It may come as a surprise, but the ‘holiday marketing season’ isn’t only during Christmas – it actually lasts all year long.
This is because we have seasonal, recurring global marketing opportunities – almost every few months. This includes the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and even the Back-to-School momentum in September to promote our brands, products, and services.
So for the sake of simplicity we’ll refer to all of these as ‘holiday marketing’ events because after all, you’re applying the same marketing strategy to the campaigns you create for them.
For marketers, having to prepare campaigns and content for these all year round can leave them scrambling for fresh ideas. What’s more, it can get more difficult year after year to get the results you want from these short-lived campaigns.
For this reason, we kept an eye out and identified stellar ‘holiday marketing campaigns’ that we think you should bookmark now so you can draw inspiration from for 2020!
Keep in mind the characteristics that all of these winning seasonal campaigns have in common:
- Relevant to their audience
- Provoke emotions that are connected to the specific holiday/ occasion
- Clear message
- Provides something of value to the audience: entertainment, enlightenment, advice, etc.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best ‘holiday’ campaigns we’ve seen this year.
Joyride Back to School Campaign
September is always a tough month. It’s here to remind us that summer is coming to an end and that, inevitably, winter is coming.
Also, September’s Back to School and work mood usually reminds us about eliminating all the extra beer pounds accumulated throughout the summer. In other words: hitting the gym again.
This year, Nike released a series of 3 videos to emphasize this feeling.
Why we liked this campaign: We loved how it promoted diversity by featuring featured different types of ‘normal people’. Not Serena Williams, not Kylie Jenner, just people like you and me. Not to mention it was also super relatable and funny.
University of Florida (UF) Libraries inclusive map for the very 1st World Braille Day
Let me guess, you didn’t know that World Braille Day is celebrated on January 4th, right? Well, that’s okay because it didn’t exist until recently. The United Nations proclaimed in November 2018 that it would now take place on January 4th of each year.
What better day to share inclusive braille news than World Braille Day? For example, UF Libraries thought that it made sense to introduce their recent investment in tactile maps of their campus.
Why we liked this campaign: At the time I’m writing this post (December 2019), UF Libraries only counts 5K+ followers. With 20 retweets and 80 likes, this post shows that you don’t need millions of followers to enjoy high engagement rates. All you need is relevance.
Bud Light’s cameo for Super Bowl
2019 Super Bowl’s ad break will be remembered for two things.
For starters, the public prefers Coke over Pepsi. Also, Bud Light’s spectacular commercial, featuring Game of Thrones as the last season was about to air was pretty darn awesome.
Why we liked this campaign: say what you want about Game of Thrones’ finale, the show captivated most of humanity for about 8 years. Now, we liked this campaign because it was both funny and timely, but mostly because it featured a CGI dragon. Dragons beat everything. Always.
Grammarly’s dating tip for Valentine’s Day
Did you know that spelling mistakes can and will turn your crush off? No worries, Grammarly’s got you covered.
Why we liked this campaign: when you think Valentine’s Day, I bet that you don’t necessarily think about tech, am I right? Well, Grammarly made sure that you do next time you need to write a love letter. A genius move. It also cleverly touches on human emotions that are related to this holiday: insecurity and fear of rejection – how smart is that?
Budweiser’s apologetic campaign for the International Women’s Rights Day (March)
A second beer brand made it to our top campaigns of the year: Budweiser. The brand is known for advertising its beverage using what we now consider ‘sexist’ messaging, but was in face perfectly acceptable at its time. Well, the year is 2019, and Budweiser decided to acknowledge their past by updating some of their most successful ads.
The result is great.
Why we liked this campaign: the brand is hitting two birds with one stone.
- Budweiser is acknowledging — with humor — that their communication has been very sexist in the past.
- It promotes equality and progressive thinking: they now sell the idea that women too can enjoy a Budweiser (and not only serve it…).
A great move from Budweiser.
NYPL celebrating refugees’ books on World Book Day
Sadly, 2019 has yet again been a year of extreme and forced population migrations, thus generating a lot of frustration and stigmatization in the most developed countries.
Now, sharing knowledge and stories is one of the most efficient ways to mental barriers down and gather people. To that end, the NYPL (New York Public Library) decided to give these people a voice on World Book Day.
Why we liked this campaign: relevant, timely and moving, what is there not to like? What’s more, NYPL made good use of tagging (@Refugees), thus increasing the potential of engagement towards their content.
SNL’s “Perfect Mother” for Mother’s Day
Did you know that positive memories stick in your mind much longer than unpleasant ones? Well, this year’s Mother’s Day gift from Saturday Night Life was a friendly reminder.
Why we liked this campaign: oh boy did it make us laugh. It was also clever and touching at the same time.
Corona’s environmental involvement for World Oceans’ Day
Yep, that’s another beer manufacturer in our 2019 best of (this is the last one, promise).
More than ever before, 2019 was a year during which environmental organizations invested their time in money to warn the world about our excessive plastic consumption — and how it’s destroying the oceans’ life.
It’s no joke, we’ve even created a floating plastic continent in the Pacific Ocean…
If we — consumers — need to change the way we behave, big corporations need to change how they manufacture and distribute their products. Something that Corona did brilliantly for World Oceans’ Day.
Corona renounced to sell its beverages and only accepted plastic bottles as payment during the week of World Oceans Day.
Why we liked this campaign: there’s no way around it, humanity has created and is continuing to contribute to major plastic pollution. Seeing global brands such as Corona investing in creative campaigns to raise awareness and have their customers acting is truly positive and encouraging.
We sure hope to see more of these good deeds in 2020! After all, good planets are hard to find so, let’s take care of this one eh?
Nike’s Inspirational Campaign for the FIFA World Cup 2019
Fueled by the righteous winds of equality of rights and treatment, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 was a game-changer. Never before a feminine competition was able to captivate the world like this one.
On Final Day (July 7th), Nike released an inspirational 1-minute video that captivated us and gave us the chills!
Why we liked this campaign? By sharing such powerful messages, not only Nike is showing that they care a lot for female sporting events, but they are also contributing to shaping a more equal tomorrow. I strongly recommend that you add this video to your bookmarks and watch it whenever you need a boost!
Dogs Trust CUTE posts for International Dogs Day
I love dogs. Literally.
Here’s a picture of me trying to eat my dog last Christmas.
Having said that, dogs too have their International Day, on August 26th. And what better ways to celebrate International Dogs Day than by posting cute pictures of Man’s best friends on Instagram? Something Dogs Trust did brilliantly this year.
Why we liked this campaign? First of all, we love dogs. Besides, this is yet another example that associating great content and relevance will help you to raise awareness around your brand and trigger a lot more engagement than usual.
Nintendo’s release of Luigi’s Mansion for Halloween
Once again, we saw our fair share of vampires, ghouls, and witches circulating through our Paris and New York offices on October 31st.
Having said that, Halloween is also the ideal time of the year to release limited-editions of scary books, movies, and video games.
In 2019, Nintendo launched the long-awaited Luigi’s Mansion 3 on Halloween day — turning it into the most successful Nintendo game launch of the year.
Why we liked this campaign: we’re young and we love playing video games every now and then. What’s more, we liked how Nintendo used Halloween’s codes in a “cute” way to promote their spooky game, later qualified as the best ghostbuster game ever made” by IGN.
Playstation’s aggressive campaign for Black Friday
Speaking of video games, Black Friday is certainly the best time of the year to benefit from the best deals. For years now, PlayStation has been dominating the market, crushing its main competitor: Microsoft’s Xbox One.
To prepare for Black Friday, they released a 30-second commercial to promote their best bundles.
Why we liked this campaign: The Black Friday Week is an intense one. There are so many sales happening everywhere that it’s hard to identify what and where are the best deals to be made out there. Investing is a short but powerful video marketing campaign is an efficient way to help your target audience remember what you have to offer.
Apple’s “Surprise” Christmas Advert
What is Christmas without a good dose of tear-jerkingChristmas Adverts?
This year, we’ve already been laughing and crying a lot watching moving ads from John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and many others.
But the one that got to us the most is Apple’s “Surprise” campaign (grab a tissue before you watch it).
Why we liked this campaign: we loved how Apple seamlessly managed to associate their product in a real-life situation, without overselling it. Also, it won our cry-o-meter challenge by far!
Ready for 2020?
What a year!
2019 gave us incredible seasonal marketing campaigns and we’re eager to see what 2020 has to offer. With that being said, we know that producing quality and relevant content for key dates and holidays all year long requires a lot of planning.
For this reason, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Wishpond to put together this Holiday Marketing Toolkit! Download it now to get tips, guides, and infographics to help you create winning holiday marketing campaigns – all year long!