The Keys to Successful Holiday Advertising


marketing a holiday

Some things in advertising should never change such as marketing to a brand’s key demographic and showing its product or logo prominently. However, holiday ads may need to differ from the brand’s usual approach. The two main appeals in successful holiday ads are emotion and tradition. Emotion is a broad appeal, but at the holidays the emotional appeal should focus on love for family, friends, and the spirit of the season. Here are few examples of successful holiday ads over the past years, and through examining their approach, a clear guide for holiday ad creation becomes apparent.

m and m christmas commercial

Perhaps the most successful holiday ad in recent years is the M&M’s ad “Christmas Faint.” Visually, this commercial incorporates a traditional, picture perfect home holiday scene. The tradition continues with the setting out of food for Santa Claus. The twist is that the iconic characters are the “children” setting out the candy (M&M’s), and they are both surprised by Santa and surprise Santa. Both Santa and M&M’s are fabled creatures, yet viewers long for the time that they believed in Santa, when the magic of Christmas still existed. M&M’s want their consumers to go back to a time in their youth and relive the joy of the traditions surrounding Santa.
coca cola christmas Over the years Coca-Cola has had numerous successful holiday ads, but the polar bear ads are perhaps the most iconic. The ad titled “Polar Bear Sledding,” evokes the love, tradition and true spirit of the season. The holidays are for spending time with family, and this ad uses that and a gorgeous winter scene combined with cute, personified polar bears to create a memorable, adorable ad for all ages.

budweiser hoiday ad

Budweiser is another brand know for their creative and iconic advertising. Budweiser has been known for their Clydesdale ads for years, and this year they have combined tradition with a new marketing angle that focuses on friendship and sharing (“#HolidayBuds”). Christmas is not just for families, and Budweiser has zeroed in on an often overlooked market at holiday time – young adults. Budweiser wants consumers to gather together and share the holidays, and they also want them to be safe, so when they call for a ride home what they get is a sleigh pulled by Clydesdale’s through a city decorated for the holidays.

All of these ads play on consumers’ desire for a perfect holiday. Successful holiday ads all use holiday imagery and holiday music, and they all focus on happy, nostalgic times, and often they incorporate a surprise for viewers. Brands looking to make an impact on consumers this holiday should take the lead from these major brands and play upon the emotion and traditions of the season.


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