10 of the best holiday marketing campaigns from our favourite brands

It’s holiday season and customers are getting bombarded with marketing campaigns and clearance sales from all their favourite brands. So, how can you stand out?

We find out how our favourite brands did it with the top 10 best holiday marketing campaigns.

1. Ikea asks kids what they really want this Christmas

Ikea did an experiment and asked kids from 10 families to write two letters, the first letter was to The Three Kings (Santa) asking them what they wanted, the second was to their parents. Reading the letters with tears in their eyes, one constant emerged amongst the experiments, the children wanted to spend quality time with their parents. Tickles, soccer games, story times and playing cowboys. While, as parents we are searching for that perfect gift, this moving campaign showcases that sometimes the greatest gift is time.

Why it worked well: It tied in with the Christmas theme and spoke directly with stressed parents searching for the perfect material gift. Sometimes the best gift isn’t a present but is your presence.

2. Myer Christmas Windows

Being a Melbourne marketing agency, we can’t help not mentioning one of the most iconic Christmas traditions in our CBD. A tradition that is now 62 year olds, millions of holiday-goers and locals have lined up along Bourke Street Mall to get a glimpse at the animated Christmas windows.

More details about the event

Why it worked well: One of the longest standing Christmas traditions in Melbourne, the Myer Christmas Windows offers a festive activity that the entire family can get involved in!

3. Google’s Santa Tracker

Google’s Santa Tracker is a classic themed entertainment program that has been developed over the years. Kids and adults can watch Santa deliver toys around the world on Christmas Eve. Each day of December until Christmas Eve a new area of the Santa Village is unveiled which has its own unique activity that lets kids play, watch and learn. Over 150,000 visitors gather on the website over the Christmas period to follow Santa. Learn about the backstory of the Santa Tracker here.

Visit the Santa Tracker here:

Why it worked well: Calendars are great ideas to keep children interested and excited about coming holidays. Have you seen the Christmas calendars loaded with chocolates that can be unleashed each day? Well, this has taken it to another level with unique activities that can be enjoyed by kids and their parents.

4. The Starbucks Red Cups

Being coffee addicts we know holiday season has started when we see one of the iconic Starbucks Red Cups. Eager fans wait as Starbucks releases new coffee cup designs annually to celebrate Christmas. In 2015, Starbucks ran a #redcupcontest that encouraged fans to post their unique designs on social media to win prizes.


There’s even a countdown page dedicated to when the new red cups will be released!

Here are the 2018 Red Cup designs:

Why it worked well: This has become a holiday tradition. Each year, people are on the lookout for the latest design and count down the days until they’re released. Not to mention that being bright red (usually), they actually stand out quite a bit on the street!

5. A white Christmas with Coca-Cola

A magical moment between two countries 12,000 km’s apart, white Finland and hot Singapore.

Coca-Cola set up a live feed between the two countries to allow the people of Finland and Singapore to communicate in real time. To spice things up even more, locals in Finland could scoop up snow and put it into a machine which would prompt snow to emerge from the matching machine in Singapore. A heart-warming Christmas campaign to remember!

Why it worked well: One of the main themes of Christmas is snow but not all countries get it. Helping to connect a country that isn’t known for having a cooler climate really connects locals with the Christmas spirit.

6. WestJet Christmas Miracles

Another heart-warming campaign showcasing Christmas miracles. A memorable Christmas campaign spread across two Calgary-bound flights, 175 WestJet volunteers and over 250 travellers in Canada.

A live video link of Santa greeted passengers before they boarded the flights asking them what they wanted for Christmas. Passengers asked for all sorts of things from teddy bears to smartphones, little did they know though that when they went to collect their bags in Calgary a surprise was waiting for them!

Their initial goal was to hit 200,000 views on their Youtube video. It’s currently at 48,000,000 views. Talk about smashing goals. View the video here:

Why it worked well: Tugging on the heartstrings, this campaign was a great way to express the gift of giving in a unique way that only an airline could have approached it.

7. REI, Black Friday

“A cultural counterweight to Black Friday”. REI closed its doors on arguably one of the busiest retailer days of the year. A bold move to make a stand against consumerism, REI urged people to head outdoors instead of standing in lines looking for bargains, closely aligning with their mission statement “we believe that a life outdoors is a life well-lived”. The #OptOutside hashtag was used by employees and consumers to spread the message about their stance on Black Friday. This campaign was so successful that REI has closed its doors on Black Friday annually since its inception in 2015. Oh and they won’t be open this year either.

Learn more here:

Why it worked well: Closing on the busiest day of the year? This is an astounding campaign that has shocked customers and other retailers so much that it’s become a movement to get consumers to head outdoors instead of being stuck in lines waiting for bargains during what should be a festive period.

8. John Lewis, annual Christmas Adverts

One of the most anticipated Christmas ad traditions in the UK, you know Christmas is around the corner when you see a John Lewis ad. From trampolining dogs to a lovelorn penguin, you’ll likely find yourself watching one of these iconic tear-jerking videos and getting into the Christmas spirit. Here’s the 2018 Christmas advert.

Why it worked well: Only launching in 2017, these annual tear-jerking videos have quickly become a hit with fans. This is an example of a company consistently delivering high quality, relevant and well-timed content.

9. Getting into the Christmas spirit of giving with Macy’s

Macy’s partners with Make-A-Wish America to make more wishes come true. For every letter they receive, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million, spreading the spirit of the holiday season with the gift of giving back by creating experiences for kids with critical illnesses.

View the site here:

Why it worked well: Asking their customers to contribute by writing letters to Macy’s for a good cause is a great way to stay top of mind when Christmas season comes. Customers can inexpensively help contribute to a great cause while having some Christmas fun doing it!

10. TD Bank #MakeTodayBetter

One of the more generous festive marketing campaigns, TD Bank built a campaign that encouraged users on social media to submit an idea for a project to help people less fortunate. The winner was then chosen and had 24 hours and funding to make the project a reality.

See what they did with 24 people in 24 days across 24 communities.

Why it worked well: A well timed campaign that involves bettering local communities with ideas contributed through social media. Launching this campaign around Thanksgiving meant that it aligned with the theme of the holiday and changed the perception of their brand to become a company that cared about giving back to the community.

Inspired yet? These are a few of the best holiday marketing campaigns that we’ve seen and hope that they can spark your creative juices. Don’t forget the single most important thing about a holiday marketing campaign though – have a great time while doing it! It should be a campaign that you’re proud to be a part of.

Psst! Don’t miss our 2022 update on the best holiday marketing campaigns.

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