Planning your next Christmas marketing campaign can seem like a daunting task.
With so many different strategies to choose from, it’s hard to know which will be the best for your business, especially if you’re short on time.
But don’t worry!
I’ve put together this handy guide that will walk you through some of the better Christmas marketing campaigns out there and how you can take the best of what they’re doing and apply to your own marketing.
So why does Xmas even matter to your business?
Apparently UK advertising spending in the fourth quarter is expected to reach a record £7.9bn which means that big companies know something that you don’t know.
They’ve done their forecasting and sums and clearly understand that shoppers are buying online more than ever based on behaviour studies over the last year.
If they’re going to be reaching customers this Xmas – then you should be too!
Literally at the time of writing this blog, John Lewis bought out their highly anticipated Christmas TV spot (see below) called ‘Unexpected Guest’.
Using the familiar mix of heartfelt story, magic and acapella pop hit cover sung by a breathy singer, it costs serious cash to make these ads (their “Man on the Moon” cost an eye-watering £7m to make) and typically the ads will polarise the country about whether it’s “joyful” or a “disappointing affair“.
But they know this approach works as their first runaway Xmas hit ad back in 2011 resulted in a million views across YouTube within days of release, and takings up 9.3% on the previous year.
Each year they keep the formula virtually the same but play with themes and ideas…and as a nation we love talking about them!
“But i don’t have the budget of John Lewis to spend this Christmas!”
OK that’s not fair…I mean, who does have that cash at small business level right?
But don’t panic! There are some fun things that you can try with your own marketing based on what some of the bigger brands are doing, you just need to think creatively!
Make Your Products Christmas Themed (I know …simple but effective)
Take the time to understand your audience and see what they would be happy to see from you with a holly leaf on the side.
It might not mean you creating a TV ad but instead relabelling one of your products in a fun way.
Starbucks and Pret both brand their products every year at Christmas (see below) and they’re events that people look forward to ( well, if you’re me as I LOVE the veggie Christmas sandwiches from Pret!) or have created talking points (due to Starbuck’s lack of actual Christmas on their Christmas cups).
What do you sell that you could retheme as an event this Christmas?
Maybe you can make a Christmas-themed take to your products (candles, beauty, food, crafts) or bring out the red branding and snowflakes on your social posts and website.
PULL YOUR PRODUCTS TOGETHER TO MAKE GIFT SETS
If you are going to find it hard to make your products Christmas-themed (hello garden spades sellers 👋🏻) then pulling them together and make into a gift set containing your products might work instead.
Wrap it up into a fancy box for extra gift kudos or create a subscription service as you can justify the increase in price and margins.
You don’t have to sell beauty products or socks to be considered as a gift this year, you can do this with ANYTHING as my friend and business owners Sarah has done at friendsandcanines.co.uk with dog treats (see below):
MAKE AN EVENT OUT OF IT
Harrods announced the “Biggest bottle of Chanel No.5 in the world” this past week (see below).
Some might ask..”why?” …but it’s no different from what John Lewis do every year with their TV spots – it’s to make the news, gain attention, stand out from the crowd and create some buzz.
They love a spectacle and do it every year will bells on (sorry).
If you are attending an event like a Christmas market to sell your products this Christmas then how can you stand out?
Maybe you don’t plan to sell in person, so how can you make an event out of what you’re selling?
Could you go Live on Facebook with a gimmick like a challenge to wrap a strangely shaped gift that you sell or maybe give away gifts to your top 10 commenters?
Putting an event on at Christmas is as good a time as any to get involved with your community and it doesn’t have to be as extravagant as this!
be on the inside joke
In terms of tone, you can’t go wrong with following what Very have done with their ad this Christmas.
Taking the stand that you’re in on the inside joke is always a good approach and they’ve done in their Xmas 2021 ad by saying that you can always buy for yourself first “it’s the best excuse!”
Is there an inside joke that you can be on the inside with your audience?
Maybe it’s that you know the kids will just play with the box after unwrapping their presents, or that the dog will rip off all of the wrapping paper before they do.
Inside jokes come with knowing your audience and what they say really well so tune in and have a listen!
talk about the EXPERIENCE
You can recognise the experiences that your customers go through at Xmas too, like to preparation and getting ready.
It’s a firm staple of Christmas campaigns as it hits the spot with people that like Christmas but don’t necessarily like the gift buying or giving bit.
Hobbycraft are out early with their TV spot this year recognizing that the getting ready for Xmas bit is what their audience love.
Is this something you can weave into your messaging?
Maybe you sell candles – make buying one all about setting the right mood in the house when everyone comes home during the Xmas period.
Or maybe you offer Reiki services – talk about how a calm you can help make a fun Xmas for the family.
Or may you sell hats – this is where your customer wears the perfect hat to go and buy their Xmas tree?
You can apply this to most products and services if you think enough about it!
camp it up
Making Christmas fun, camp and silly is also 100% allowed.
If you are a serious brand throughout the year (hey accountants!) this is your one time to cover yourself in tinsel and sing a bad karaoke rendition of ‘Last Christmas’ on an Instagram reel and no one will think any less of you.
It is your one chance to join and have fun, so if that’s not normally your brand, consider it as an approach.
Of course there are just some businesses this would look out of place for but you can try pushing the boundaries to see what happens.
Check out what Selfridges have done with their 1970s cinema-ad style effort for 2021 below (which I LOVE!) to get you inspired!
remember that your gifts can change lives
You cannot go wrong with talking about the effect that giving your gift will have on the recipient.
Reminding your gift givers what you already talk about all year is the path to riches over the Xmas period.
Lego has done this so well in their 2021 TV spot with a big-action budget to match the imagination of the people using it.
They are saying “you could make someone this happy” when you buy it for them…could you do that with your own products or service this Christmas too?
But alternatively don’t forget that gift-giving sometimes is about making the gift giver look really good…and that’s Ok to be on the joke with.
it’s not from this year but it’s one of my all-time favourite Xmas ads because of how blatant it is about showing off how good you’ll look when you give someone a Mulberry bag (hint to my husband if he’s reading this!)
I hope that you enjoyed reading this as much as enjoyed researching it this year!
Let me know what you think of the campaign below and if you got ay inspiration for your own last-minute Christmas campaign ideas!
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