Our favourite Christmas marketing campaigns of all time
Now the festive season is officially upon us, we thought this month would be prime time to spread some festive cheer. So, leading on from our Top 5 Marketing Fails of 2017 (so far), we’ve created a slightly different list…
This one focuses on our favourite Christmas marketing campaigns of all time EVER, including what made us go “awww” and “no, i’ve just got something in my eye…”.
Some pull your heartstrings; some make you smile, and some are just plain awesome. So sit back, grab some egg-nog (please drink responsibly!) tissues, and enjoy the show.
Air Canada – Everyone gets a round, with a twist
You might have thought that our first choice was going to be a John Lewis/Sainsburys-esque campaign. Well, surprise! It’s not (but they do feature further down the line).
We do love a good viral video, and Air Canada created this masterpiece back in 2014. Set in a London bar called “The Maple Leaf”, two pilots and their stewards offer everyone inside a round. Nice.
This particular bar is a place where ex-pat Canadians gather for a taste of home, enjoying traditional snacks and alcohol. It’s their home away from home (land). Anyway, back to pilots. They offer everyone “a round” but with a twist.
Take a look at the video to find out why everyone suddenly starts crying.
So, if you didn’t watch the video, or couldn’t see through the tears of overwhelming happiness, here’s a basic overview. The “round” was a round-trip to Canada, so everyone could go and see their families over Christmas. So sweet!
Why we love this campaign – Instead of focussing on the company, it highlights what Christmas is really about, spreading joy, happiness and goodwill. Not only did it go viral; it made Air Canada look like a fantastic company.
Lessons learnt – When you’re creating a marketing campaign make sure you focus on the end outcome that you want your customers to benefit from. Don’t focus on shameless self-promotion; showcase your high standards of customer service.
Sainsbury’s – Mog’s Christmas Calamity
Now, if you’ve ever met us in person, you know most of us can’t resist cute, fluffy animals. Enter, Sir Moggles the Cat.
In this advert, Mog the Cat unintentionally ruins Christmas morning for the whole family. He accidently nearly burns the house down, smashes up their kitchen, and destroys Christmas lunch. Silly Mog.
But, seeing the family’s plight, their neighbours rally around and help them enjoy Christmas together.
Appealing to families of all sizes, and people of all ages, this advert highlights that even over the festive period, we all need a little bit of community spirit to enjoy ourselves.
Why we love this campaign – We all feel sorry for Mog (it’s not really his fault), but we also love to see a happy ending to an otherwise miserable experience. It also showcases how easy it is to help others who might not be as fortunate as you, even if it’s just by being there when it’s needed.
Lessons learnt – With any marketing campaign, it’s crucial that you take your customers on a journey, with an outcome that they can apply to their own lives. They might have a cat that burns the house down, but they would want to enjoy themselves with friends and family too.
Yellow Pages – Mistletoe
Back in 1992, Yellow Pages released this genius advertising campaign. It might be a bit of a golden oldie, but we feel that sometimes we need to look to the past to find something that just works.
Now, most people of a similar age will be familiar with Yellow Pages, and for those of us that remember, when you heard the walloping great “THUD” on the doormat we immediately thought two things:
- What was that noise and how do we deal with whatever it is?
- Oh, it’s Yellow Pages. How did it even fit through the letter box?
Well, this advert solved that problem for us, and showed that their book wasn’t just good for holding doors open and throwing at spiders.
Why we love this campaign – It’s short, it’s sweet and shows that the imagination of kids really does find a use for just about everything in the house. Don’t you think that life was so much simpler when we were younger?
Lessons learnt – Sometimes the most impactful marketing campaigns are the shortest ones. At a mere 20 seconds, this advert managed to make their audience feel a sense of endearment for an otherwise boring, unloved product. You don’t always need celebrity endorsement; you just need to think outside the box.
Allegro – English for Beginners
Spoiler alert – We’ve included the non-sweary version of this advert; the original wasn’t censored. The naughty word is still in this one; it’s just bleeped out. It only happens once. Spoiler over.
So anyway, this marketing campaign hasn’t been created for a large commercial retail chain, it’s been designed for a company who help people learn a different language.
How could they make this relevant to Christmas? Well, take a look at the video and find out below for yourself.
Why we love this campaign – Seriously, how could we not love this campaign? It’s got everything, family, a roller-coaster journey of emotions, a Christmas message, and a really cute dog!
Lessons learnt – When you’re creating a marketing campaign you should show your product or service in action. In this case, Allegro highlighted how easy it is for everyone to use their product, and how beneficial it is for their lives.
John Lewis – #BusterTheBoxer
Now, we haven’t included this campaign because our bosses David and Rosie love Boxer dogs (and it’s not our attempt at buttering them up for a pay rise… much), but we couldn’t make a list of our favourite Christmas marketing campaigns without this jewel from John Lewis.
We could explain it to you, or you could just watch it for yourself and experience the joy of a bouncing dog.
Why we love this campaign – Mainly because Buster is amazing, but also because it shows that John Lewis don’t just rely on the reputation they’ve gained over the years for creating memorable Christmas adverts. They combine a stunning backing track with a sense of inclusion and family values.
Lessons learnt – When you’re creating a marketing campaign that won’t feature your brand name, you need to follow up with another event afterwards.
When this advert was launched, John Lewis subsequently created a series of merchandise around the film, including stuffed toys of Buster, the foxes, the badger and the hedgehog. They then donated some of the money raised to The Wildlife Trust.
Heathrow – Coming Home for Christmas
In November of 2016, Heathrow Airport launched an advertising campaign that featured two elderly teddy bears landing at Heathrow, going through customs and waiting for someone to claim them in the arrivals hall.
We all know how un-bearable (sorry, not sorry) travelling over Christmas can be, so the feelings of warmth you get right at the end of this advert make it all worthwhile.
Why we love this campaign – It shows that family is important over the Christmas period, and you need to make sure that you’re there for those who might not be as comfortable travelling in the busier, colder months.
Lessons learnt – Again, you don’t need celebrity endorsement in your advertising campaigns. This concept subconsciously reminds us of the happy, enjoyable aspects of travelling, whilst showcasing Heathrow as a central hub of reuniting families.
So there we have it, our favourite Christmas marketing campaigns, EVER. We’re sure we’ll add more to the list over the coming years, but we thought this would be a good start to the holiday season.
Are there any that we’ve missed out? We’d love to hear from you, so please do let us know in the comments below. Alternatively, you can join the conversation and send us a link on Twitter and Facebook.