The Visual Guide To a Holiday Campaign.

Tips and best practices on creating an engaging holiday campaign that will delight your audience. 

Aika Zikibayeva
November 30, 2015 - 5 min. read

The reality is, if you haven’t thought of a concept for your holiday campaign yet, you are running out of time. To help you out, we’ve looked at how different companies are stepping up their social game this season and created a visual guide with key aspects that marketers should keep in mind when taking a festive approach.

#1 – Target the right audience

No matter if you’re going for new followers or cementing relationships with loyal customers (or both), remember to have a clear audience and persona in mind and create an experience for the full product journey. Think how will they use your products – will they offer them as a gift to loved ones? Try to recreate that feeling. At the end of the day, we are all made out of a combination of sentiments and experiences, so tap into that and make it as personal as possible.

This holiday season, Marks & Spencer showed a great example of listening to their audience and targeting the right consumers. With their new campaign “The Art of Christmas”, M&S took to their clients, saying “Customers tell us they experience Christmas as a series of mini-moments and emotions, and each moment matters in building that bigger sense of occasion”.¹ In an attempt to reproduce the feeling of holiday anticipation and festive celebration, they have looked at the “digitally-connected” segment and created a series of 9 adverts to be released on various channels.

M&S also enticed the two million members of Sparks, their loyalty club, with previews of these ads a few days before everyone else.

#2 – Connect your message & brand voice

Tesco has delighted us year after year with their unique brand voice, composed of sass and humour.

On Halloween, Tesco created a campaign true to their spirit – they pranked unsuspecting customers and brought smiles to their online audience.

Following in the footsteps of GoPro, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and many others, Tesco used human emotion to produce highly-shareable content. These types of campaigns make it easy for large groups of people to identify with those in the situation and share the fun with their friends and family.

#3 – Tell a story

Big brands are usually known for mastering this aspect, as they have various creative means at their disposal and budget to spare. This year, Target went as far as creating their own digital holiday storybook and distributed it as a combination of ads, apps, games, and even a Wonderland store environment, to appeal to both kids and parents. They all tie into a story: Adventure in a Magic Christmas Land.

However, interesting campaigns can spark from anywhere and not necessarily be dependent on a high investment. Companies of all sizes are equal on social media, where only the best and most genuine ideas manage to cut through the noise. Here at, we created a themed Halloween campaign, #marketersworstnightmare, and leveraged the scary sentiment around this holiday.

#4 – Think mobile

Recent mobile research showed that even though the average US consumer uses the phone for about 220 minutes/day, the time spent on each session is decreasing, prompting Google to labels these sessions micro-moments.² Here’s how marketers tackled this challenge.

In the previous example, M&S created a series of ads to run on TV, while for other digital channels they broke them down into seven shorter 20 and 30 second looks, perfectly suitable for the short time allocated by users.

Target took a different route in an attempt to direct users to spend more time interacting with their brand. They created an app that, when used in kid-friendly mode, encourages children to write a wish-list and play games, while when used in adult-mode, allows parents to access their child’s list.

Holiday Campaign Target

(Image credit: Target)

#5 – Be unconventional

Don’t focus just on the main holidays – what about some alternative ones that can be owned easier? We are all familiar by now with the fuss around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but have you heard of Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday? Maybe there is an opportunity there for you.

Here’s how American Express capitalized on this holiday and made it a favorite among small, local companies; businesses that cannot compete with big retailers in terms of budget and promotions, but pride themselves with the high levels of customer service and one-to-one attention they offer.

In their new campaign, #ShopSmall, American Express tried to capture this exact feeling and encourage consumers to show their love for the local grocery store and coffee shop. The spirit the video conveys is exactly that of a small, cozy place where you will experience great service and a familiar feeling. You end up feeling you owe it to your community to support the local, owner based shops that cultivate so much authenticity around.

Advice is good, but we realized that we should also practice what we preach. We noticed that Share Your Unique Talent Day was coming up, and thought, well, aren’t we all a bunch of talented Falconeers?

With a more easy-going tone, and a series of photos and gifs on Instagram, we managed to increase our engagement and even leverage some employee involvement.

This holiday season, keep it simple, funny, and light-hearted, and look for inspiration from your product and users. Backing your ideas up with some budget is always a bonus, but there are many other interesting options you can consider. So why not get started on that holiday campaign today?




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