In the run up to Christmas, brands do everything they can to make sure that it’s them shoppers will be turning to once they start buying party food and looking for gifts - so here are 5 Christmas campaigns from 2015 that we believe have seen the greatest impact.
Over its lifetime, the Coca-Cola ‘Holidays are Coming’ adverts have become a well loved part of Christmas, and the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck is equally iconic.
This year, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the advert, Coca-Cola announced the 46 locations of their Christmas Truck tour via Twitter. Their followers were given the opportunity to ‘unlock’ the dates of the tour by retweeting their post, with 500 retweets being the number required for the reveal.
This way of involving their audience with the announcement of the tour proved successful amongst their Twitter followers, with their goal of 500 being quickly surpassed, and resulting in a total of 979 retweets and 213 likes.
Alongside this, Coca-Cola also ran a competition to win a visit from the truck itself. Entries were awarded for submitting a code printed on promotional packs of Coke. This competition directly encouraged sales as well as customer engagement, although the success of this competition was most likely due to the sentimental value of the prize, combined with the lower value and popularity of the product entrants were required to buy.
To work alongside these higher level elements of the campaign, they also kept front of mind by sharing Christmas recipes on social such as their Diet Coke Christmas Cake. This was received as fun and helpful, but by replacing sugar in the recipe with Diet Coke, focus was brought back to the brand.
House of Fraser’s Christmas campaign went against the grain this year, in that they aimed to step away from the ‘festive fuzzy’. The campaign was heavily focused on individuality, with it’s leading slogan, ‘Your Christmas, Your Rules.’
The campaign was launched on Instagram as a way to reach their target audience, as well as it being a visual platform that allows creative videos and photos of their products to be easily shared. It also allowed a series of posts to be used to make up the launch image, which was a bold start to what aimed to be a bold campaign, but also created the opportunity for a ‘teaser’ effect.
The videos shared in the campaign consist of festive DIY alternatives to wreaths and Christmas trees (including a ‘festive ladder’), as well as product videos that focused less on the idea of buying a gift for Christmas, and more on giving a gift with longevity - a video featuring the timeless look of pair of brogues used the phrase “Forget festive, think forever.”
Each product video was also accompanied by a landing page on the House of Fraser website, with full length tutorials and ‘get the look’ and ‘shop the look’ features to make buying as easy as possible for customers.
While this campaign is product and sales focused, the way House of Fraser approached their use of products (focusing on the lifestyle aspect of investing in a quality product) and balancing product posts with DIY ideas and helpful tips, made for an effective campaign.
Instagram was also the chosen platform for luxury cosmetics brand, Charlotte Tilbury’s Christmas campaign. Regular photo and video posts were used to promote their limited edition Christmas ranges, ‘Treats, Trinkets and Treasures’.
Each Christmas collection promotional post featured the phrase “Give the Gift of Makeup Magic” and were all given a whimsical and festive feel. With classic Charlotte Tilbury gold text and old-fashioned Hollywood glamour, they still remained true to their high end brand.
Promotional posts ran alongside the brand’s usual social activity, showcasing brand news such as attendance at awards ceremonies, and different editorial looks that Charlotte has worked on.
Additionally, regular YouTube tutorials on how to use their products, featuring Charlotte herself, were uploaded. These didn’t focus on the Christmas ranges, but added to the varied content, while highlighting the quality of their products and, almost, ‘reminding’ Charlotte’s followers of her status as an industry leader.
On Charlotte’s YouTube channel, however, the ‘Christmas Gift Guide’ posted included the full length version of their promotional Instagram videos. Without any description of the products included, it was very clearly a sales focused effort; however, the overall varied content across their social platforms does soften these product pushes.
As a whole, whilst the campaign works for a brand like Charlotte Tilbury, whose customers are often already fans of her work as a makeup artist, the focus on sales wouldn’t be so effective for lower profile brands.
Starbucks’ festive cups have become an internationally recognised and eagerly awaited part of Winter each year. This year, in an effort to be more inclusive, they opted to drop the Christmas decoration, and use plain red cups.
The decision to use red cups coincides with the overarching theme of Starbucks’ holiday campaign this year, which is inclusion, sharing, and connecting.
As per tradition, Starbucks launched their Red Cup Contest. This required customers to buy one of their drinks in a takeaway red cup, and submit a creative photo of their cup on Instagram. This competition aimed to encourage creativity and ‘celebrate the wonderful moments’ brought by the festive season.
After the contest closed, Starbucks then created a Pinboard to share a selection of the entries they received, ranging from people going for walks with their cup, to connecting with friends and family. Sharing these entries makes customers feel valued and closer to the brand, and links with the campaign’s focus on inclusivity.
Promotional offers were also used to share the idea of togetherness. One offer available was a buy-one-get-one-free on holiday drinks. This was promoted on social and focused on the ability for customers to buy a drink for themselves, and then give another to a friend. While the aim is clearly to increase sales on holiday drinks, the campaign brings an emotional connection - connecting with friends, and sharing something you both love, which ties in nicely with the spirit of Christmas.
Known for their comedic TV adverts, Aldi continued this theme with their 2015 Christmas campaign. Playing off the John Lewis ‘Man on the Moon’ advert, this advert has been their most talked about campaign element of the year.
The advert, featuring the return of gin-lover Jean, recreated the sentimental beginning of the John Lewis ad, before mirroring the distinctive advert style that Aldi have used throughout the year to compare their products with more expensive brands.
This advert was widely well received on social and in the press, with many enjoying the more comedic take on Christmas advertising, and some preferring it to the original ad by John Lewis. However, there have been some who have criticised the advert (myself included), for viewing the advert as lacking in imagination.
Alongside this, Aldi also created their #AldiFavouriteThings advert. This advert has a much more typically festive, magical theme and shows their various products in different scenarios (ice skating on a cake, for example).
While the advert is made up of their products, it focuses less on telling viewers to buy. Instead, Aldi create a life and energy around their products and focus more on the emotion connected to the different festive scenarios.
As well as their TV advertisements, Aldi were also active on social as part of their Christmas campaign, and activity centred more around homemade gift ideas, such as a chilli jam recipe. Sharing content such as this was received well, and helps to balance out the focus on sales and advertising.
This year’s best campaigns to us, were the ones that focused less on convincing to buy and more on the emotion that runs high at this time of year. Whether it be togetherness and whimsy, like Starbucks and Aldi, or individuality and going against the grain, like House of Fraser, Christmas is a time when everyone is already looking to buy - what’s more important is making the right connection with your audience.