holiday marketing campaigns

12 Stellar Holiday Marketing Campaigns

  • December 19th, 2014
  • Erik Larson

12 great campaign ideas to bring your brand a little holiday cheer

We are now well into the holiday season; according to a few songs, the most wonderful time of year. I am sure most of you have seen quite a few holiday marketing campaigns lately. Because of the massive spending going on, there’s quite a few companies trying to get your attention.

But what about your business? What are you guys doing? Slapping a ribbon and some holiday decoration on your campaign doesn’t make effective holiday marketing. Big brands are aiming at the consumer’s emotions with holiday marketing campaign that tells stories of love, family, friendship, giving, and all the warm fuzzy feelings associated with the festive season. It’s a season of giving, so rather than telling your target market how your product or service benefits them, tell them how it helps the person they are buying for.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what makes an effective holiday advertisement. We have compiled a list of 12 stellar holiday marketing campaigns. The list includes traditional TV advertisements, a few social media campaigns or campaigns from both platforms.

Enjoy!

TD Bank’s Holiday Campaign – #MakeTodayMatter.

TD Bank has released a video that showed the company giving $30,000 to 24 people in 24 communities in the United States and Canada. These recipients had one day to figure out how to give the money back to their communities. This video shows the true spirit of the holidays, which are all about goodwill and giving back. Tying the banks campaign to a sign of goodwill is a great brand move. The video is also quite easy to watch and conveys the messages of the holidays, and it’s not just about pure consumerism.

John Lewis – Monty the Penguin Christmas advert.

Cutest penguin ever. This ad has been dubbed the most compelling festive season ad of the year. It’s enjoyable, it’s got a warm feeling, and it brings back how magical the holidays seemed when we were a child. Throw in a toy, and John Lewis (who sells toys) crushes the competition with this ad.

Harvey Nichols – Could I Be Any Clearer?

Everybody has had their fair share of unwanted gifts. Harvey Nichols ‘Could I Be Any Clearer? Christmas Card’ is the best way to make sure you get exactly what you want. This advert is good because it is playful, honest, and memorable. Most importantly, this ad is offering a service to help people avoid unwanted gifts and advertise their products and services at the same time.

Barnes and Noble’s – Big Holiday Campaign.  

This teaches one of the best lessons to learn about holiday campaigns. It basically reiterates that nobody shops for themselves in the holiday season. Barnes and Noble’s campaign: “A book is a gift like no other” and “A book is a gift they’ll remember”, shows that the focus is on the persons who received the gift, not the person who bought it. It’s basically saying, come into Barnes and Noble, and you’re going to find a gift. Great campaign.

Apple’s – Misunderstood Campaign.  

This was Apple’s holiday campaign from last year, but it was so good that I cannot just leave it out of the list. Apple has done a marvellous job to distance themselves from the commercialization of the holidays to focus on family. It’s an ad about a teenager who is seemingly stuck on his iPhone, missing all sorts of great family moments. In fact, he’s actually been making a video of his family on his iPhone. The result is a very well made advertisement. It also shows how to sell a product without overtly selling it. Apple shows what their product can do, and at the same time blend it with a sweet family holiday message.

WestJet Christmas Miracle – Spirit of Giving.

WestJet taps into the seasonal spirit of charity with its annual Christmas Miracle campaign. The campaign is showcasing WestJet’s efforts to bring a snowy Canadian Christmas to a poorer community in the Dominican Republic. This campaign used an online video platform and stir away from traditional glossy brochures and TV ads.  We like this ad because this campaign was an extraordinary idea that took extraordinary effort.

It brings acute awareness that some children won’t get anything from Santa this year and at the same time, remind us how fortunate we really are. The holidays are a time of giving, not just to those we love, but also to those in need. It’s a little gimmicky and requires a big budget, but for these poor people in Dominican Republic, this campaign made their wishes come true. Even sceptical consumers would be inspired by that generous gesture.

Old Navy – #OneMillThrill.  

In this campaign, Old Navy gave the first 100 shoppers in line at every store in North America the chance to win $1 million. Old Navy used a twitter hashtag, #onemillthrill, for the campaign. Customers twitted it out, shared and interacted with the company to make sure they were in the running. The #onemillthrill campaign was considered a success as it added incentive for customers to rush to Old Navy. By doing their give-away to loyal customers, it also demonstrate that they appreciate their customers and want to give back as well. The use of social media is a smart way to expand the campaign for wider audience as people posted pictures and updates about their experiences standing in line.

This was used around Thanksgiving, but a similar campaign could be used around Christmas time.

Macy’s – Believe Campaign.

This year, Macy’s continues their charitable attempt by encouraging their customers to write letter to Santa. Each letter received by Macy’s will then be matched with $1 donation to a charity. There’s nothing fancy here, it’s a very safe campaign that won’t have everyone talking. However, by doing so, Macy gives a much needed donation to charity, and it leaves a tradition that promotes the brand in a cross-generational way.

Coca-Cola – ‘Make Someone Happy’.

This campaign aims to inspire people around the world to look beyond the presents and “Make Someone Happy” in small but meaningful ways. This ad is another feel good ad that encourages people to embrace the spirit of the season and show how the act of being generous can have a powerful, positive impact on others that lasts long after the Christmas holidays. And a great song by Jimmy Durante.

Thomas Cook ‘Real Good Times’.

Thomas Cook has drawn inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram for this year’s Christmas booking campaign. ‘Real Good Times’ campaign is based on its own customer insights. This is part of the company’s wider attempts to put customers at the heart of its business. We liked this campaign as it shows the willingness of Thomas Cook to switch into new technology in order to remain relevant to their customers.

Boots UK – #SpecialBecause.

This campaign surprises Twitter users with unique Christmas gifts around the country. Video edits of these surprises are being uploaded to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to further intensify the campaign. #SpecialBecause was set out to inspire customers to celebrate special people in their lives by sharing the reasons why they are special. The response for this campaign was incredible. This contest gave Boots not only hefty amounts of traffic to their social sites, but also garner loyal followers and even customers.

TJ Maxx – Surprise for Everyone.

This advertisement is about as traditional a holiday campaign ad as you are likely to get. It looks great and it is fine for what it is. It also gives you the warm and safe feeling of holiday season.

We hope you enjoyed this review of holiday campaigns and get inspirations from them. Can you think of any other great holiday campaigns? Please share them with us in the comments below!

About the Author

  • Erik Larson

Erik Larson frequently writes for Lendio about SEO, Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Business Loans, and whatever else strikes his fancy. He can be found on and Twitter.

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