With the holidays fast-approaching, now is the time to harness your festive spirit and turn it into a successful holiday marketing campaign that captures the attention of your audience.

This is an exciting time for marketers and business owners alike, as a good holiday marketing campaign can go a long way to keeping your brand top-of-mind, building trust with your audience, and establishing positive associations with your brand.

If you haven’t already outlined your holiday marketing campaign, it’s not too late. Today we’ll be exploring our top holiday marketing ideas for 2020, and revisiting some of our favourite festive marketing campaigns to inspire you this holiday season.

1. Make it fun

The holidays are a time for fun and laughter. Holiday marketing campaigns that allow people to get a little silly are a great way of spreading Christmas cheer in 2020. Consider gamifying your marketing campaign, or find a way to help your audience get a bit creative as they engage with your brand.

Office Depot – Elf Yourself
Who could ever forget the ‘Elf Yourself’ Campaign of 2006? This delightfully festive campaign allowed children and adults alike to upload their photos and create little elf versions of themselves. Rather than aiming to make sales, the Elf Yourself Campaign focused on building brand awareness and showing a cheekier, more fun side to Office Depot.

And it worked! 14 years later this holiday marketing campaign is still going strong, now featuring an app, the ability to print seasonal greeting cards, and even expanding into Augmented Reality.

2. Bring people together

Christmas is about coming together and celebrating the holidays with family and friends. 2020 has been a difficult year for many, and businesses who can offer a safe and fun way to help people connect with one another will go a long way to building strong relationships with their customers. 

Try to find a creative way to help people connect this festive season.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines – The Bonding Buffet

Recognising that travelling during the holidays can be tough, especially for those travelling alone, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines offered travellers a place to connect with other travellers, while enjoying a free holiday feast. 

For this creative marketing campaign, 20 stools were placed around a circular platform. Several metres above was a delicious feast which would lower as more people sat down. The table would only come all the way down once all 20 chairs were filled, at which point everyone could share in the feast together. 

Not only did this campaign acknowledge the struggles that the airline’s passengers faced over the holiday season, it also found a fun way to ease the strain. The ‘Bonding Buffet’ is a great example of how a business can empathise with the troubles of their customers and find a creative solution that builds positive associations with the brand. 

3. Pay attention to current trends

Sometimes, in order to get noticed, you’ve simply got to jump on the bandwagon. Pay attention to any trends within your audience and see if there’s a relevant way you can tie them to your brand’s identity or messaging.

Coca Cola – Ugly Sweater generator

The growing ‘ugly Christmas sweater’ trend offered a unique opportunity for Coca Cola to engage with their customers over the Christmas holidays. 

The ‘Coke Zero Ugly Sweater Generator’ encouraged customers to design their own ugly Christmas sweater, with the top 100 ugliest being hand-made and sent to their creators. This Christmas marketing campaign demonstrated how a brand who pays attention to trends within their customer-base can ‘get in on the action’ and show a more playful side that builds trust with the audience.

4. The simple things

Holiday marketing doesn’t always need to be about fancy contraptions and technology. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that can have the greatest effects. Things as simple as changing your wrapping for the Christmas season, or altering the theme of your website can be enough to demonstrate to your customers how your brand is getting into the holiday spirit. 

Starbucks – Red Cups

We’ve talked about this one before, and we’re mentioning it again, because the Starbucks’ Red Cups campaign is a fantastic example of how a company can turn the simplest of ideas — that of the Christmas-themed coffee cup — into a highly-anticipated holiday tradition. 

With coffee lovers all over the world eagerly awaiting the release of the year’s new range of Christmas cups, Starbucks even offers a countdown clock dedicated to counting down the days, hours and minutes until the exciting release of the year’s new Red Cups. 

This is a great example of how a pre sales marketing strategy can build anticipation and excitement around the release of upcoming products.

5. Get Creative

Brands spend a lot of time telling their customers who they are and what they stand for, and sometimes it’s nice to give customers the opportunity to tell a brand — and the world — who they are. 

Colouring and design competitions can help your customers get in touch with their creative side while putting a bit of their own personality into your brand. This can help create memories and develop positive associations that allow customers to connect with your brand and help you stay top-of-mind.

Oreo – Colourfilled Campaign

This creative holiday campaign offered exclusive black and white Oreo packaging designs that customers could colour in and send to friends and family as a personalised — and delicious — Christmas gift. 

The Oreo Colourfilled campaign was a fun, festive and engaging way of allowing customers to share something special with their loved ones, while putting a bit of themselves into the beloved brand. 

6. Make it delicious

We all know the true meaning of Christmas: to stuff as much delicious food into our faces as possible. A festive treat is a great way of helping customers celebrate the holidays. 

Krispy Kreme – The Dozen Days of Donuts

Taking inspiration from an old classic, ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’, Krispy Kreme’s holiday campaign featured all-new Christmas packaging, gift coupons and QR codes that lead to fun music videos. 

The ‘Dozen Days of Donuts’ campaign was a clever way of transforming Krispy Kreme’s regular products into a neat little Christmas experience. 

7. Honour the past

Christmas comes with a long history of beautiful stories and traditions, but in all of the excitement, it can be easy to forget our past and the paths that led us here. Brands that can tap into this rich history will find the most heartwarming of stories to share with their audience.

Sainsbury’s – 1914

Honouring 100 years since the WWI Christmas Truce of 1914, Sainsbury’s 2014 Christmas ad recreated this incredible true story of how Christmas brought two opposing armies together for two days of peace. Made in partnership with the Royal British Legion, the Christmas campaign embodies the spirit of sharing, while depicting the two days when German and Allied troops laid down their weapons to celebrate Christmas. 

Sainsbury’s demonstrated how, by looking to the past, you’ll find many stories that capture the heart of Christmas, and the soul of your brand’s message.

8. Tell a story

Good storytelling is the key to successful marketing. 

A good story allows you to connect with your audience, while representing your brand and what you stand for. And what better time to tell a story than Christmas? 

When it comes to telling a good holiday story, it’s important that your marketing campaign remains true to your brand’s values, as to the spirit of Christmas.

Apple – Share your gifts

Well known for their creative storytelling, Apple’s ‘Share your gifts’ campaign is the perfect example of finding the balance between the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of your brand.  Representing Christmas as a time of sharing, the Apple ‘Share your gifts’ campaign did not lose sight of its typically creative target audience. 

Apple takes a different approach to the idea of gift-giving at Christmas by telling the story of a young creative girl who is too frightened to share her talents with the world — the ‘gifts’ in this case being her artistic skills. 

The advertisement demonstrates how a Christmas campaign that tells a story can capture a brand’s values, while remaining consistent with the traditional values of Christmas. 

Capture the holiday spirit this festive season

Holiday marketing campaigns are about more than just making money. They’re about sharing the spirit of Christmas and finding ways to spread joy amongst your customers.

By taking a moment to think about what your brand stands for, and what Christmas means for your customers, you’ll be able to find a holiday marketing campaign that strikes a balance between the two and speaks to your customers on a personal level, sharing a message of love, family, joy, and all the things that make the holidays such a special time. 

Now it’s your turn to celebrate the festive season and help your customers do the same.

Happy holidays!

Struggling to come up with a festive campaign?

Contact The Walk and we’ll help you come up with a creative holiday marketing campaign that celebrates the festive season while helping your customers connect with your brand.