4 Holiday Social Campaigns That Win & Why

Social Media Marketing


It’s that time of year again — when all is merry and bright on social media, full of good hashtag tidings from your favorite brands. As a consumer, the holiday campaigns that I am most likely to engage with and share on my own social channels are the ones that don’t necessarily offer a discount code, but reflect a piece of my personality. What impetus do I have to share a 50% off deal for Black Friday when it’s 1) impersonal and 2) can happen anytime during the year? I’m WAY more likely to share a cute holiday video that is so heartwarming that it melts the snow off my windshield, even if there’s no benefit to my wallet.

As a social marketer, I’m always looking at the digital media campaigns of other companies for inspiration and have compiled a list of my favorite holiday campaigns and why they are successful. Here’s hoping that these inspire you to create something fantastic and put some cheer into your Holidays!

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1) Memorable, Interactive Video: Kate Spade

For its 2014 holiday campaign, Kate Spade created a clickable video featuring Anna Kendrick (and an incredibly adorable dog) called “The Waiting Game.” In the video, Kendrick is locked out of her apartment and passes time waiting for someone to come let her in by playing with the Kate Spade items in her shopping bags.Kate Spade Holiday Marketing

What makes this video stand out from a marketing perspective though is the fact that it is clickable. While a user watches the video, they can click on any of  the pieces that interest them and then, once the video is finished, those items populate into a list allowing the user to see more information or purchase them.

Clickable Video - Kate Spade

The video itself features vibrant colors, has a relatable storyline, has funny and endearing one-liner moments, ultimately making the viewer more likely to want to share it and more importantly, buy from it. Interestingly enough, I heard about this campaign first through social media coverage of it (thank you, Facebook newsfeed), before I actually received the official promotion from Kate Spade via email.

2) Using Humor to Shake Things Up: Kmart + Joe Boxers

Kmart is shaking things up (literally) in 2014 with the return of their Joe Boxers holiday campaign. Their new “Jingle Bellies” commercial, features a string of “Average Joe” men in their pajama pants who slap their own bellies in harmonious union to the tune of Jingle Bells.

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This funny video campaign, now in its second year, is nowhere near the kind of heartwarming Lifetime movie-esque feature we’re used to seeing family brands produce during the holiday season, but that’s why it’s so memorable. The humor isn’t lost on us, Kmart, and if anything, I’m more than excited to see what the 2015 version will look like.

3) The Pumpkin Spice Latte Gets A Personality: Starbucks

Oh the Pumpkin Spice Latte, or @TheRealPSL as it goes by on Twitter. Who else can create a mass social following around a seasonal drink? While Starbucks debuted a new holiday flavor, the Chestnut Praline Latte, this year, the major focus of its holiday campaign has been on the ever-popular PSL. This year’s holiday campaign took it to a whole new level with sponsored tweets driving to the new Twitter account dedicated solely to the PSL, which at time of publication has over 92,000 fans (that’s more than most brands, let alone a single product that is on average only available less than 4 months every year). It also includes a Tumblr site where fans can submit their own “spicy” photos, ask questions, and engage in all the glory that is their favorite latte.

Starbucks Holiday Social Campaign

Tweets like this are just an example of how the company is going all in on personifying this one drink against their other holiday offerings. I’m excited to see what other saucy things it has to say throughout the holidays and what it would say if it knew that I was having a hazelnut latte while writing this (sorry for cheating on you, PSL!)

I’ve yet to see any other brand invest so much effort in to a small segment of their product offering, but the PSL now feels like a saucy friend that I’d want to hang out with by the fireplace on a rainy afternoon.

4) Surprise and Delight: WestJet

Airlines tend to get the most negative sentiment during the crazy holiday travel season, so in 2013, Canadian airline WestJet surprised its passengers, and the world, with a surprise delivery of gifts. To do this, WestJet set up an “Ask Santa” kiosk where passengers could ask Santa for anything that they wanted. Unassuming passengers said anything from flat screen TVs to new socks. While the passengers were flying, a team of employees at their destination ran to the store to purchase everything and when the customers arrived, they were pleasantly surprised when everything they asked for was unloaded at baggage claim.

WestJet Surprise and Delight Holiday Campaign

WestJet filmed it and posted it online and while the stunt itself didn’t cost much—the video was picked up by local news stations and spread like wildfire across social networks. The increase in customer sentiment and brand recognition that it drove was priceless. Surprise and delight is a social media tactic that can be employed at any time of year and at any level, but I LOVE how WestJet did this.

These campaigns are holiday by nature, but the essential elements that make them successful are applicable year-round. Adding a face and human characteristics to something you already like makes you adore it and want to buy it, because the brand becomes your friend. Learn more about the details behind social marketing with this success kit.

What are your favorite holiday campaigns? I’m always on the look-out for innovative campaigns — please share them below in the comments.