It’s the holiday season once again and brands are launching their campaigns for the occasion. Here are some of the best Christmas ads and campaigns on social media that you can take inspiration from for your own promotions.
Magic was the theme of British clothing retailer Marks & Spencer’s “Two Fairies” campaign in 2014. The brand kickstarted the campaign by setting up a Twitter account, @thetwofairies, that encouraged people to send their wishes to it.
We're so excited, we really must say, for the magical treat that's coming your way. #FollowTheFairies
— The Two Fairies (@thetwofairies) October 31, 2014
Additionally, the account did acts of kindness to unknowing groups of people.
— Mari Watson (@mari_stewart1) November 4, 2014
The identity of the people behind the account was initially kept secret. This created a great amount of curiosity online. To maintain that mystery, M&S spearheaded several outdoor activities that featured the two fairies.
— The Two Fairies (@thetwofairies) November 4, 2014
By the time that M&S unveiled its Christmas ad featuring the two, the Twitter account had already attracted more than 12,000 followers.
— M&S News (@MandSnews) November 7, 2014
UPS was another brand that went with the gift-giving route for its 2015 Christmas campaign. It encouraged the public to share their wishes online, either by submitting them to its dedicated website, or posting a tweet using the hashtag #WishesDelivered.
— Sarah Owens (@SarahJOwens) December 8, 2014
UPS then chose several wishes to be fulfilled from the entries that were sent.
— UPS (@UPS) December 12, 2014
To further encourage the public to use the hashtag, UPS pledged to donate $1 for each tweet to three different charities.
The call resulted in 40,000 hashtag mentions for the duration of the campaign and a total of more than $100,000 for the above charities. The success of the initial campaign also encouraged UPS to continue it in the following years.
In doing these type of “share your wishes”donation drive campaigns on Twitter, you need to make your original call more visible to a larger group of people. Get retweets from us for that needed push. People are more likely to respond if they see a lot of people sharing your call to action.
While most Christmas ads and campaigns promote gift giving, Budweiser’s 2013 campaign focused on creating awareness about drunk driving. To promote the advocacy, the brand’s United Kingdom branch developed a robot that knits sweaters. The robot started knitting whenever it received tweets containing the hashtag #jumper4des.
— Budweiser UK (@BudweiserUK) November 27, 2013
The hashtag referred to the British word for sweaters (jumpers) and designated drivers (des). Budweiser said that it wanted to remind these designated drivers to stay sober during the festivities to avoid accidents.
The campaign received a considerable amount of engagements, with many Twitter users positively responding to it.
I'm driving as a volunteer for a charity over Xmas, would love a jumper to show off #Jumper4Des
— Helen Mordey (@HelonMordz) November 27, 2013
— Nick Cowell (@NCCowell) November 27, 2013
At the campaign’s end, Budweiser UK gave away the knitted sweaters through a contest on its Facebook page.
Doritos decided to give popular Christmas countdown calendars a twist with its “Bold Advent” campaign on Twitter in 2015. The brand tweeted humorous images and short videos to mark the countdown.
— Doritos (@DoritosUK) December 1, 2015
Doritos enlisted the help of comedian Arron Crascall to make its content more entertaining.
— Doritos (@DoritosUK) December 11, 2015
The brand created additional audience engagement by encouraging people to reply to its tweets using the hashtag #BoldAdvent and tag three of their friends.
Day 21: Win an epic Christmas party kit & we’ll deliver it tomorrow, tag 3 mates in your reply to enter#BoldAdvent pic.twitter.com/rACAPrJlkA
— Doritos (@DoritosUK) December 21, 2015
— Elaine Livingstone (@pooohbear2811) December 21, 2015
The replies served as entries for Doritos’ contest where winners received a Christmas party package. Each of the four draws generated a sizable amount of responses.
Coca-Cola is well known for creating some of the best Christmas ads. It continued that tradition with its “Make Someone Happy” ad in 2014.
The ad and its associated campaign also marked the return of the original Santa Claus design done by artist Haddon Sundblom for the company’s 1931 Christmas ads. Coke said that the rich history of the original design was what led to the decision to bring it back for the campaign.
To further the message of its ads, Coke provided suggestions on how people can make their loved ones happy.
— Coca-Cola (@CocaCola) December 10, 2014
The company also donated $75,000 worth of toys to the Marine Toys For Tots Foundation as part of the campaign.
Most Christmas ads often move towards the sentimental side of things. British supermarket chain Iceland Foods decided to go against that trend with ‘Tis The Reason” ads for 2017.
The company created nine 20-second ads, each featuring a different product. Iceland Foods said that it wanted to make people feel more jolly during the season by poking some fun at the trend of families taking pictures of kids opening their presents.
In a bit of unorthodox marketing, the brand decided to release its Christmas ads a month later than its competitors. Iceland said that it allowed them to take advantage of the quieter period after the wave of early Christmas marketing. The move turned out to be a good idea, with the ads being received positively online.
Hats off to the creatives behind the Iceland 'Tis The Reason' campaign. Loving your work… https://t.co/MUrIZUUpIz
— Darren O'Beirne (@DarrenOB) December 6, 2017
Iceland also reported an increase in sales of the featured products following the release of its ads.
In 2016, Heathrow Airport finally decided to join the tradition of brands releasing heartwarming videos during the holidays with its first-ever Christmas ad.
The video was filmed for three days while the airport was fully operational.
Aside from being Heathrow’s first ever Christmas ad, the video was also part of the airport’s 70th-anniversary celebration. It has since attracted almost 5.5 million views on YouTube, and was shared often on social media.
British department store chain John Lewis is well-known for its tearjerker Christmas ads. In 2016, it decided to break away from that image with its lighthearted “Buster the Boxer” ad.
The ad follows a dog as it eagerly awaits the completion of the gift for its master. Despite the mellow background song, it pulls an amusing punchline in the end.
Aside from being of a different tone from previous John Lewis ads, the ad is also noteworthy for its effective use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) to create the featured animals. Buster the dog itself was created from a combination of live animal footage and a CGI model. The change in tone worked for John Lewis, with the video attracting 27.5 million views on YouTube.
If you plan on releasing your Christmas ads alongside these brands, you need to give it some push to be noticed. Grab some YouTube likes and shares from us to make your Christmas adverts more prominent and spread it further during the short holiday season.
Starbucks is well-known for its extensive use of Instagram. In 2016, the company decided to extend that to the launch of its annual Holiday Red Cups merchandise. To hype the unveiling of the design, Starbucks created plenty of interactive Instagram Stories where followers could preview the chosen designs. The use of ephemeral content helped the company create anticipation for the reveal.
After the reveal of the designs, Starbucks ran a contest where customers could send in their best photos with the cup using the hashtag #RedCupContest.
Congrats to our 9 winners of #RedCupContest 2016! And a red cup toast to our thousands of creative entries. Cheers! •••••••••• Cozy Up to Red Cups: @ktnewms @chalkfulloflove @miriaahdawn •••••••••• Red Cup Adventures: @mandabydly @n_angell94 @photosbylancelee •••••••••• Light Up Red Cups @tylercb101 @lbtoma @brooklyn_not_from_brooklyn
Starbucks said that both the initial promotions and the subsequent contest successfully generated plenty of organic impressions.
Ted Baker’s 2016 Christmas Elves campaign in 2014 was considered to be one of the most creative uses of Instagram ads. The brand created an online scavenger hunt where customers had to find hidden elves in the posted images.
Each elf was associated with a prize from the company.
To add more interactivity, the brand put up 32 different accounts that provided participants with hints on where the elves could be found. The clues were hidden within strategically placed tags in the images that led to other images. Ted Baker also encouraged additional engagements by having participants use the hashtag #TedsElfie when they played or posted their Christmas shopping photos as part of a selfie marketing campaign.
The Christmas ads and campaigns listed here can teach you many lessons on creating great holiday adverts. Some of those lessons are:
Follow these lessons and you to can come up with the best Christmas ads and campaigns that will be cherished for years to come.