It’s the most marketable time of the year, and as such, the Bold team have been noticing a significant amount of festive creative in our inboxes and on social media. There is no doubt everyone wants a piece of this particular Christmas cake, and certainly, some do it better than others.

In this post we highlight some of the more noticeable marketing campaigns by brands in 2017.

The IDM for Email Prowess

The IDM (Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing) are a training body offering a wealth of courses to marketers seeking accreditation for their skills.

This year they have been sending out a series of advent emails.

Clicking the link in the emails, you are introduced to an advent calendar, where lying behind each door, there is a treat.

This prize could be a video of Monty the Penguin or entry into a prize draw, or even a marketing tip.

Why we like it:

The rewards are different from each other and unexpected. If you are the type of person who never seems to win competitions, a nostalgic video or a free resource could be enough to brighten up a chilly December day. Plus, for these marketers, it’s a great way to make click-through rates soar.

Marks & Spencer for Storytelling Genius

Marketing at Christmas is synonymous with the John Lewis ad. Since other retail brands have been forced to up their game, the department store chain has faced stiff competition.

This year, of the many festive TV offerings tugging at our purse strings, we want to highlight the Marks & Spencer advert “Paddington and the Christmas Visitor”. M & S takes a well-known character that appeals to all generations and inserts him into our traditional Christmas legend. But this time, there’s a twist culminating in an unlikely sequence of events.

Why we like it:

Storytelling is the way to win the audiences’ heart – If top brands and advertisers can teach us anything, it’s how to create a compelling narrative to add entertainment value to our marketing efforts.

Ancestry.com for Excellent Timing

Last year, we thought DNA tests were just something used on the Jeremy Kyle show, but now everyone wants one. People are curious about what secrets they might uncover from their genes.
With adverts on search, social media and Groupon, it’s hard to miss Ancestry’s 20% off deal for the DNA kit that tells you your ethnic breakdown: a different sort of present from the usual electronic gadgets and socks.

Why we like it:

Google Trends shows us that search interest in “genealogical DNA test” has peaked in November of this year, with the second period of popularity being early to mid-January. If the marketers have done their homework, they will have picked up on this activity near to Christmas 2016 and have decided to exploit it.

Whatever their research efforts, they have successfully tapped into the current appetite for knowledge to produce an offer that genealogy aficionados won’t refuse. It’s a simple discount, but the timing couldn’t be better.

Hotel Chocolat for Creating Urgency

We often get cravings for the delicious offerings at Hotel Chocolat. Their marketing team are well aware of our weaknesses and have taken advantage by offering a 15% discount for one day only. Consumers are powerless to resist.

Why we like it:

In recent years, Christmas sales have been moving earlier and earlier in order to entice shoppers to spend more of their cash.

The chance to save money on gifts is bound to be welcome. In this instance, Hotel Chocolat gives you that opportunity, but for a limited time. Urgency is a powerful driver for customer action, as is chocolate, so it’s a marketing win-win.

Visit Denmark for Savvy Social

We didn’t want to tell you about this one, because we don’t want to decrease our own odds of winning a free trip to Denmark, but the simplicity and inventiveness of this campaign really leaves an impression.

Opting for a traditional advent calendar format, Danish tourist organisation Visit Denmark has teamed up with Scandinavian Airlines and film company, 12 Stars Media, to bring some Christmas cheer to our Facebook feeds. The campaign is called “Finding Hygge in 24 days” and educates participants on the Danish concept of “hygge”, roughly translated as cosiness.

Each day, social media users are prompted to click a link (or swipe in Stories on Instagram) to open a virtual door. The doors have a “hygge” lifestyle tip in the form of a film snippet. Then you submit your email address and country of residence to enter a prize draw.

Why we like it?

As if 24 chances to win a trip to Denmark aren’t reasons enough, we love the gift of beautiful video content to get us in the right kind of Christmas mood. These marketers hit the sweet spot with simplicity and flair.

Christmas is prime time for marketing activity with fierce competition. As business owners, it is imperative to notice what is going on in social media, web pages and TV screens to get a handle on the winning formula behind advertising, whether that is urgency, competitions, storytelling or compelling content.

One thing we hope to see more of in 2018 is personalisation in Christmas campaigns so we all have a slightly different brand experience tailored to our interests, and wouldn’t that be just like Christmas every day?