of its mattresses. 

That’s a good offer but nothing extraordinary – not the kind that’d make their followers go bananas. 

So, to hit different, they created a fake email thread between their internal team members. The emails referenced a Coupon Code that was about to go live for Black Friday. Then, they sent off this fake email conversation to all of their subscribers. 

The marketing technique hit home. In a few hours, all of their subscribers were scurrying to their website and using the “leaked” coupon code to order mattresses for their loved ones. Polysleep SOLD OUT all of the 500 mattresses before the big day and had to come up with another offer for Black Friday. 

Brooklinen Used a Similar Black Friday Leaked Email Technique

Brooklinen really knows how to buy attention. One brief look at their website had me impressed. 

This brand has an amazing personality! Everything from their web design and customer experience to website copy is so spot on. They say they’ve 90,000 5-star reviews and their sheets are the most popular ones on the internet. 

Getting to this point requires a brilliant marketing strategy and Brooklinen has pulled it off successfully. 

Their 2017 Black Friday ad leak technique in particular had marketers chatting about it for days. 

Another Leaked Email… With a Twist!

So, Brooklinen planned a usual Early Access email campaign for their VIP customers. But instead of sending this to their VIP customers, they faked an accident and sent it off to everyone on their list. 

The result? Well, everyone on their list felt privileged and clicked through to avail of deals they thought they received in error.  

A well-played marketing stunt, no doubt!

Costco Leaked a Black Friday Ad Too

Costco is another brand that built anticipation and curiosity by somehow ‘leaking’ its Black Friday ads prior to the occasion. The ads gave into what kind of deals would be there on Black Friday like $400 Big Screen TVs and $200 laptops among others. 

They also got this story covered by a news channel, creating more hype about the cheeky leak. The move ensured Costco stayed top-of-mind for consumers on Black Friday. 

Why Do Black Friday Ad Leaks Work So Well – The Persuasion Psychology Behind It

Why is it that when we’re forbidden from something, we have a more intense urge to do that thing? When we know something isn’t meant for us, our curious selves find it harder not to check it out and keep away from it. 

That’s just human psychology. And creative brands like Polysleep and Brooklinen used it to their advantage as a persuasion technique to sell out their products. Let’s dive deeper and see which persuasive techniques are at play here. 

Incongruity or Surprise

That’s what Seth Godin talks about in his book, Purple Cow. The book’s title is a “Purple Cow” in itself. 

Incongruity is about doing or saying something so extraordinary that it takes your prospect’s mind hostage, buys their attention in a noisy world, and gives you ample opportunities to sell. 

Getting their attention is the first step in the selling and by surprising them by doing something unexpected, you buy that attention right away. 

Imagine someone opening her inbox a few days before the Holidays and finds it overloaded with announcements and teaser emails. In all the flashy, emoji-filled noise, she spots a subject line that looks odd. That one email looks like it doesn’t belong in the Promotions tab. It gets her attention and she opens it and then what she reads in it is more surprising than the subject line. 

By surprising her, you take her mind hostage and increase your odds of making the sale.  

Curiosity at Play

Creating curiosity is another element that makes a difference between marketing that sells and marketing that’s ignored. 

Curiosity is when you see someone chuckling while reading a newspaper article. Even if you aren’t much of a reader, you’d definitely want to have a look at the article yourself, just to feed your curiosity.

Curiosity is when a child sees something new and shiny but is not sure what it is. You better be careful when warning the child to keep away. That forbidding warning can have the opposite effect and can drive the child towards that harmful stuff!

So, as a marketer, how do you create enough curiosity to catch your prospect’s attention and hold it long enough to persuade him to buy from you? 

In his paper, The Psychology of Curiosity, George Loewenstein concluded that information-gap can create curiosity. He suggested 5 elements that can create an information gap: a question or a riddle, a sequence of events with an unclear ending, a violation of expectation, not having information that others possess, and forgetting information that we once had. 

The leaked Black Friday email technique we discussed above is a violation of expectation. By creating curiosity, the email persuades the user to click through and check it out. 

Making it Sound Urgent 

By posing it as an accident, Black Friday ad leaks also create a sense of urgency. The user thinks: “If it was sent by accident, someone is going to discover it anytime soon and deactivate the offer.” Hence, the urgency and the sales hike. 


Catching attention is the first step in selling your products. No matter what email technique you use, do something unexpected and surprise your prospect to catch their attention. This particular technique where brands purposefully leaked their Black Friday ad is quite an effective strategy that can help you win sales. 

Maria Ilyas

A writer by profession, Maria Ilyas is an eCommerce and digital marketing enthusiast and is always digging into the latest marketing trends, best practices, and growth strategies.