Oct 24 2019

How to Craft a Powerful Holiday Campaign

As the days are getting shorter and the nights colder, holiday season is creeping ever closer. From a marketing POV, the season offers opportunities for all businesses and industries, large or small. If you haven’t began thinking about your holiday marketing campaign plans yet, you’re already behind.


Back in the Dark Ages, marketers planned for the holiday season around three retail-centric events: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. Now, we of course must account for Black Friday, and the newest game-changer, Cyber Monday. 


Let’s take a look at the ghost of some popular holiday campaign’s past, from both retailers and other brands, that did it right:



  • Santa Tracker by Google


Since 2004, Google’s Santa Tracker has enabled users to follow Santa Claus on his worldwide gift-giving ride every Christmas. This campaign initially started as a fun and easy way to visualize Santa’s journey using Google Earth. In the years since, the site has expanded to show information about the cities Santa visits, and provide live updates directly from the sleigh, offering interactive and engaging experiences for users young and old(er). The quirky campaign has become as much of a tradition as the Christmas holiday itself.  




  • “Elf Yourself” from Home Depot


Another fun campaign for adults and kids, Home Depot’s Elf Yourself lets users create themselves as animated dancing elves. There have been over one billion elves made using the site and app since 2006. Recently, the app has been updated with new features like AR and the ability to print your elf onto holiday greeting cards to send to friends and family. This is a great example of how a holiday campaign was used to grow brand awareness/improve brand perception vs. overtly increase sales.




  • Starbucks Seasonal Cups


There’s no doubt you’ve seen Starbucks’ iconic holiday cup designs yourself since their introduction back in 1997. Every year since, the company has featured new festive designs. Of course, controversy emerged in 2015 when the Bux was accused of not being “Christmassy” enough, but the tradition lives on and the (typically) red cups remain easily recognizable by Starbucks regulars and non-regulars alike. This campaign is a strong example of a brand developing a tradition that people look forward to every year. 



As you can tell from the above examples, your holiday campaign can be product- or brand-focused. Making that choice is the first critical step to developing a strong campaign. 


Next, determine which holidays you want to target (are you focusing on Black Friday? Cyber Monday?), and identify which channels you want to use to promote your well-crafted holiday campaign. Then, schedule creative development to align with your distribution strategy. For example, if you’ll need to code unique landing pages for digital campaigns, you’ll need more lead time than would be necessary to develop, say, a funny GIF or banner ad. 


Email campaigns are another execution you’ll really want to get a head start on. By getting your campaign out at the right time (ideally, separate from/earlier than your competitors’ campaigns), your product or service will be the first thing that comes to your customers’ minds. It’s a powerful way to widely reach people interested in your business– not to mention it’s simple and relatively inexpensive. The holidays are prime time to market your business with a powerful campaign that solidifies your brand identity.


Behind on planning your festive marketing this season? Don’t sweat it, there’s still time to get moving on it, especially if you let us help.

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