Major holidays and festival dates are arguably defined these days by the songs, films and marketing campaigns that surround us. It was, after all, the Coca-Cola company who, in 1931, standardised the image of Father Christmas that we now take for granted.
For decades, massive TV ad campaigns would set the tone for the season, allowing the big beasts of the business world to shape these festivals in their own image. While you no longer need a suitcase full of money to position yourself in the forefront of customers’ minds, you can’t deny that these big companies know how to do it, and do it well.
These are our favourite examples of holiday-themed digital marketing from recent years. These can be easily emulated by businesses of all sizes, so read on to find the perfect model for your own seasonal marketing campaign.
For most kids, October 31st means an excuse to eat buckets of sweets. But to children's charity UNICEF, Halloween is a time when even the youngest generation can make a difference.
For almost seven decades, the charitable organisation has promoted their ‘Trick or Treat for UNICEF’ fundraising program. Armed with a UNICEF collection box, millions of children have gone from house to house asking for donations rather than sweet treats.
Now, let’s jump to Halloween 2019, when UNICEF launched its new campaign around four “hero” characters. Taking their junior fundraising program further, this campaign encourages children to fight for other kids’ right to childhood in areas like water, food, education and security.
This campaign from UNICEF not only highlights the power of empathy, but it also shows that you don’t need to be original to make an impact; developing previous ideas and republishing old content can still reach new audiences.
You hear “Bonfire Night”, you think loud noises. While for many people this is a thrill, for those of the four-legged variety, it is a high-stress situation that will leave them whimpering under the bed.
To protect the delicate dispositions of our animals, retailer VioVet focusses all its Guy Fawkes content on pet safety. Their annual email campaign provides customers with valuable information and support for looking after pets and farm animals on November 5th.
This educational emphasis not only positions the company as an authority on the subject; it shows how much they care. The fact that the newsletter also includes an overview of their product range is just a welcome, happy addition.
Whatever your size or industry, producing content that is educational or informative will help bring you closer to your customers. Do you have specific expertise you wish to share with the world? Try hosting a workshop event to create even stronger connections. Check out our piece on event marketing for help getting started.
In this extremely competitive media environment, tiptoeing around your market rivals is not always the best route. Just ask Lidl, who jumped right on the offensive with their 2018 Christmas marketing campaign.
In a rather inspiringly simple concept, the high street supermarket overlaid Waitrose and Marks and Spencers posters with a Lidl ad promoting cheaper prices. Rather than outright attacking the opposition, the campaign was all about getting the company’s message out there - that is, that customers will pay more if they shop anywhere else.
To add insult to injury, the German brand continued to parody and undermine its competitors on social media; for example, mocking the unpopular 2018 John Lewis Advert:
At the end of the day, your competition won’t hesitate to try and pinch your customers. While you don’t need to play dirty, it pays to be inventive with your marketing strategies and focus on what makes you the best. Parodies of competitors (and self-deprecating campaigns, for balance) on social media let you show off your sense of humour - just don’t overdo it!
Popular culture is, as they say, popping. With more pop culture content as ever before, brands are taking full advantage of fads and leveraging particular celebrities, TV shows and movies, to market their product and service.
Lagavulin whiskey banked on cultural phenomena when it came to their 2018 Christmas campaign. Putting their own twist on the popular “yule log” videos, the brand’s 45 minute video ad featured actor Nick Offerman sitting silently next to a crackling fire, taking slow sips from a glass.
If Nick Offerman (and his Parks and Recreation character, Ron Swanson) weren’t so beloved, those 45 minutes would have felt like the longest of our lives. Instead, fans of the show immediately understood how perfectly the ad illustrated not only Swanson’s love for whiskey, but for silence.
When it comes to your own marketing campaigns, leveraging nostalgia and pop-cultural references can help you make forge human connections with customers. Emotions run high at Christmas, giving you the perfect opportunity to play on people’s heartstrings as well as their funny bones.
Want to know more about giving your marketing a seasonal twist? We have more stashed away here: