10 Of The Best Christmas Digital Marketing Campaigns

8 Nov 2016

As Christmas draws ever-closer (yes it’s that time again), in this month’s newsletter we wanted to take a look at some of the best Christmas digital marketing campaigns of the recent past. Here’s our top ten list, have a read and let us know your favourite by connecting with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

1 – Air Canada – Viral Video

Ah, a good old viral video. This was a masterstroke from Air Canada back in 2014. Two pilots entered a bar in London called ‘The Maple Leaf’, a place where Canadians gather for a taste of home. They then offered everyone in the bar ‘a round’, and by a round they meant a round trip to Canada and back, on the house – to help those in the bar be able to afford to go and see their loved ones at Christmas. This piece of video marketing went viral because it didn’t focus on the company, it focused on goodwill and spreading festivity. Of course the knock-on effect was it made Air Canada look like a nice and friendly company, strengthening their brand image. As of October 2016, the video has more than 3.3million views. They also used the hashtag #ACGiftOfHome on their social channels.

2 – John Lewis – The Bear and the Hare

This list wouldn’t be complete without a John Lewis advert. It’s a hard pick to choose just one, 2011’s entry ‘The Long Wait’ was the year where John Lewis cemented themselves at the top of ‘Christmas advert marketing’, and since then there’s been an expectation for them to deliver something at least on par. But I’m going to have to go for my personal favourite, ‘The Bear and the Hare’ (2013). This, like all of the modern John Lewis Christmas adverts had a brilliant supporting audio track – with Lily Allen famously singing ‘Somewhere only we know’ as the heartwarming story played out. The ad was very indirect – it did not include any John Lewis products – it simply told a story and got people talking ‘Have you seen the John Lewis ad for this year?’, that’s all the company wanted – the 2013 ad really helped to strengthen the brand and did wonders for its exposure.

3 – OREO – Customise a Pack

For a biscuit that is over 100 years old and has barely changed, OREO are a great example of a company that manages to maintain a fresh marketing approach and re-invent itself to meet it’s changing market audience. Last Christmas they created a campaign that allowed people to create a customized pack of OREOs, a perfect gift for the cookie lovers!  The company then promoted this campaign on their social channels. This wasn’t a high-budget campaign, but it was creative and effective. It is a good example as to how every company can (and probably should) do something a little different around the Christmas period. Christmas branding modifications are mainstream, but using Digital to engage with their audience and handing over control to their customers is what made this Oreo campaign so successful.

4 – Spotify – A Year in Music

spotify-christmas

Spotify created a very clever personalised video in December of 2015. They called it ‘A Year in Music, what did your 2015 sound like?’. This message was posted across the companies social channels, along with a generic video supporting that message. It then encouraged users to login to listen and watch their personal video, which was comprised of the users most played and favourite sounds of the year. The benefits for Spotify were that this built elements of customer loyalty, making users feel a little bit special – and it also made a lot of their users login when they may not have planned to previously – perhaps an attempt to re-engage lapsed members?

5 – Ted Baker – #TedsElfie

This campaign was based around the hashtag #TedsElfie. Working with creative agency Poke London, Ted Baker brought their Christmas in-store activity to life using digital activation – with visitors to the store attempting to complete a game where they would find Ted elves who had gone missing after a night of festivities. This was predominantly an Instagram campaign and the results were over 37,000 interactions across the campaign, 14,500 competition entries, press coverage in high-profile publications and of course an increased amount of footfall in-store during the duration of the campaign.

6 – Not On The High Street – Gift-O-Matic

Just 4 days before Christmas, Not On The High Street launched a campaign where people at Waterloo or Paddington Station were invited to tweet Not On The Highstreet with one of five hashtags, including #Foodie and #PetLover, in return for a free gift related to that personality type from a Twitter-powered vending machine. This helped spread festive cheer – but also raised awareness of the brand. Cleverly placed 4 days before Christmas when city shops would be a horror to negotiate, the brand highlighted their contrasting convenience in helping source those last minute gifts and it also played to those who may have been struggling to find the right gift on the High Street. The placement may have been local – but the concept and delivery harnessed the power of Digital to deliver a unique and effective Christmas marketing campaign.

7 – Sainsbury’s – Mog’s Christmas Calamity

One way of approaching a Christmas marketing campaign is to attempt to tug on the heartstrings – in 2015 Sainsbury’s did this very well with their ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ Christmas advert. The heartwarming ad sees a Christmas morning ruined as Mog, a famous cat from a childrens book, accidentally almost burns the house down and ruins the Christmas lunch. Then we see the community help the family and share Christmas with them. This ad really embraces the festive cheer – and the use of Mog also helped viewers (both parents and children) recognise the cat, and perhaps pay more attention because of it. The 3.5minute commercial ends simply with the message ‘Christmas is for Sharing’ and then the Sainsbury’s logo. This was a very successful campaign by the supermarket and it managed over 30million YouTube views to date (as of November 2016). Even the behind the scenes video has notched up more than 1million views.

8 – Stella Artois – John Legend ‘Under the Stars’

It’s always good to do something different in Marketing. Attempting a festive advert every year and differentiating isn’t easy, and only a few companies manage to do so consistently. Stella Artois changed the tune completely last Christmas – creating an ambitious creative campaign in collaboration with John Legend. John wrote a song named ‘Under The Stars’ – ‘Stars’ being the Latin translation of ‘Stella’ and performed it live, under the stars, in New York with just himself, the stars and a glass of Stella Artois sat perfectly on his piano. The video of him performing this live was posted on the artists YouTube channel and it has nearly half a million views. But Stella have also paid for a good song that will be listened to for years, and John Legend also posted an audio-only version of the song, with Stella mentioned in the title – and this has over 1million views to date on YouTube. The reach of the song will be even greater than this though, as this is only the figures from YouTube.

9 – Cadbury – Real life Advent Calendar

Kraft decided to get experiential with Cadbury in 2015 – creating a huge advent calendar made up of Cadbury branded trucks. In November they released the above video onto YouTube, showing Cadbury trucks heading to different locations up and down the UK – perhaps it takes elements of the famous Coca-Cola advert, with festively dressed onlookers reacting as the trucks drive past. Sure enough, when December began, one by one, day by day, the trucks set off to different locations around the UK and delivered loads of Cadbury goodies free of charge. The initial video and all the events as they happened were broadcast on YouTube and on the company’s social media channels. There were also loads of people talking about the campaign on social media and in the press, especially those that got free chocolate. It is reported that this campaign cost £10million – and it highlights how big companies are prepared to invest heavily in funding to strengthen brand image.

10 – Burberry – 15 Years of Billy Elliott

A common approach to a Christmas advert is to play on tradition and use celebrity endorsements. In 2015, Burberry did both, producing an advert that played on the 15th anniversary of Billy Elliott, using Romeo Beckham (again) as the lead character. Burberry featured more than just one celeb though, with Sir Elton John, Julie Walters, James Bay, George Ezra, Michelle Dockery, James Corden, Naomi Campbell and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley all making an appearance in the just-shy of 3minute ad. Then all bounced around in Burberry clothing to showcase the brand. This isn’t my favourite by any means, but it is included due to the celebrity-heavy approach that Burberry took – it makes for interesting comparison. You could say the video went viral with 12.5million views on the YouTube version alone (as of November 2016).

We are yet to see all of this year’s entries and how successful they will be.  But as the Marketing world begins to stress emphasis on Digital and the most successful and viral campaigns are always strongly influenced by Digital – now would be a good time to ensure your digital teams are correctly equipped. Bodhi Resourcing are a specialist recruitment agency and one of the three sectors we specialise in is Digital. Our team of experienced and friendly consultants are ready to help you whether you are a client or candidate. Get in contact on 0117 315 5265 or email oli@bodhiresourcing.com for more information.

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