7 festive marketing campaigns that you can learn from

Published: 17/12/2019

It’s that time of year again folks and you’re probably already sick to death of hearing Mariah Carey blasting out of speakers every time you leave the house. One minute you’re soaking up the last of the summer sun and before you know it, supermarket aisles are bursting with baubles and tinsel. But, whether you like it or not, the festive season is big business so you don’t want to miss out on your share. 

When you think about it, it’s little wonder companies jump on the Christmas bandwagon as early as they do since it’s predicted British shoppers will spend £446,000 on presents every minute throughout December. 

Clever marketing at this time of year can increase your revenue over the festive period, so we’ve put together the seven best marketing campaigns of recent years to get your creative juices flowing and ensure your Christmas campaign leaves your profits looking as bright as you know who’s nose. 

1. John Lewis

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ll know where we’re going with this one. John Lewis’s Christmas ads have become synonymous with this time of year, they’re eagerly anticipated and go viral year-on-year. 

One of their most popular campaigns featured Buster the Boxer and his trampoline (remember it now?). The film itself was hugely popular but John Lewis didn’t stop there, their campaign was multi-channel and included a virtual reality experience within their London store, a 360 degree YouTube film, and even a Buster the Boxer Snapchat lens. 

What’s more, there was even merchandise based on the ad up for grabs with the retailer donating a portion of the proceeds to charity, and who could say no to that? Well played John Lewis, well played. 

2. Starbucks

The coffee giant released its iconic Christmas cups back in 1997 and has since released new and highly sought after designs every year. Something so simple has turned out to be an extremely powerful tool - they’ve managed to create a unique brand tradition and consumers look forward to the new designs each year, with some websites even featuring a countdown to their release. 

And it’s not just the cups themselves but what’s in them that’s marketed wisely. Starbucks introduces new festive flavours each Christmas, such as gingerbread, cinnamon, and marshmallow, and consumers can’t wait to get stuck in. By cleverly building excitement for their products, the hot drinks champ boosts its marketing efforts even further. 

3. Google

Isn’t it annoying when someone’s good at everything? As well as dominating the internet, Google’s managed to conquer Christmas too with its ingenious Santa Tracker and since 2004, users have been able to follow the big man as he gives out presents worldwide.

While you’re using the tracker you’ll be able to access live updates directly from the sleigh and information about the cities they’re visiting. So, while the kids are absolutely enthralled by the magic of it all, adults are getting a good look at Google Earth and its features, clever hey?

Google’s Santa Tracker successfully markets its map services across multiple audiences, cleverly putting a new spin on an age-old tale and all the while putting its brand at the centre of the festive season. Genius. 

4. McDonald’s

As if we’re not all thinking about McDonald’s too much as it is (admit it, you want one), their 2017 Christmas campaign brought their brand into the limelight more than ever. The Reindeer Ready advert featured a little girl desperate to save a carrot stick for Santa’s reindeer and it proved so popular it’s been brought back for a second time. 

The fast-food giant didn’t stop there either, there was a strong tie to Snapchat within which users could play a ‘carrot run’ game and unlock a reindeer lens. McDonald’s even created a ‘Reindeer Ready’ app, allowing consumers to overlay images of reindeer in their own front rooms. 

Considering carrot sticks aren’t really the first thing that pops into anyone’s head when they think of McDonald’s, it’s a very clever way to attract attention from all ages and stick two fingers up to their junk-food label. 

5. Coca-Cola 

Holidays are coming, holidays are coming… you’re singing along, aren’t you? It’s probably the most instantly recognisable and legendary Christmas campaign of them all. So much so, many people believe hearing the familiar tune marks the start of the Christmas season. 

In fact, Coca-Cola has been widely accredited for defining how Christmas marketing looks and some even say they invented the modern image of Santa we all know. Does a campaign get more successful than that?

But the king of carbonated drinks hasn’t rested on its laurels. You might remember their ad ‘A Coke for Christmas’ from last year, and they also work closely with the charity FareShare in providing food to those in need over the holidays. On top of all that, the infamous Christmas truck now also embarks on a UK tour each year, attracting consumers desperate for a glimpse of the iconic vehicle and building excitement in the brand even more. 

6. Etsy

We’ve talked a lot about TV adverts pushing brand awareness so far, but Etsy’s Christmas campaign takes a different direction. Their Christmas Gift Guides have become a big hit with shoppers, offering help and suggestions based on a few bits of information. 

It’s pretty clever really, they’re not overtly pushing themselves or their products onto consumers who’re already bombarded with options, but they’re pointing them in the right direction which increases the chances they’ll buy something. They use Christmas to drive sales their own way.

7. H&M 

Back to TV adverts and H&M really hit the nail on the head with their ‘Come Together’ Christmas ad. The credits themselves were impressive enough (directed by Wes Anderson and starring Adrien Brody), but the story of a train conductor who threw a party for his passengers following their encounter with a snowstorm really pulled on viewers’ heartstrings and got people talking. 

Of course, it helps they have the budget to hire big names, but the success of the advert highlights the power of human emotion and how it can help a brand stick with consumers. H&M isn’t the only one to tap into this idea either, Apple’s ‘Misunderstood’ Christmas ad equally steeped in sentimentality and was also a big success. 

Want your festive marketing campaign to be a big hit? Here are our takeaways:

  • Use as many channels as possible (website, social media, emails, face-to-face)
  • Don’t forget the power of sentimentality
  • Come up with something that’ll generate interest year-on-year
  • Develop a campaign that’s relatable to multiple generations
  • Give your customers a helping hand finding what they’re looking for.

If you’re after a helping hand taking payments over the festive period, let us be the elves to your Father Christmas. From EPOS till systems and card machines to online payments and merchant accounts, we’ve got everything you’ll need to keep you ho ho ho-ing into the new year, so get in touch today on 0808 274 2017.

 

Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce

Copywriter

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