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Deck the halls with branded content: what makes a successful holiday campaign

December 19, 2016     MAVERICK

Julia Des Islets

‘Tis the season to be inundated by holiday marketing campaigns, fa-la-la-la-la!

With an influx of brand activity during the holiday season, consumers can easily become overwhelmed by promotional content, which means brand messages are quickly lost in the shuffle.

How do brands stand out during such a congested time?

The key to holiday campaign success is focusing on themes that resonate well with consumers, particularly during a time when senses are heightened and emotions run strong. These themes include family, the act of giving, and of course, emotional impact. “Essentially, it’s a time when we all get a little warm and fuzzy inside, even when it’s freezing outside.”1 Creating content that is entertaining, inspiring and relevant is crucial during this time of year.

Here’s a look at our favourite 2016 holiday campaigns:

WestJet: Christmas Miracle

WestJet has done an incredible job of building anticipation around the release of their annual ‘Christmas Miracle’ videos over the past five years; almost comparable to The Bay’s Queen Street Christmas window reveal. This year, WestJet pays tribute to those displaced by the Fort McMurray fires, hosting a holiday soiree and surprising families with free flights. In just 2 days, the video had over 3 million views, 62k shares, 62k reactions and 6.5k comments on Facebook. WestJet hits the nail on the head with this campaign, proving that something beautiful can rise from the ashes, bringing communities together and creating cause for celebration with their generous act of giving.

Want more? Check out WestJet’s behind the scenes footage on the making of the Fort McMurray Christmas Miracle.

H&M: Come Together

The global fashion brand takes us on a ride on the H&M Lines Winter Express with their holiday video, directed by Wes Anderson and starring Adrien Brody. The video begins with Brody announcing that due to weather and mechanical issues, travel will be delayed by half a day (something I’m sure we’re all too familiar with). On the bright side, Brody (aka Conductor Ralph), invites travelers to join him and the crew for a Christmas brunch, transforming the car into a winter wonderland complete with paper snowflakes and a decorated Christmas tree. H&M entertains their audience with subtle humour (Anderson and Brody style), using minimal branding that offers only a sneak peak of the retailer’s winter clothing line, worn by passengers on the train.

The video’s 8.8 million+ views and 89k+ likes on YouTube are evidence that a little entertainment and subdued branding go a long way.

Allegro: English

Last but certainly not least, Poland’s most popular online marketplace, Allegro, released their all-encompassing holiday video combining humour, togetherness and emotion into one big ball of holiday cheer. Allegro has us teary-eyed as we experience the commitment of one sweet grandpa preparing to meet his granddaughter for the first time, during the holiday season. The internet is going crazy over this ad, which generated 23k reactions, 2.3k comments and over 1 million views on Facebook within two weeks of launching the video.

It’s no secret that the holidays are an incredibly competitive time for brands. By following a few simple rules, like sticking to seasonal themes that resonate with your audience and keeping ‘in your face’ branding to a minimum, content can break through the clutter and become a holiday success story.

1 https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/best-holiday-marketing-campaigns/

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