Power of Digital in Christmas Marketing Campaigns

The Power of Digital in Christmas Marketing Campaigns

20 November 2017

As we become more technologically advanced and data & analytics continues to develop more heavily into marketing, retailers are among those vastly benefiting from the power of digital by creating heavily personalised campaigns.


M&S are one of the most recent examples. This Christmas they have taken a different approach to their marketing campaign by teaming up with a film for the first time in Paddington ahead of the release of its second installment.

M&S calls this its “most digital campaign to date”. Paddington will take part in his first-ever interview on M&S’ content hub, Style & Living, sharing festive marmalade recipes. The social campaign centres on the hashtag #LovetheBear with a bespoke emoji. The story in the ad, “Paddington and the Christmas visitor”, has been turned into a limited-edition children’s book that will be sold in stores and online for £3. All profits will be donated to the NSPCC to help fund its Childline service.


The collaboration with Paddington is extensive and M&S hope this campaign will be their most successful yet. Paddington will have a major presence in M&S stores, where more than 90 themed products will be on sale including children’s pyjamas, plush toys and Paddington’s favourite food, marmalade, in M&S foodhalls. The bear will also be on display in every M&S window.

This is also the retailer’s ‘most personalised’ campaign, with marketing targeted to local communities and ;personalisation stations’ in stores where people can design products such as baubles and T-shirts with people’s names, locations and trends. Paddington’s rich UK heritage is further personalised for the right culture fit at local stores.

M&S declined to disclose the cost of making its Christmas ad, but said costs were down compared to last year. That is another bonus of digital marketing, it can often see costs cut in comparison to less Digital campaigns. We are yet to see how successful this campaign will be, but M&S are certainly confident of delivering their best yet.

Christmas ads are continuing to be the focal point of many brands Christmas campaigns, with a record £6bn spent on TV ads this Christmas according to a new report by the Advertising Association. The power behind a good advert is huge, and brands often opt for the emotional approach at Christmas, with just under half (47%) of Brits admitting to being moved to tears by a Christmas ad. But in this massively digitally-influenced world, Paddington is just one example of where brands have synchronised their TV ads with powerful social campaigns.


One of my personal favourite Christmas digital marketing campaigns comes from Not On The High Street, who really played to their USP in 2015. Just 4 days before Christmas they launched a low budget campaign where people at Waterloo or Paddington Station were invited to tweet them 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.

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