From all parts of the marketing world, we've selected our favourite Christmas marketing campaigns for you to read and enjoy!

Can you smell mince pies? Taste mulled wine? Can you see tinsel, baubles and sparkly lights everywhere? Christmas is definitely recognisable; no other time of year sees such an explosion of colour and theme. And it seems to get earlier and earlier (who’s putting their tree up in November??).

One of the most noticeable parts of Christmas is marketing, where companies have to go all out in their attempts to stand out from the ever increasing and inventive crowd. Some miss the mark spectacularly (ask anyone who’s seen the recent Peloton ad), but others hit the sweet spot. Maybe they hit you in the feels, make you laugh your head off, or are just such a good idea you have to take notice.

Like the presents you receive, what Christmas marketing you enjoy is entirely personal. At Taxi for Email, we’ve compiled our 5 favourite festive marketing campaigns. Some are purely email-based, but some are from other marketing areas too. So grab your box of Quality Street and that glass of sherry you’ve had your eye on. Let’s have a look at the marketing campaigns that your email Santa’s at Taxi have put on the nice list.

12 days of Christmas

We had to start with an email-based one didn’t we? With their door-to-door representatives and a century of heritage, Avon haven’t got the most modern of brand personas. But their ‘12 days of Deals’ campaigns have knocked at our digital doors in a very inventive way over the past few years.

An offer from Avon's 12 Days of Deals campaign

It's an email campaign you couldn't make up... (sorry).

Using the 12 days of Christmas theme (even though technically this theme is after Christmas, not before), they have released a sequence of emails in the run up to Christmas Day offering different deals to subscribers for each day, in the guise of ‘advent presents’. Using an age-old Christmas idiom gave Avon the chance to push their Christmas promotions into inboxes without it being seen as spam. 

Using the ‘12 days’ and ‘advent presents’ theme, Avon were able to expose their brand consistently to consumers at a time of high competition, in a seasonal and receptive way. 

Superstore campaigns

Ok this is a bit of a catch all. But the contest for the best annual Christmas marketing campaign from superstores is now more socially relevant than the race to Christmas No.1 in the charts. It seems that this competitiveness has pushed Christmas marketing further than most individual campaigns could. Playing on Christmas tropes, they are consistently memorable, emotional and put their companies right in the minds of Christmas shoppers that year.

Edgar the Dragon, this year’s central character in the John Lewis and Waitrose campaign.
Edgar the Dragon, this year’s central character in the John Lewis and Waitrose campaign.

John Lewis has become synonymous with Christmas with their emotionally-led campaigns, previously featuring Monty the Penguin, Moz the Monster, and this year’s tear-jerking Edgar the Dragon. Aldi has rivalled them recently with the adventures of Kevin the Carrot and his adversary Russell Sprout. This year Sainsbury’s got nostalgic in their 150th year with a Dickensian-themed advert. Tesco also attempted to join in and resurrected Jim Bowen… yeah I don’t understand why either. 

Big Christmas marketing campaigns have reached beyond Coca Cola’s classic adverts; the daddy of Christmas marketing campaigns. They are now an annual pop culture event. For this marketing to be such a large part of Christmas is testament to the inventiveness and execution on show, and they're certainly a favourite of ours!

Budweiser’s Prohibition

Alcohol is a large part of Christmas celebrations, and getting merry is almost as common as getting socks from your Nan. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with drinking (responsibly) over Christmas, parties need to be attended and relatives visited. The risk of drink-driving and over-consumption is therefore high. 

In conjunction with the US Department of Transport, Budweiser took a piece of American history based around sobriety and combined it creatively with Christmas themes. It produced a great piece of marketing for their alcohol-free beer that carried a sensible message too. 

‘Budweiser Prohibition’ reinforced the anti drink-and-drive message with Christmas motifs and imagery and product names linked to the Prohibition era of American history (something that is becoming popular in alcoholic beverage marketing). The campaign didn’t come across as anti-fun or preachy. It highlighted all the fun and social aspects of drinking beer and enjoying yourself at Christmas, but with that gentle reminder not to drink and drive. Cheers to that!

Spotify Wrapped

Everyone gets curious and enjoys knowing things about themselves. Spotify run an annual marketing campaign around Christmas directed at customer retention, and fun, that does just that. It uses data collected from each individual subscriber to tell them some fun stats about their music streaming habits that year. 

Starting out as a piece of email marketing, it expanded into an in-app function with push notifications suggesting that it was available to view. Utilising data that Spotify collect from listeners to tap into their natural human self-curiosity means that it is intriguing, personal and an event to be shared. Spotify encourage posting results onto social media as another passive way to market themselves. It means that at the end of the year, and the festive season, people are sharing and conversing about Spotify. Brand awareness heightens and it ensures continued usage and premium subscriptions. 

Someone really changed their listening habits this year...

It’s a clever soft-sell and loyalty building tactic by tapping into basic human self-curiosity. It’s also a perfect example of non-creepy or overtly suggestive personalisation, which was a hot topic for the email community in 2019. If  you want to unleash the power of personalisation but stay considerate to your audience - Spotify is your example.

Dollar Shave Club’s subject line emoji’s

We end with more email marketing. This is a simple yet ingenious way to get an email noticed amongst the barrage of other emails.

If you’ve signed up to a lot of mailing lists, chances are you’ll be bombarded with emails around Christmas, each containing their own amazing offers and designed to be bright and eye catching. But how do you entice someone to click into them in the beginning? With a catchy subject line of course. But everyone is creating those right? Dollar Shave Club found themselves in this exact predicament. They decided to embrace the chaos and use their subject line to not only draw attention to themselves, but actively you encourage not to select other emails. Smart use of emojis achieved this:

In a muddled world of company names and subject lines, Dollar Shave Club’s subject line stands out above the rest.

The up and down pointing hand emojis, combined with a subject line telling you not to look at the email before or after it, immediately draws the eye. And it says nothing about the product. It plays on the smorgasbord of choice consumers are presented with, and how this can cause a problem in itself (ever heard of too much choice?). It entices you to click on it by eliminating other choices. To do that in a subject line, before getting to the email content itself, is a fantastically inventive way to stand out from the Christmas crowd.

Merry Christmas from Taxi!

There are Taxi’s 5 personal favourite Christmas marketing campaigns! With big and small budgets, complex ideas to simple ones, festive marketing is one of the most inventive and spectacular times of the year in our industry. We can’t wait to see what 2020 will bring! In the meantime, Taxi wishes you a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year 🙂.   

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