4 Holiday Campaigns to Inspire Your Social Feeds This Year

By Bryan Loewen

Social

Image via Toa Heftiba under CC0 1.0

Oh, the holidays!

While the weather outside is getting frightful, and we’re inside by the fire that is delightful (or sitting on a beach if we’re lucky), most retail brands experience an incredibly high  volume of sales at this time of year. ‘Tis the season for giving.

But the month of December is a great opportunity for brands to increase social ROI, and a holiday campaign is often the best way to do it.

Here are four holiday campaigns from years past to inspire your marketing plans for the season.

1. Air Canada’s “Our Home”

In this heartwarming and tear jerking campaign, Air Canada helps us remember what “home” really is.

“We don’t live at home, home lives in us,” is the message of this emotionally charged video, which was posted on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook during the 2017 holiday season. The ad is beautifully shot, and prompts viewers to reflect on the meaning of home.

But not everyone has the budget to create such a high-quality campaign video to use on social. So what can we learn?

Air Canada does a great job of being non-denominational in this holiday ad.

It’s important to remember that not everyone celebrates the same winter holidays, so making this ad about home—instead of a specific religious holiday—was the right strategy for Air Canada (especially since they’re an airline, and that’s what they do most over the holidays: take people home).

When coming up with campaign ideas for the holidays, make sure your ideas are inclusive of all your current and potential customers.

2. The Starbucks Red Cup design challenge

The Starbucks red cup is an iconic winter staple for this global coffee brand.

Every year, customers eagerly await the release of the red cup to see what design Starbucks has dreamed up for the current holiday season, and every year customers are delighted even more than the last.

But in 2016, Starbucks took their campaign a little further. For one day only, they released a very limited run of cups that were plain red and asked customers to create their own designs.

The campaign asked folks to share their own cup creations on social media with the hashtag, #RedCupArt.

Starbucks received thousands of #RedCupArt submissions on Instagram and Twitter, and some artists even created YouTube videos of them working on their Red Cup masterpieces.

User generated content is a great way to increase engagement online, and also to improve brand loyalty.

When coming up with ideas for your Holiday campaign, consider finding a way to engage your audience in the real world, and then bring them back online like Starbucks did.

3. Nordstrom’s social advent calendar

The holidays are a wonderfully tradition-filled time of year, including family traditions, cultural traditions, and religious traditions.

This diversity is an incredibly beautiful thing to celebrate. However, it’s important for brands not to appropriate culture or tradition when releasing holiday campaigns. (The PR mess that might ensue? Eeep.)

Last year, Nordstrom did a fabulous job of respectfully using a holiday tradition many in the US and Canada (and worldwide) are familiar with—the advent calendar.

They created beautifully illustrated Instagram posts that, when clicked on, “opened up” to reveal a holiday surprise every day in December, usually in the form of a product-focused video.

The biggest surprise? They had Celine Dion in the campaign. We always give bonus points for Celine Dion. (I’m Canadian, and she is a national treasure thank you very much.)

4. Every holiday ad John Lewis has ever made, ever

If you haven’t seen every John Lewis & Partners holiday ad from the past 10 years, do yourself a favor. Go watch them all, right now.

But before you go, grab a box of tissue.

John Lewis & Partners is a chain of high-end department stores that operate in the United Kingdom, famous for their beautiful, story-rich holiday ads. And often, these ads make us well up with emotion.

That emotion often spills over into tears because the ads tell universal stories that we can all relate to.

From the little boy who really loves his toy penguin in 2014, to Elton John singing his heart out in 2018, John Lewis & Partners are experts at capturing the emotion of the holidays in a tight few minutes of video.

Then, they share it on their social media channels so the world can see. 2018’s ad featuring Elton John? Almost 30,000 retweets.

Emotions of every kind run high over the holidays and if you can successfully capture those moments with your audience,  you’ll be able to strengthen your online community and create more loyal followers. The business benefits there will definitely follow.

Not every brand has the budget to create such high-profile content like Nordstrom, Starbucks, John Lewis & Partners, or Air Canada. But the takeaways from these campaigns can be used or scaled by anyone to build successful holiday campaigns on social media.

We hope you found these holiday moments as inspirational as we did.

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