The day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the biggest marketing season of the year. The floodgates open, quite literally.
While frenzied shoppers make their lists and check them twice, brand strategists are busy sending holiday emails, posting social campaigns, launching web videos and TV commercials, and hosting influential experiential events. Some ad campaigns go unnoticed. Others flop entirely. But others flourish, they delight, and they remind us that there’s still some good in the world. In other words, they make us feel.
I think it’s safe to say that 2016 wasn’t exactly the most joyous of years. It was filled with a lot of sorrow, a lot of tragedy, and an overwhelming amount of political turmoil. But amidst the darkness, some brands gave us a reason to smile and laugh, and helped us shed some light on another year gone. Here, a few of our favorite holiday marketing campaigns from 2016:
1. Let There be Peace on Earth
Beautiful. Nice. Touching. Just three of the many warm words used to describe Amazon Prime’s heartwarming achievement in finding common ground between a priest and an imam. If you’ve seen it, watch it again. If you haven’t, watch it, and then feel your heart grow three sizes bigger. Cue that scene from The Grinch.
2. Winter Wonderland
With augmented reality growing more and more popular, See’s Candies took advantage of this type of technology and created a fun, in-store experience where airport travelers could digitally transform into snowmen – a simple way to make an airport shopping experience a memorable, shareable, holidazzled moment.
REI has done it again, closing their doors on Black Friday with their #OptOutside campaign, a program that encourages consumers to spend more time with nature and less time with stuff. More than 275 organizations have joined the #OptOutside team, helping the outdoor brand turn last year’s bold idea into this year’s new American tradition. Fist pump, REI. You rock.
4. Buster the Boxer
You don’t have to love dogs to love this commercial. This holiday season, John Lewis delighted the world with their lighthearted ad about a dog that finally gets his chance to jump on a trampoline. Then someone created this spinoff, and I can’t decide which one I like more.
5. Gingerbread Boulevard
Taste of Home, in partnership with Folgers, helped New Yorkers feel like a kid again with a life-size, interactive gingerbread house, complete with candy, snowmen, and digital components for easy social sharing.