I’m really apprehensive about declaring these campaigns the absolute best campaigns around. My opinion may differ from yours, and since markets are different, the ads I see on the U.S. east coast may not be what you see. Nonetheless, I compiled a list of what I think covers this year’s best holiday campaigns. If you have one to add, drop it in the comments section!
Pumpkin Spice Latte has become synonymous with everything Fall. We can thank Starbucks for that. PSL has taken on a personality of its own over the past few years, and I couldn’t love it more! It’s fun, quirky, and on top of pop culture. Take a look at the amazing photos and videos shared on its accounts.
Marketing lesson: No matter how boring your product looks, it doesn’t mean you can’t tell your story in an interesting way. Be determined and differentiate your product or service in the same way.
eBay came out of the gates strong this year with a clever ad anyone can relate to. Everyone has that one person on their gift list who is absolutely impossible to buy for, so you end up giving them a similar-to-last-year gift, or something you know they’ll probably return. Honestly, I don’t think about eBay as a marketplace for gifts, but after seeing these ads, I will probably shop here for that person on my list!
What’s the lesson marketers can learn? Strive to be relatable. In a market filled with big box brands, eBay created their own space by simply telling it like it is.
#3: Salvation Army Red Kettle
We’ll soon begin hearing the familiar bells outside busy stores, and every year, it brings nostalgia. I don’t remember a holiday season without the Salvation Army Red Kettles, and I personally hope I never experience one without them. This year, the Salvation Army is recruiting young bell ringers, hoping to refresh the 126-year-old campaign. Over the past several years, a new trend has emerged amongst some bell ringers. Watch this guy taking bell ringing to the next level, and then take 3 minutes to watch this video from the Salvation Army.
If you learn one marketing lesson from the Salvation Army, let it be consistency. Consistency makes your brand feel more dependable and trustworthy.
#2: Starbucks Cup
After receiving criticism in 2015 for their “boring” (and controversial) red cup design, Starbucks went ALL OUT for the 2016 design before reaching that “just right” look for 2017. This is by far the most inclusive holiday ad from the coffee giant. Ever. Beginning with “The holidays mean something different to everyone,” I’d say the ad for the new cup really hits the mark.
This campaign isn't about getting non-coffee-drinkers to drink coffee. Lesson: It's not always about getting a brand new audience to use your products or services — sometimes, it's about getting your current audience to appreciate and use your product more often. Turn your audience into advocates, and use marketing to tell them why they should continue to enjoy the product or service you are already providing for them.
I look forward to the Coca-Cola Christmas ad every year! Whether it’s the famous polar bears making a splash, or Santa sipping a Coke, I love it. The ad always invokes a heartwarming feeling of togetherness for me, and this year’s ad does not disappoint.
Coke dominates the soda market during the holidays (and all year, IMO). What's the lesson marketers can learn? When you connect with consumers on an emotional level, it's hard for them to ignore.
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