It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the Christmas spirit is back in town! With it comes a continuous stream of Christmas campaigns that you’re faced with in the streets, on your phone, on the radio - you name it.
So how ‘big’ are these Christmas campaigns? According to eMarketer, the total holiday retail spending in 2018 rose with 5.4% compared to the year before, reaching a whopping €895,74 billion. Although American initiatives like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are rapidly gaining ground at this side of the Atlantic, many companies still consider their Christmas campaign to be the most important commercialized fest of the year.
Whether you’re hunting for campaigns to benchmark your own, seeking inspiration to outdo this year’s idea in 2020 or just looking for a reason to smile, we’re sharing the elements of a successful Christmas marketing campaign based on 5 examples launched in 2019.
#1. Sky Telecom brings E.T. back to life
After three decades, Sky Telecom brings world-famous alien E.T. back on stage in their 2019 Christmas campaign. Their video ad starts off with E.T. meeting Elliot (played by original cast member Henry Thomas)’s two screaming children. The clip is a nostalgic sight for fans of the classic blockbuster.
In the video, Elliot’s family spends time with E.T. while demonstrating Sky’s different technology tools. Even though E.T. enjoys his time with his old friend, he starts missing his family, who’s far away from him. The main message of the story is to reconnect with your family. As a solution, Sky offers special deals to facilitate the connection with those far away from you.
The ads were released on Sky’s social media channels and appeared on their TV channel.
#2. Red Cross launches “Choose me” campaign
The Belgian Red Cross’ end-of-year campaign is called “Choose me”. It is aimed at consumers who don’t usually give to charity, for example due to lack of time. From December 15th until January 15th, you can buy products marked with the “Choose me” label - they’re distributed by retail partners like Coca-Cola, JBC, Starbucks and Lipton. Part of the proceeds of those items go to the Belgian Red Cross. The initiative lowers the threshold for the average customer to support a good cause in a very simple, accessible way.
#3. For Jumbo, it’s all about being together
Christmas is all about being together with family and friends during the holidays. This year, Jumbo launched a Christmas campaign in which they wanted to bring this message loud and clear. The result: a classic-feel good movie with a humorous touch.
The video represents an ordinary Dutch family, of whom the mother leaves on a business trip. While she’s looking forward to her me-time, her husband struggles with the Christmas preparations. In the end, he succeeds thanks to the help of his children (and Jumbo) - while the mother regrets being away from their family. The video has a happy end: the entire family enjoys Christmas together.
Jumbo's Christmas movie appeared on their YouTube channel and TV. They offered inspiration to their customers through recipes, tips and ideas in their shops, magazines, website and on their social media channels. In addition, they organized tastings to help their customers to set up their own Christmas menu.
#4. John Lewis & Waitrose teaming up for the holidays
This year, department store John Lewis & Partners launched their first joint Christmas advertising with supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners.
The short film is about the heartwarming friendship between the excitable dragon Edgar and a young little girl Ava, who gives him a thoughtful present to show how much she cares about him. The core message of the story is that a thoughtful gesture is worth cherishing; show your loved ones how much you care about them by making them feel special.
To leverage their Christmas story, John Lewis & Waitrose released a range of merchandise linked to the ad - from children’s pajamas to cuddly toys and gingerbread biscuits. In addition, they partnered with Snapchat to create a special filter (Excitable Edgar) and Twitter to design an emoji inspired by the enthusiastic dragon.
#5. Local hardware shop in Wales goes viral
A local UK hardware shop, Hafod Hardware, went viral thanks to an advertising campaign that cost merely £100. Their video features young boy Arthur, the son of the shop owner, and offers a peek into the day-to-day tasks at Hafod Hardware. The piece, which ended with the tagline “Be a Kid This Christmas” encouraged viewers to shop locally. A highly relevant message nowadays, proven by the recently elected word of the year 2019: “winkelhieren”.
The magical recipe doesn't exist
Although there might not be a magical recipe, these elements can help you to build a strong Christmas campaign:
- Translate your message into a story, preferably one with a human aspect - all of the abovementioned brands did this brilliantly. Jumbo, for example, clearly applied the storytelling framework: the main characters (mother/father) encounter problems (feeling alone/struggling with the Christmas prep); Jumbo then appears as a guide towards the successful solution (spending time together/cooking a delicious meal). Try to incorporate recognizable elements: it’s easier for your customers to relate to your offering when they’re faced with a situation they’ve already witnessed or are familiar with.
- Trigger emotions: whether it’s nostalgia, humor, happiness, sadness, guilt, ... Emotions are a powerful tool: they make your message stick. You can use a multi-layered emotional approach instead of merely playing on one; this raises the chance of your customers identifying with at least one of them.
- Use a multi-channel approach: share your message on as many channels as possible. Reformat your content: for example, create a short video of your orginal long one, or reuse your video content in a blog post. Dedicated campaign hashtags have become a common practice to gather all shared content, but John Waitrose & Waitrose took things one step further by designing an emoji and Snapchat filter.
- Partner with other brands or influencers with a broad network or fanbase: they help you to share your message to a wider audience. For example, the Red Cross teamed up with 4 world-famous brands; John Lewis and Waitrose extended their collaboration to a popular music band.
- And of course… a bit of luck will also help!