What sorts of traditions, festivities, or icons do you most eagerly anticipate each holiday season? Perhaps it’s a party, a house of gingerbread, or your favorite Christmas RomCom. Or maybe it is the return of Starbucks’ specialty drinks. Heartwarming commercials? The jolly image of Santa Claus, maybe? Whatever it is, the Christmas season seems somehow incomplete without these cheerful trappings.
But how have these traditions, products, and customs so completely captivated our hearts? In this article, we’ll take a look at some marketing campaigns (most of which you’ll likely recognize) and their impeccable success during the Christmas season. They’ve been so successful, in fact, that they’ve influenced our intrinsic way of celebrating the holiday. So let’s take note of these business’s fantastic creativity and their campaigns’ genius embodiment of the Christmas season.
Along with Rudolf and George Washington, these holiday marketing campaigns will go down in history in the hearts of consumers everywhere:
- Google Santa Tracker. Of course, Google had to make it on our list of businesses with the best holiday marketing campaigns. However, you may have only heard of their Santa Tracker if you have kids. That’s because this ultra-fun, interactive, and oh so creative app is a child’s Christmas dream come true. It is packed with on-theme entertainment, educational games, a Christmas countdown, and of course, a live Santa tracker for Christmas Eve. Using the Santa Tracker app for the month of December has even become a Christmas tradition for many families each year. So there you have it, Google has done it once again– this time, with your Santa-seeking children in mind.
- REI Opt Outside. If you’re sick of the Black Friday rush and you’re looking for something better to do with your post-Thanksgiving Friday, then you may have heard of #OptOutside. This hashtag campaign has become wildly popular, even beyond the realm of REI. Rather than slashing prices and opening early, the outdoor company closes its doors and pays its employees to take a day off and spend it outside. And while this seems a bit backward for a for-profit company, their encouragement to ditch the mall and #OptOutside has taken a significant stake in modern holiday tradition and outdoor enthusiasm.
- UPS’s Your #WishesDelivered Program. This campaign speaks to and embraces the spirit of Christmas. With just a hashtag campaign, #wishesdelivered promotes the good deeds of the season with inspiring videos and stories. With the intent to spread good cheer, UPS selects people in need to fulfill a particular wish or to deliver them a surprise. The company also encourages people to post their own stories of Christmas goodwill to their collection. In addition to these inspiring stories, UPS will donate to one of three charity partners each time the hashtag #wishesdelivered gets used. Check out their videos here. But make sure to have some tissues on-hand.
- Starbucks Cup Design. The Starbucks holiday cups are among the most celebrated traditions of the Christmas season. Not only do they welcome the return of the Starbucks holiday menu, but for so many, they mark the start of the Christmas season itself! That’s because each year, these cups come with a different design. And despite their controversy over the years, they are always welcomed with open arms. Here are a few of their poorly-received designs that seemed to only enhance the Starbucks’ fame:
- 2015’s minimalist red cup: This design was accused of removing Christian imagery from the holiday cups in pursuit of political correctness. Plus, it was deemed “not Christmassy enough.”
- 2016’s green cup: This received backlash for waging war on Christmas with a political message.
- 2017’s gender ambiguous cup: And finally, this design sparked uproar with its image of two genderless hands holding among other cartoon Christmas images.
Finally, in 2018, Starbucks set aside their rebellion and returned to more traditional cup designs. But now, no matter what’s in store, their new cups each year are met with particular eagerness. So, while it was a risk to be controversial, they certainly gained lots of attention.