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15 best holiday marketing campaign examples for 2023

Reading Time: 8 minutes

A common myth about holiday campaigns is that huge discounts are the only way to gain your audience’s attention. This isn’t necessarily true. 

It’s a popular strategy to attract new consumers by offering discounts during the festive season. However, this isn’t the sole strategy that can contribute to the success of a holiday campaign.

There are many other strategies to attract customers and increase conversions.  Developing creative holiday marketing campaigns can attract customers and ultimately increase revenue.

This article provides insights on how to create effective campaigns that outlast the holiday season.

We’ll explore 15 examples of how brands used holiday advertising campaigns to build strong and loyal communities. We’ll also look at how brands leverage holiday marketing campaigns to demonstrate values and strengthen customer relationships.

Let’s get started.

Boost your holiday marketing campaigns!

6 tips for successful holiday marketing campaigns

Holiday advertising requires a strategic approach. In this section, we’ll explore practical ways to build lasting connections with customers during the holiday season. 

1. Plan ahead

Avoid putting off holiday campaigns until the last minute. Start filling your marketing calendar with campaign ideas early.

It gives you time to:

  • Secure any partnerships or sponsorships you need to make the holiday marketing campaigns attractive
  • Test your holiday campaigns and make strategic adjustments
  • Send holiday opt-out emails to subscribers who do not wish to receive holiday-related content

Planning ahead enables you to execute your holiday marketing campaigns early. 

Take a look at this holiday campaign by Craighill, which targets early shoppers with a 20% discount. The offer is time-sensitive and taps into the subscribers’ fear of missing out.  

Craighill campaign offer
 Image via Really Good Emails

2. Create emotionally engaging content

People’s behaviors and choices are often dictated by their emotional states. Holiday campaigns provide one of the best opportunities to connect with the audience emotionally. 

With the festive mood, all you have to do is tap into the positive emotions of gratitude, giving, and togetherness. With that, brands can create emotionally charged holiday email subject lines and content. 

Fracture, for instance, taps into holiday nostalgia in this campaign. It creates positive emotions of being together as a family. The headline “From our family to yours” instills a sense of belonging and care.

3. Use social media

Incorporate social media as an integral part of your holiday marketing campaign.

You can host holiday giveaways or partner with influencers in your niche to share exclusive offers.

However, if you’re on a tight budget, simple holiday-themed posts can also suffice.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Create humorous or playful posts that match the merriness of the season
  • Use holiday-related hashtags
  • Share personal or brand-related holiday stories

Observe how FedEx used the hashtag #Christmas in this post. The picture of a puppy dressed up in a holiday costume matches the playful mood of the season.

Seasonal holiday campaign by FedEx
Image via X

4. Unleash your creativity

Remember that your competitors will also run holiday marketing campaigns. The only way to make your holiday advertising campaign stand out is through creative thinking. Unconventional festive advertising will catch people’s attention.

One idea is to partner with influencers to create limited-edition holiday products. You can also host a scavenger hunt on your website with attractive prizes for the winners.

The creativity in this post from Zara Homes is a good example. It shares an inventive way the audience can create a Christmas tree.

Creative seasonal Instagram post by zarahome
Image via Instagram

5. Offer real value

Offering real value is more than just a good practice for holiday marketing campaigns. It’s a necessity and discounts are one of the main ways to achieve this. However, it is not advisable to reduce prices without further action. 

Successful holiday marketing campaigns focus on building customer relationships that drive post-holiday sales campaigns.

Propose strategies that make holiday shopping more convenient for your customers, such as offering free shipping and discounted gift cards.

If you’re short of ideas, use one of Omnisend’s holiday email templates to send pre-optimized emails with real value.

For instance, this Onsen campaign offers subscribers a 30% Black Friday discount. In addition, it makes shopping more convenient for its customers by providing free shipping.

6. Use an omnichannel approach

The best holiday campaigns take an omnichannel approach to maximize reach. The objective is to incorporate all relevant marketing channels into your holiday advertising strategy.

Ensure a unified experience across all touchpoints. Each interaction should build upon the previous interaction and inform the next. 

The best way to do this is by using one marketing automation platform to execute your campaign across different channels.

For instance, leverage the power of Omnisend for your Black Friday discount by deploying web push notifications. Use the same marketing platform to implement the promotional campaign via email and follow it up with SMS. 

This integrated approach maximizes the reach and impact of your campaign. It also ensures a cohesive communication strategy across all channels.

10 Best holiday marketing campaign examples

The following 10 holiday ads are examples of how brands leverage emotional storytelling and nostalgia to capture the holiday spirit.

They’ll provide you with holiday newsletter ideas to tell stories that build a connection with your audience.

1. Coca-Cola – Holidays are coming!

Sesonal Christmas ad by Coca Cola
Image via YouTube

This ad by Coca-Cola is one of the best holiday advertising examples. Coca-Cola captures the warmth, joy, and love of Christmas in this ad. It’s reflected in the townspeople’s excitement when trucks decorated with Christmas lights pass through their town.  

The ad was launched at the end of November, coinciding with the onset of the Christmas season. The fact it was launched at the end of November suggests that Coca-Cola planned this campaign early.

Additionally, the ad ends with a valuable message on recycling and giving back to society. This makes people like the brand even more.

2. Disney – The gift

Seasonal holiday animation ad by Disney
Image via YouTube

This is also one of the holiday advertisement examples that tugs at the audience’s heartstrings. The ad uses immersive storytelling and animation to tell a powerful story of sibling love and family dynamics.

This is a storyline that many consumers can relate to. It’s engaging and effective at connecting with the audience emotionally.   

The ad also features a Mickey Mouse toy, a creative and subtle promotion of Disney’s products.

3. McDonald’s – The list

seasonal Christmas ad by Mcdonald's
Image via YouTube

McDonald’s ‘The List’ reminds the audience of the joy of making a Christmas wish list but with a powerful message about the true meaning of Christmas.

According to the ad, Christmas isn’t about expensive gifts. It’s about having meaningful experiences with loved ones, such as sharing a meal at McDonalds.

The ad focuses on the value of togetherness, which taps into the festive spirit of the holiday season. It also enhances the brand’s image as a place where families can create special memories.

4. ASDA – Have your elf a Merry Christmas

Have your Elf a Merry Christmas Asda Christmas Advert 2022 with Will Farrell
Image via YouTube

This holiday advertising campaign features Will Ferrell. He plays his iconic and humorous character ‘Buddy the Elf.’ In this case, he’s looking for a job at ASDA.

It’s a great example of leveraging influencer marketing to achieve successful social media campaigns during the holidays.

What makes this one of the best holiday ad examples is the creativity in showing ASDA’s range of festive food.

We also glimpse the self-checkout counters and ASDA’s home delivery trucks.

The use of humor is another plus for this ad. It creates a positive emotional connection with the audience.

5. Google – Home alone again

Seasonal Christmas ad by Google with Macaulay Culkin
Image via YouTube

Google’s collaboration with Macaulay Culkin in this ad is another example of leveraging influencer marketing to create viral holiday social media campaigns. The ad recreates scenes from the classic Christmas-themed film ‘Home Alone.’

It’s a beloved holiday classic and has been an annual favorite of many people’s childhoods. It evokes a sense of nostalgia and fond memories, making viewers feel more connected to the ad.

The ad cleverly highlights the value of Google Assistant by showing how Kevin would have done things differently if he had it. 

6. Sainsbury’s – Silent, holy night

Seasonal emotional "Christmas Truce of 1914" ad by Sainsbury
Image via YouTube

This Sainsbury’s ad takes emotional advertising to a new level.

It recreates the Christmas Truce of 1914, where a British soldier secretly gifts a chocolate to a German soldier.     

What makes this a great campaign:

  • It leverages a poignant historical event, evoking powerful feelings of unity and humanity
  • The ad ran in 2014, when the world was commemorating 100 years since the start of the First World War. Its significance makes it more meaningful and draws significant attention
  • Incorporating the Christmas carol ‘Silent Night’ creates a sense of nostalgia and warmth, further connecting viewers with the ad

7. UPS – Delivering mom hugs

LGBTQ+ community real-life struggles and triumphs ad by UPS
Image via YouTube

This ad tells the story of a mom with an LGBTQ son who spreads her love to other LGBTQ members through free mom hugs.

The ad features the real-life struggles and triumphs of LGBTQ individuals and their families, making it highly relatable to this group.

When COVID-19 made it impossible to deliver these hugs in person, UPS stepped in to help her send mom hugs in care packages. This is a clever way to show the value of the brand’s services.

Another aspect that makes this one of the best holiday marketing campaigns is that it’s grounded on the emotional themes of family acceptance, love, and support.

8. John Lewis – Give a little love

Claymation and CGI Christmas ad by John Lewis
Image via YouTube

The core message of this ad by John Lewis and Waitrose is spreading happiness through simple acts of giving.

What makes it one of the most effective holiday advertisement examples is its use of diverse moving art forms, such as Claymation and CGI. It gives the ad visual diversity and appeals to different audiences.

The ad also leverages the theme of inclusivity and community spirit. It shows how various characters from different backgrounds can support and assist one another.

9. Macy’s – In dad’s shoes

In Dad's Shoes Macy's Holiday Commercial
Image via YouTube

It’s a simple but heartwarming ad demonstrating how a girl comes up with a thoughtful gift for her dad—a pair of comfortable socks from Macy’s.

The ad captures the Christmas spirit of giving. It resonates perfectly with the cultural and emotional significance of the holiday season.

It communicates that a Christmas gift doesn’t have to be extravagant, just thoughtful. This is a powerful message that could encourage lots of shares, creating the potential to go viral. Additionally, the ad seamlessly integrates Macy’s products into the narrative.

10. Amazon – The show must go on

Seasonal Amazon ad of a ballet dancer
Image via YouTube

The ad tells the story of a ballet dancer. She engages in rigorous training for a ballet performance, only for the show to be unexpectedly canceled at the last minute.  Nevertheless, her little sister organizes a show for her, and their neighbors come out to watch. 

The ad is a powerful story of resilience, determination, family support, and community unity that connects emotionally with the audience.

We love how Amazon integrates its website and timely delivery services into the narrative cleverly and subtly.

It’s demonstrated when one of the neighbors orders a flashlight from Amazon, which they use as a spotlight in the performance.

Wrap up

From these 10 best holiday campaigns, it’s clear that creativity is critical to great festive advertising. 

A creative strategy produces emotionally charged holiday marketing campaigns that offer real value to the audience.

Most importantly, leveraging omnichannel marketing helps position your campaign in front of the right audience.

Start using Omnisend and supercharge your holiday email campaigns!
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Article by
Karolina Petraškienė

Karolina is a writer, content marketer, and email enthusiast at Omnisend. When she's not curating articles, you can find her in the woods challenging herself in hiking boots or off-roading her bike.