Many marketing teams spend months curating their Christmas campaign ideas with the aim of creating memorable campaigns to maximise their brand exposure. Christmas advertising campaigns kicks off as early as November, with brands hoping to rake in as much revenue as possible during the festive season. With stong seasonal campaigns often sparking conversation, especially on social media where they quickly become trending topics, keeping brands at the forefront of customers' minds.
Businesses tend to create Christmas ad campaigns which spread across multiple channels, including TV, radio, social media, email, OOH (outside of home, such as billboards and bus stops) and print. With increased competition online, brands are facing greater challenges in promoting their products and services which means it’s never been more important to seek new and innovative ways to stand out.
The start of the 20’s has seen some fantastic Christmas marketing campaigns! We’ve picked out five that we believe will be remembered for years to come and delved into what it is that makes them so memorable.
Aldi - Home Alone Christmas (2022)
Aldi started working with their ad agency McCann Manchester in 2016 to create Kevin the Carrot who has become a memorable Christmas character that many families look forward to returning to their screens and in store each Christmas. Since launching, each year, Kevin returns with a different tale on TV screens, and is supported with digital, OOH, print, radio and social campaigns.
One of the most recent Kevin the Carrot campaigns which really stood out for it’s creative recreation, was in 2022 and inspired by the 1990’s hit movie “Home Alone”. The TV ad starts with Kevin’s family boarding a plane, where the mother buckles in then uses the iconic “KEVIN” scream from the movies. The scene pans to Kevin at home, watching football (smartly following on from their previous “Feast of Football campaign”), before someone peers through his letterbox. Kevin then sets traps, before trying to escape, where Santa shows up, followed quickly by Kevin’s family. The advert ends with the narrator saying “Let’s make Christmas amazing for everyone”.
This campaign was supplemented around stores with posters and leaflets using different scenes which grabbed customers' attention and reminded them of what they saw on TV. These nods to their Christmas advert helped build brand awareness as customers started to build a link between Christmas and Aldi thanks to the regular appearance of Kevin the Carrot. Utilising what many people regard as their favourite Christmas film was a bold move by Aldi, having to recreate hugely iconic scenes. Fortunately, the relatability factor really helped the campaign become memorable, and many people took to social media to praise Aldi for their work.
To see the ad for yourself, you can watch the video here:
Disney - Lego Star Wars Holiday Special (2020)
One of the world's biggest brand collaborations is arguably Disney and Lego. In 2020, Disney released several posters for their new animated show on Disney+, the Lego Star Wars Holiday Special.
One of the most standout posters of their campaign utilised the famous Lego hand to symbolise Darth Vader cutting off Luke’s Arm as a reference to Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back’s famous “I Am Your Father” scene. The top of the poster reads “To: Luke From: Your Father”. The poster campaigns contained many popular reference points throughout, but kept the messaging clear that it was promoting a holiday special on Disney+ from November.
This Holiday Special poster campaign really appealed to consumers of different ages and backgrounds. Lego is one of the most popular brands in the world, and Star Wars has maintained popularity ever since it’s release in 1977, so this crossover was bound to be effective. Disney+ as a service launched in November 2019, so the platform was still in it’s relative infancy. By using appealing content with many nods to popular culture is a fantastic way to really pique the interest of Disney’s target audience and gain more subscribers to their new service.
Enchroma - Christmas Without Colour (2021)
Enchroma are a glasses production company who specialise in supporting colour blindness and have been on a mission to spread the awareness of CVD (colour vision deficiency). With statistics showing that it’s a fairly common condition, they knew the colours associated with Christmas can be a nightmare to differentiate for those living with this condition. This campaign helped them nail both the awareness of CVD and Enchroma as a brand whilst also making the most of the Christmas season to promote their products!
During Christmas 2021, Enchroma built a campaign all around the colours of the London underground map. Their Christmas print campaign was designed using colours such as red and green to create designs which typically can be hard to differentiate for those with colour blindness. These images highlighted in detail that people who are colourblind struggle to see the posters, which were dotted around the London underground. The thought provoking posters included statistics like “Five of your friends can’t see him” to really help raise awareness.
The London Underground hosts up to 5 million journeys a day, so the substantial reach of these posters was phenomenal. The campaign highlighted an often overlooked cause using clear information, while advertising Enchroma’s glasses as a gift. Combining an important topic to make sure that underground users truly understood the struggles with intelligent designs was a fantastic way to raise awareness of the cause and also the company, who are still on a journey of growth within the UK market.
Pepsi - Christmas Refreshed (2020)
Pepsi often produce highly engaging marketing campaigns, and their “Christmas Refreshed Campaign” in 2020 was no different. Pepsi considered how the covid pandemic impacted their customers throughout the creation of this campaign and looked to bring positivity to consumers. This advert was an extension of their competition with Coca Cola, who are heavily linked to Christmas in the brand rivalry.
The Christmas Refresh campaign included a TV advert and was supplemented with some amazing print and OOH assets which, as reported by Little Black Book, was rolled out across 2,300 locations.
This campaign was very risky, with some people still concerned about the ongoing pandemic and nobody knew if 2021 would be similar to the struggles faced in 2020. However, the campaign was so successful, that they brought it back in 2021 with a consumer competition to continue driving brand awareness. Their OOH assets included posters, both traditional and digital such as the “All I want for Christmas is 2021” which really stands out. This creative copy resonated with a number of people after a tough year in 2020, many consumers were looking forward to a fresh new year.
Asda - Have your Elf a Merry Christmas (2022)
Asda’s 2022 Christmas campaign tied in with the 2003 movie, Elf. This one is much more explicit than the Aldi advert previously highlighted and is commonly known as the “Will Ferrell Asda Christmas advert”. To build this campaign, Asda worked with a major agency and Will Ferrell all with the aim of making a major statement to be the leading supermarket for Christmas. In the words of the Havas Chief Creative Officer, Vicki Maguire “No one embodies the feeling of Christmas more than Buddy the Elf.”
This campaign was put into prominence by the TV advert, and used actors along with actual footage from the 2003 movie. The footage was so well put together that many consumers were convinced that Will Ferrell was filmed in an Asda store! With a focus on the fun and joy of Christmas, this ad campaign really provided positivity and happiness to consumers with a character loved for his high energy and enthusiasm towards Christmas. Print and social media ads were also used with the same theme to make sure that there was consistency across all advertising channels as part of the TV ad. One of the most notable ways Elf was used was during Asda’s gift appeal collecting toys for children’s charities, which you can read about on their corporate website.
This campaign was hugely successful, receiving a number of industry awards and high ratings, as highlighted by Marketing Week, resulting in indications of market share growth, brand recognition and short-term sales potential. By using Buddy the Elf, Asda utilised a popular character who embodies the message they were trying to convey, of Christmas being a time for joy and togetherness, who just so happened to wear similar colours to their brand.
If you want to see the video for yourself, we’ve linked it for you here:
Christmas adverts are a great way for brands to unleash their creativity whilst pulling on different emotions to really make an impact, connecting with audiences of various ages and backgrounds. Many successful campaigns will choose to maximise on a certain element of a campaign, whether that be a character or a quote, so that their different channels, online and offline, can all connect and maintain their brands memorability.
What’s your favourite Christmas campaign? Let us know your thoughts on social media by using #instantprintuk!