One of the most familiar aspects of the festive season is the explosion of creative campaigns lining our high-streets and TV screens as the world turns twinkly with Christmas magic. Before we tumble into the 20s, we’ve rounded up some of the most memorable Christmas campaigns from the past ten years to reflect on the festivities of this decade.
How could you write about this subject without the inclusion of the most notorious advertisers in the festive market – John Lewis. With so many heart-warming ideas to choose from, they’re a difficult brand to narrow down, but standout years include 2011’s ‘The Long Wait’ campaign and 2014’s ‘Monty the Penguin’. ‘The Long Wait’ depicted a young boy desperately counting down the days to Christmas only to reveal that, in the end, he was excited to give a present, not receive one. ‘Monty the Penguin’ was the tale of a little boy and his pet penguin who sought a mate, revealing at the end that the penguins were teddies and the images in the advert were in the boy’s imagination. The genius within these two campaigns were in the twist endings which guaranteed an ‘awww’ moment from audiences. They tugged on emotional heartstrings in a way we didn’t expect them to at the start, straying away from the stereotypical themes of Father Christmas and presents and, instead, focussing on more moving aspects of the season such as childhood innocence and imagination. Consequently, these two campaigns stand out in the sea of red suits, jolly music and faux Christmas morning joy which tends to saturate our winter screens.
Another sector which hit the mark in the 2010s was airline companies, creating some effective and memorable campaigns for people travelling over the holidays. In 2013, Canadian airline, West Jet, launched a campaign which got people talking all around the world. Passengers were given the opportunity to tell a virtual Father Christmas what their dream Christmas gift would be and, upon arrival at their destination, wrapped gifts bearing their names appeared on the baggage carousel, each containing their dream gifts. The process was edited into a short video which went viral, earning the company plenty of positive coverage and making the Christmases of the unsuspecting guests involved. This campaign was brilliant way to raise brand awareness in the festive season, without being overtly pushy in advertising.
Another airline making the most of the holiday season was Dutch company KLM, who crafted a campaign based on loneliness when travelling alone at Christmas. They prepared a buffet table high off the ground with a collection of seats positioned below. Each time a seat was filled the table moved down, until eventually all the seats were full and the table was at eating height. Those positioned around the ‘bonding buffet’ then tucked into their Christmas meal, sharing it with strangers and promoting friendliness and openness for those alone in the festive season. Despite not directly promoting their brand, the positive message this spun around the company is a perfect example of a carefully crafted PR campaign.
The final campaign we’ve selected is the more recent work of the social media app, TikTok. The intelligence behind this campaign is the use of the app format itself to help charities, rather than the company just putting its name to a cause. Having partnered with a series of notable celebrities, the app encourages users to post lip-sync videos using their Christmas augmented reality filters under the hashtag #CreateForACause. The app will donate $2million to charity as users produce and post more videos, creating positive connotations around the use of their product and significantly contributing to a collection of charitable causes. This is a great way to get customers in the festive spirit, doing good in the Christmas season and increase usage of the app, as well as significantly increasing its notoriety.
It’s inarguable that Christmas provides a uniquely rich environment for campaigns and PR stunts, and it’s clear from the last decade that brands who really hit the spot put themselves on the map for years to come. With this we wish you a very happy Christmas many wishes for a joyful new year!