5 Steps to a Successful Christmas Campaign

In Cross Channel Marketing, Digital Campaigns by Marius Badenhorst

Christmas is only a few months away and if you have not started working on your Christmas campaigns, it is time to get going. Here’s a look at the top campaigns from 2013, why they worked and how you can achieve success in 2014.

Many brands spend most of the year preparing for the holidays. The Christmas campaigns in 2013 were bigger and more intense than ever. From commercials, to interactive websites, to social media contests, there’s always a fair share of top-notch marketing going on in November and December – and if 2013 was anything to go on, I am really looking forward to the Christmas campaigns this year.

Top UK Ads of 2013

John Lewis


Marks and Spencers




Best International Ad

My favourite international Christmas ad had to be the WestJet – ‘Christmas Miracle’.

Canadian airline WestJet performed a Christmas miracle for 250 guests. Video booths were set up at boarding pass counters where passengers recorded their Christmas wishes on a live chat with Santa before heading on a four hour cross-country flight to Calgary.The passengers wished for all kinds of things – from undergarments to Android tablets, cameras, scarf’s, and big screen TVs. Little did they know, WestJet staff in Calgary were recording their Christmas wishes behind the scenes and rushed to the stores to purchase and wrap the holiday goods in time for the flight’s arrival. The passengers were caught in cheerful surprise as gifts with their names flooded the baggage claim. The airline posted a video of their campaign on YouTube, which got over 2 million views in just 2 days. The video subsequently received 36 million views.

Best Ad of 2013

In my opinion, John Lewis’ ‘The Bear & The Hare’ was the clear winner. The ad was unusual and unique as it barely showed any merchandise or pricing. It reminded me of an old-style Disney animation similar to that of Bambi. It focused on the friendship between a bear and a hare – when the winter begins the bear hibernates, but the hare buys him an alarm clock for Christmas so he doesn’t miss out.

How to Achieve Success in 2014

1.     Campaign Strategy

Focus on strategies that create genuine connections between your company and your audience. Your campaigns should be fun but offer value at the same time.  It is also essential to start planning your campaign as early as possible to maximize potential and reach your customers.

Moz blogger James Porter wrote an article sharing his 9 lessons learnt from the John Lewis ‘The Bear and The Hare’ campaign. One lesson learnt was that the campaign did so well because it was created specifically for the channels where potential customers are located. It was launched on Twitter and Youtube first and thereafter on the John Lewis website.

2.     Be Creative and Original

Most companies experience small or limited budgets when preparing Christmas campaigns but this is an opportunity to sport your creativity and resourcefulness. You can inspire a great deal of attention by awakening the curiosity, affection, and trust of people.

3.     Nostalgia

In a recent blog post, we touched on the power of nostalgia – how the past elicits a positive emotive response that makes us feel connected to brands, gives them meaning and in turn makes brands memorable.

In a behind the scenes video of the John Lewis ‘The Bear and The Hare’ campaign, Aaron Blaise, Lead 2D Animator, spoke about how excited he was to work on this campaign: a fully animated clip using hand drawn animations, which is a rare occurrence and something he used to do back in his Disney days.

4.     Festive Feeling

Your campaign should definitely have some festive spirit. After all, Christmas is a time to be jolly (tralalala – lalala). Think about how you can tap into the holiday buzz: try developing a Christmas/holiday gift guide or offer Christmas vouchers or discounts for loyal customers.

5.     Integrated Campaign

It is also very important to integrate your campaign by promoting it on all available platforms – for example, updating your Facebook cover and profile picture with new Christmas branding and carrying that across to all other social media platforms – and on to your website, of course. This is something that’s easy to do, and increases awareness of your campaign.

Do you have any tips or Christmas campaign success stories you would like to share? Please pop them in the comment section below.

About the Author

Marius Badenhorst