A Few Festive Favourites
The first Christmas ad to be created by the BBC’s in-house agency came onto our screens in 2017. It uses a great combination of stop motion animation and CGI to bring to life heartfelt messaging that a lot of family viewers will connect with. The catchy music choice makes it still watchable after the 10th time.
In 2015, Sainsbury’s and their agency commissioned author Judith Kerr to bring back her character of Mog the cat for an exclusive Christmas special. ‘Mog’s Christmas calamity’ campaign consisted of a short film, book and soft toy. Together they raised more than £1.5million for charity and the book topped the UK bestseller charts for four weeks in a row. Combining the comeback of a childhood favourite character with supporting merchandise was a winner for Sainsbury’s despite reporting an otherwise tricky financial year.
Back in 2013 Canadian airline WestJet launched their ‘Christmas miracle’ video and through a strategic social campaign quickly went viral. Their video brings together over 170 WestJet staff and three airports as well as the big man himself to deliver a real-time experience to over 250 unexpecting customers. With the added promise to provide free flights to reunite a family in need once the video reached 200,000 views, it embodies the true spirit of Christmas whilst maintaining a brand-focussed experience. And it truly paid off: WestJet attributed the campaign to a 86% increase in sales, achieved over 35 million views on YouTube as well as claiming internal success by installing a sense of pride amongst employees and reaffirming their fun and caring culture.
Aldi launched their festive character of Kevin the Carrot three years ago and he’s returned every Christmas since. It’s lighthearted and funny - staying true to their usual tongue-in-cheek advertising style. But for a small carrot Kevin has had a huge impact - the launch of the Kevin soft toy sent shoppers into a frenzy, it sold out almost instantly and some toys were resold for more than £1,000 on eBay. They’ve created a recognisable, fun character who pops up every year to build brand consistency and connection. This year Aldi continue this sentiment showing they don’t take themselves too seriously with their Coca-Cola style Christmas truck ad, and were quick of the mark to mimic this year’s John Lewis Elton John ad with their pun-fueled ‘Veg Dwight’ TV ad.
So what can we learn here about festive marketing? Well, firstly, a successful Christmas campaign needs to be as well planned and considered as any other marketing campaign. Timing is key (no one likes to have Christmas in their face too early) as is your execution: attempting to go viral when you and your audience aren’t very active on social is unlikely to work.
Think carefully about your creative and messaging - you don’t want to just add to the Christmas noise because you think you should - what you deliver needs to positively reflect your brand values and company culture. Having a charitable element is always a good idea too.
You also need to know your audience - a successful Christmas campaign knows what makes their customers and prospects tick, tugging at their heartstrings and making them feel all warm and fuzzy. Think about how you can involve customers and employees too, so you get their buy-in from the off.
Once you’ve got that winning formula, your festive campaign may well just help you end the year on a high: the best ads build brand loyalty, awareness and engagement as well as increasing your revenue.
For help and advice with making your campaigns a success all year round, get in touch with our friendly team, or get some inspiration here. Because marketing isn't just for Christmas :)