Summer is Here! Can Christmas Be Far Behind?
Updated: Jul 11
Five Reasons Why Holiday Advertising is an Opportunity Not to be Missed
We all have our favorites.
Holiday advertising spots that, like our most cherished family decorations, we look forward to unpacking every December.
For some, it’s a beer commercial with the iconic Clydesdales trotting through the snow. Or an animated Santa sledding down a hill on an electric razor or holding a bottle of Coca-Cola. Or the above spot from Dutch mail-order pharmacy, Doc Morris, which broke the internet in 2020. Like Hallmark cards of old, we seem to take great joy in the sentiment, nostalgia, and spirit of the season rising above the direct sales and marketing messages we get throughout the rest of the year.
But aside from the warm feelings we get from holiday advertising, is there a business case to be made for this strategy? Is this type of advertising a waste of money, or a unique opportunity not to be missed?
The Gift of Emotion
Advertising that can make you laugh, cry, or send your spirit soaring might not be what’s needed to sell products, but they create an emotional bond between marketer and audience that money can’t buy. Need proof? Check out this collection of holiday advertising spots and decide for yourself. But take note of these three things:
You’ll notice that some of these spots are in languages other than English. Others have no dialogue at all. But it doesn’t matter; they communicate quite clearly in a universal language that seems only spoken during the holiday season.
You’ll also notice that these spots run considerably longer than the usual 0:30 length most common in television advertising. That’s because they are designed to run in social media, where length isn’t constrained by cost.
Finally, you’ll probably also notice that these spots have little, if anything, to do with the advertiser’s actual business, products, or services. It’s all about giving a simple, lovely gift to the viewer.
So are Christmas holiday commercials a good use of your marketing budget? All signs point to a definite “yes,” since spending on this kind of marketing has been increasing in both the U.S. and Europe. Why?
Five Reasons Why Holiday Advertising is Good for Your Brand
Builds an emotional connection. And emotion always works in marketing. Nearly half of respondents in the U.K. report being moved to tears by their favorite holiday advertising. Tough to achieve, but when you do, you’ve reached the promised land of marketing. Holiday advertising is uniquely suited to this lofty goal.
Adds a dimension that elevates your brand. If done well, your holiday video positions you as more than you are. You’re no longer just a bank. Or a hospital. Or a law firm. You’re a community asset that cares about people, families, and their hopes and dreams. These are common values we all share and privately wish for one another, but seldom see expressed by businesses.
Huge boost in web and social media traffic. Most holiday videos are promoted through social media, so expect extra traffic to your social sites and web page. This might also be a good opportunity to partner with a local charity or cause to further leverage your brand’s visibility and emotional connection.
ROI of 5:1 or 10:1…or more. As popular as holiday ads are in the U.S., they’re a much bigger deal in Europe, particularly in the U.K. Why? Because they provide elements of value to brands that other forms of advertising and marketing cannot. . One in three consumers report being as excited about the launch of a new Christmas commercial as they are about a new movie premier. And every British pound spent on holiday advertising yields a six-fold return in direct financial benefit.
Doesn’t require a major investment. Sure, John Lewis in the U.K. routinely spends £5-7 million per year on holiday advertising, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to. Craft a simple message. Produce it well. And do it cost-effectively. Then, promote it on your social media platforms. If it’s good, it will take off.
Christmas in July
The bottom line is that holiday advertising, if done well, provides an opportunity to connect with consumers and key audiences unlike any other marketing strategy. The key is to do it well. Evoke an emotion. Make hearts sing. And when spirits soar, sales will follow.
But the time to start planning is now. Think of it as Christmas in July. Obviously, you can't do any on-location videography of snowstorms and holiday decorations, but that's where creativity comes into play. If you watch some of the better examples of holiday advertising, you'll see how it can be easily done.
So I don’t know if there’ll be snow, but it won’t be long before this year’s holiday videos go viral. It might be summer vacation, but now is the time to get in the holiday spirit!