With every holiday comes the marketing strategies or advertising campaigns. No business is going to let a holiday (especially one as big as Christmas) pass by without using it to promote themselves (this is marketing, people!). There are good ways and bad ways to use a holiday or event to your advantage as a marketer.
One particularly tacky, and inappropriate example that comes to mind is K-Mart’s (remember them?) 2013 advertisement for men’s boxers (a bit NSFW). Sure, it gets laughs and some shares because it is a bit raunchy. But what kind of message does that send about K-Mart? Are people really going to come shopping at K-Mart because of this ad? It’s more likely that it will turn more people away.
There are much better ways to market for the holidays. Take Netflix’s “Fireplace for Your Home” trailer from 2013. The ad is funny and clever. They made this to be shared on social media because that’s where a big part of their audience hangs out. They cater to digital natives who love sharing funny videos like this.
Coke Zero has their own clever Christmas campaign with their Sweater Generator website. They are cashing in on the “ugly Christmas sweater” trend by allowing people to create the sweater of their dreams (or nightmares) and share with their friends. Ugly Christmas sweaters don’t have much to do with Coke Zero except maybe that you might drink some at an ugly sweater party. But the idea is fun and isn’t trying to shove Coke down your throat.
Last year, Air Canada created a heartfelt moment with their video “Gift of Home for the Holidays“. My only complaint would be that they don’t really need to have made a hashtag for this (#ACgiftofhome). But that doesn’t take away from the video. In the short 3 minute clip, 2 Air Canada pilots walk into a London bar frequented by Canadians living in the city. They proceed to hand out round trip tickets to all Canadians in the bar so they can travel home for the holidays (let the tears ensue). The holidays are about family and can be quite emotional and Air Canada plays well on both. The video currently has 3.3 million views. Some will complain the video is just a marketing stunt, and sure, you can say that. But their giving back to the residents of Canada and offering them a chance to head home for the holidays, a wonderful gesture no matter if it was just for marketing or not.
UPS followed in Air Canada’s footsteps of giving back. They created their Wishes Delivered campaign to help make wishes come true for others (#wishesdelivered). “For every wish submitted or shared, we’ll donate $1 to one of our five charity partners”. One of the recipients was 91 year old Aurora Gonzales who lost her home in a Texas flood. UPS and St. Bernard Project “worked together to restore and refurnish Aurora’s home”.
It seems like giving back is a common theme in some of these marketing campaigns. Since it is the “season of giving” it’s surprising that more businesses don’t do this. If you are going to market for the holidays, why not give back to others in the community. Even if you can’t create a slick video like these huge companies, don’t worry about it. If you can’t track the ROI of your donation or time spent volunteering as a business, that’s not the point. The point of the holiday season is to give back without the expectation of getting something in return. At least that’s how I see it. If you are really worried about being seen, take a few photos and share them on your social media or website.
So be different than other businesses in your area and give back! There, that’s your marketing strategy for Christmas 🙂
PS. Check out Momentology’s list of the 25 best Christmas digital marketing campaigns of 2014