Are we Marketing the Fun Out of the Holidays?

Nov 30, 2016

It’s only natural for a brand to embrace seasonality in order to increase its sales. After all, sound businesses understand purchase cycles and more importantly, thrive on them.

Christmas season is no exception. Walking into a mall and being overwhelmed by decorations all around is lovely (especially when beautifully done), receiving a holiday catalogue can actually be inspiring and benefitting from a holiday discount is always welcomed.

But when does it become too much?

There is definitely a breaking point. When everywhere you turn, online or offline alike, you are faced with a sales message tied to Christmas, it just becomes exhausting. That warm and fuzzy feeling we all want to embrace during the holidays instead becomes a frazzled and numb feeling. And yet, frazzled and numb as we may be, we become trapped in a spending frenzy that has nothing neither warm nor fuzzy about it.

Though businesses may be happy with the floodgates bursting open, the brand connection most of them seek (to maintain long term loyalty and sales) doesn’t necessarily develop.

So, marketers, do you really want to leave your mark on customers during the holidays and actually delight them?

There is definitely a way! But first, you need to step back and do things differently.

1) Remind clients of what it is they love and how you impact their lives positively.

Take the example of REI, an outdoor gear and clothing company. For Black Friday 2016, instead of embarking on the big promotional hype that all retailers partake in, they instead closed all their locations and invited their clients outdoors by launching a campaign called #OptOutside, which engaged over 6,000,000 people. Read more about this unprecedented initiative here.

2) Use experiences to create proximity between your clients and your brand.

Carlsberg beer didn’t do a Christmas beer mug and called it a day. Instead, they did their own take on a Christmas tree, in the middle of London no less. A Christmas tree decorated with candle-lit beer bottles annnnnd that comes with a beer dispensing pump! It doesn’t get merrier than that. Check out Carlsberg’s tree.

3) Make room for personalization – and don’t be afraid to tread on uncharted territory.

It can be daunting for a company that has been selling the same thing for 103 years to come up with new and defying way to promote their product during the holidays. But not for Oreo (and mother company Mondelez). They created an activation that directly involved the client and that enabled them to sell their product online – for the first time! Clients were not only able to customize the wrapper, but they were also able to include personalized messages on them. Needless to say, this activation was a hit!

4) Give back, GENEROUSLY.

Contests have become almost abused by brands, used as a means to acquire contact information with the returns being below par most of the times. But not with Starbucks. Their Sweepstakes for Life activation enables the lucky winners to enjoy 1 food item and 1 beverage item every day for 30 years. Now that’s an interesting giveaway, one worth me divulging my personal contact details for. Imagine how much fun they had communicating this online and in-store! Learn more about this sweepstake.

5) If you’ve got nothing else up your sleeve, comedy always works!

Sometimes, a comedic spin on a common situation (if well executed) can be both refreshing and simply fun to see (and share). Think of Mulberry’s 2015 Christmas film, with its own take on the nativity scene. In this film, Mulberry does draw attention to its iconic Bayswater tote but not without making us laugh and even making fun of themselves first. Mulberry’s Miracle is worth watching.

In addition to the elaboration of news-worthy campaigns, getting outside your comfort zone for the holidays will also arm you with SO much social media content for the season! Do you need more convincing?

Happy Holidays.