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Best holiday marketing campaigns

Best Examples of Ho-Ho-Holiday Marketing Campaigns [2020 Update]

The holiday season always sees a splash of creative marketing campaigns. Consumers are never so open to brands’ marketing efforts as they’re during the festive season. They browse their favorite brands’ websites and social media accounts in the hope of finding any ideas for gifts for their loved ones (and often for themselves).

Not willing to miss this chance, brands are doing their best to stand out from this festive crowd. Christmas sales, special offers, giveaways – companies are finding new ways to establish their brand voice and reach their clients during this Christmas season.

Which brands coped with holiday marketing particularly well this year and what could you learn from them? Let’s find out right now.

Landing pages

Companies leverage various marketing channels to promote their products or services. But whatever approaches they use, they’re aimed at drawing attention to their owned media, i.e. their websites or blogs. So, we’ll start with a couple of amazing Christmas landing pages.

Starbucks

You can’t help but notice that Starbucks is an absolute holiday marketing campaigns’ winner. Their icon red cups are a sure sign Christmas is around the corner for lots of coffee drinkers.

Here’s how Starbucks’s landing page looks like this December.

Starbucks campaign example

What makes it good?

It’s simple and sweet. Have you been wondering what you could present to your colleagues? Here’s a hint – customizable eGift cards that will be delivered on the selected date.

Emirates Airlines

The company embraces the festive season with different special offerings for the economy, business, and first-class passengers.

On its homepage decorated with an animated winter scene, you’ll find the ‘Learn more’ button that leads you to the page that lists treats and surprises Emirates passengers might get this holiday season.

Emirates Airlines campaign example

What makes it good?

Spending time at the airport or on a flight isn’t the best activity for the holiday season unless you’re going on vacation. But Emirates Airlines takes efforts for you to feel at ease when traveling. Just look at these headlines: ‘A taste of home in our lounges,’ ‘Get cozy with a Christmas classic,’ ‘Feel the magic of Christmas,’ etc. – you’ve never been so close to the thought of spending Christmas on board.

Commercials

Christmas commercials deserve particular attention. Done right, these videos make the audience cry, laugh, and sympathize with the characters.

Ralph Lauren

This clothing and fragrance brand wishes their customers to celebrate every moment of their lives and spend Christmas with their loved ones.

Here’s what their landing page says: ‘With this season comes a moment to escape. Departing from everyday schedules—to bond over new experiences or to honour annual traditions — has a way of bringing us closer to home.’

The commercial illustrates families, couples, and friends enjoying the winter season together (dressed in Ralph Lauren clothes, for sure).

Ralph Lauren holiday marketing campaign example

What makes it good?

Like in any other holiday commercial, the emotional aspect plays an important role here. The brand not only provides clothing lines for adults, kids, and babies but also fragrances and home accessories. It seems that every family member will find something worth attention in Ralph Lauren. When you watch the video, it’s not difficult for you to put yourself in the place of one of the characters.

Bonus: If you scroll down the page, you’ll find a Holiday Run game. It made us interrupt the process of content creation and waste some time on Ralph Lauren’s website.

Aviation Gin

The next prize for the successful holiday marketing campaign goes to Aviation Gin. The marketing team of America’s original craft gin knows what makes content go viral.

Soon after Peloton’s new commercial gets widely criticized, an actor and liquor brand owner Ryan Reynolds produces a sequel commercial. The ad casts the actress from the Peloton ad, Monica Ruiz, showing viewers where the ‘Peloton girl’ is now.

Aviation Gin holiday marketing campaign

What makes it good?

The commercial went even more viral than its ‘prequel’. What led the company to this triumph? Of course, its stunning success was largely prompted by the brand’s ability to quickly respond to a fiercely debated topic in real-time.

But we shouldn’t also forget that not every company does have Ryan Reynolds as the face of their brand (actually, only Aviation Gin does). Although the ad itself is an example of brilliant real-time marketing, would it have gone viral so fast if it hadn’t had such a jumpstart?

Apple

Apple’s holiday commercial is completely different from the two previous examples. This heart-wrenching ad tells the story of a family that travels to their grandfather’s to spend holidays together. On their way to their mother’s father, kids are fighting for the iPad their dad gave them to calm them down.

The day before Christmas is full of sweet moments, but it feels that the granddad is still trying to cope with his wife’s death. When the Christmas morning comes, and the family members unwrap their gifts, the two little sisters reveal the surprise they prepared with their iPad – a thoughtful slideshow with photos and videos, showing the history of their family and reminding that their grandma will always be there for them.

Apple's holiday commercial

What makes it good?

Emotions.

The ad says: ’Sometimes, the best gifts can come from the most unexpected places.’ The film might seem to be emotionally manipulating, but it has hit the target.

Native Ad Lookbook

Native ads

Native advertising keeps up with the rest of the marketing techniques on holidays. Let’s look at several native advertising examples we liked the most during this Christmas season.

Oprah Magazine

Oprah Magazine counts 6.9M monthly visitors. The magazine covers various topics, including Oprah’s favorites, gift guides, book recommendations, travel guides, latest news, and beauty tips.

To promote their latest gift guide featuring Oprah’s favorite things, the marketing team runs a native advertising campaign. Their ads are distributed by Taboola and can be found on news and entertainment websites.

Oprah Magazine native ad example

What makes it good?

During the holiday season – when consumers are desperately looking for Christmas presents – gift guides are on the rise. Featuring 80 products in one place, Oprah Magazine targets the widest possible audience. Using native ads, the company not only promotes the magazine itself but also all the Amazon products they’re affiliates for.

StyleCaster

StyleCaster is an online magazine where you can find tons fashion, beauty, and lifestyle topics. To monetize traffic, StyleCaster editors often share affiliate links in their articles. The holiday season is the best time for gift guides, and the team decided not to miss out on the trending topic.

StyleCaster native ad example

What makes it good?

In the ad headline, the author highlights the most common pain point of every person who has ever done holiday shopping. The question appeals to wide audiences and makes people click to find the solution. The article itself is well-structured, with clearly marked pricing and CTAs boosting its conversion rates significantly.

Mansion Global

On Oprah’s website, we found Mansion Global’s native ad distributed by Outbrain. Mansion Global is the premier source of global real estate market content. The company produces relevant news, conducts market analysis, and offers lists of luxury listings for sale around the world.

Mansion Global native ad example

What makes it good?

Have you ever tried to get your home ready for hosting a festive crowd that is your family? From the first sentences of the promoted blog post, it feels that the author knows your pain points. Calling Christmas season the ‘hosting gauntlet,’ he appeals to everyone who has ever invited relatives and friends for Christmas holidays.

Want to create effective holiday ads? Check out these 16 tips to building a holiday advertising strategy that cuts through the noise.

Social media

Once the countdown for Christmas begins, following brands on social media becomes much more fun. Quizzes, polls, contests, giveaways, etc. – all the creative approaches are being used.

SEMrush

SEMrush doesn’t get lost when the time for Christmas marketing comes. They send nice gifts to influencers, announce end-of-year offer, and what we like the most – run #SEMrushSanta giveaway on Twitter.

SEMrush holiday Twitter campaign example

What makes it good?

Who doesn’t like gifts? SEMrush not only offers free merchandise to their followers but also encourages their audience to engage with the brand on Twitter. Along with establishing stronger relationships with their clients, SEMrush builds brand awareness increasing its social profile’s visibility.

Starbucks

We’ve already shown the company’s landing page but their Instagram account is worth particular attention.

Starbucks Instagram feed Starbucks quiz

What makes it good?

First, look at the brand’s feed. It turns into festive colors starting from November till the end of December every year. Since then, every post is created to share a bit of Christmas mood with everyone seeing it (and make followers want to spend a cozy evening with a cup of Caramel Brulee Latte).

Next, Starbucks does a great job of communicating with their followers: the company shares photos taken by their customers, runs flashmobs, and offers fun polls. What’s there below one of the Starbucks Christmas posts? There’s a number – 2,968 comments per quiz, and it says the brand has nailed social media marketing.

Email marketing

There are many ways brands can impress their customers, but holiday newsletters are a classic.

Boxed

Boxed offers a simple message that includes all the necessary elements – a few banners, a few links, deals of the week, and social media icons.

Boxed

What makes it good?

Besides the main offer, there are several secondary offers, like discount codes and deal of the day. With lots of guests coming to your house during the holiday season, having a couple of coupons on holiday treats is always a good idea. No extra information or other disruptive elements. Just a clear offer and nothing else.

BONUS

Up until Christmas Eve, you can have a peek at the ‘North Pole’ and explore Santa’s digital village. It means that Google’s Santa Tracker is now live and available. Make sure to enjoy a wealth of entertaining and educational games before Santa ends his journey.

What’s most important, Google’s developers shared the code of the app so that other developers can ‘see how we used our developer products - including Firebase and Polymer - to build a fun, educational and engaging experience,’ writes Google’s Developer Programs Engineer Sam Thorogood.

Google's Santa Tracker

Be Merry and Bright

The holiday season is extremely busy and tight for marketers. As it’s finally coming to an end, you can slow down, relax… and start drawing inspiration for the next season.

The life of a marketer is all about rushing around, but you don’t have to take everything on. Joinative is your partner for anything native advertising. Are you starting to explore the topic? Or maybe you need a better way to manage your campaigns? We’ll help you build an effective strategy to achieve your goals and show you how you can keep managing and improving your campaigns. Read more about our services, our native ads management platform, or just get in touch with us directly.