Best Historical Christmas Campaigns & What They Taught Us

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Marketers and campaign managers everywhere are readying their arsenal to spread some Christmas cheer … and increase brand sales! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, quite literally, to engage customers across big and small businesses. The winter holidays pose a sea of opportunities to grab your customers’ attention while attempting to pull in additional revenue. Best way to learn how is by learning from what has worked for other brands. The successful marketing campaigns during Christmas can aid as inspiration for your brand or your client’s marketing efforts. Here are some of the top examples that could inspire you for the big day.


Budweiser Prohibition: Wise men do not drink and drive


Most Christmas song albums are filled with tracks about driving back home for the holidays, and Budweiser cleverly utilised this aspect in their ad campaign in 2017. The brand partnered with the Transportation Department and its very own “Think!” initiative to market Budweiser Prohibition. An ideal combination of digital and out-of-home ads, this campaign’s sole purpose was to convince all customers that drinking and driving weren’t safe. How to resolve it? Well, grab their alcohol-free beer! The campaign appealed to the customers where it played into the concept of drinking responsibly, by sipping on Prohibition.


GiveGood by Starbucks


The leading chain of coffeehouses, Starbucks, launched a campaign called “Project Give Good” in 2017 to get the attention of its customers. The brand was offering gift cards for customers to utilise in order to spend some time over coffee with a loved one. This campaign helped the brand drive in a major engagement. Additionally, new cups were released as part of the campaign, where the cups had empty space on them for customers to colour or write on. People were encouraged to share a photo of themselves holding their personally decorated cups, with the hashtag GiveGood. Starbuck’s ad campaign is a key example of increasing sales by playing on the consumer’s psyche, by encouraging consumers to be a part of the festive spirit while generating their own content.


Microsoft’s Peace on earth ad


Back in 2015, when Microsoft and Apple were in the spotlight due to their historic rivalry, the former came up with a commercial that aimed at promoting peace. A video campaign loved by all, it begins with a Microsoft tablet playing musical notes and the company’s employees marching towards Apple’s office on 5th avenue. The group, which included children, starts singing “Let there be peace on Earth” carol. “Let it start with me” and so on, that is how the lyrics go. This hit the nail on the head when it came to playing on the emotions of consumers, while subtly but powerfully hinting at how the holidays are about forgiveness and happiness. The warm and fuzzy ad campaign created a firm impact on consumers where Microsoft came across as the bigger person, extending his hand in friendship. Well, Microsoft definitely won some brownie points over Apple!


Google’s Santa Tracker


A classic successful marketing campaign was the Santa Tracker by Google, in 2004. The campaign has built more momentum over the years since then. Initially, the campaign was launched as a fun activity for Google users to trace Santa Claus’s journey and follow him while he went across the globe, giving gifts during Christmas. Users could visualise all this and more on google Earth, wit “live updates” in the cities being visited. This was quite a cool manner in which Google marketed its map service to make it look fun, interactive and helpful. The takeaway from this campaign is the fact that it appealed to everybody across the globe, irrespective of their age. Google’s quirky campaign combines technology with mythology to make its brand name synonymous with this tradition that is old as time.  


The examples above prove that Christmas is the ideal season for a brand to grow and gain traction while improving sales numbers. The key to it is designing a well-rounded campaign that appeals to the emotions of the consumers and promoting a feeling of happiness, safety and togetherness. 

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