Learning From the Best Christmas Marketing Campaigns of 2013
By Pete Winter

Learning From the Best Christmas Marketing Campaigns of 2013

Prepare for marketing success this Christmas by taking a look back at, and learning from, some of the best campaigns from 2013.

The Best Christmas Marketing Campaigns

November is creeping up on us, along with the appearance of mince pies in supermarkets and the constant loop of Michael Bublé’s Christmas album blasting out of your local department store. But what does this mean for the marketing world? November 1st usually marks the release date for Christmas marketing campaigns, hooking you in just in time for your Christmas shopping and, of course, fighting for the prime X Factor advert slot.

In preparation for Christmas 2014 we have decided to look back at some of the best campaigns from 2013 and what we can learn from them.


John Lewis ‘The Bear and the Hare’

It had to be top of the list. Whether you loved it or hated it, you couldn’t possibly avoid it.

Year on year, John Lewis reigns champion of the Christmas ad, with its accompanying soundtrack usually featuring in the running for Christmas Number One in the music charts.

Social media exploded after their 2013 advert first aired on TV, with 4,700 Twitter mentions between 8.17pm and 8.18pm. The video of the advert now has almost 13 million views on Youtube.

This is a strong example of how a great TV advert can increase brand awareness in all aspects, especially social media presence. However, the kind of budget (£7 million to be exact) necessary to pull this off is better left to the large department stores, with much criticism accusing the brand of becoming ‘a bit too big for its boots’. This year’s attempt is said to be much more ‘modest’.


Dear Topshop on Pinterest

Topshop, one of the UK’s biggest high-street retailers, used lesser known social media platform Pinterest for their Christmas campaign. It targeted it’s audience effectively – the young and fashion conscious, who also make up a large percentage of Pinterest users.

Topshop created gift guides under categories such as ‘A gift that will wow’ and ‘All things that sparkle’, encouraging pinners to pin these items onto their own wishlist boards – a Pinterest trend which often occurs around Christmas. The main purpose was to “showcase key products and to facilitate the gifting process” says Sheena Sauvaire, Global Head of Marketing and Communications.

Topshop took this campaign a step further, involving the non-pinners amongst their customers by showcasing the ‘most pinned’ items on their ecommerce site. It also added tags onto the items in-store. Topshop cleverly used its customers’ profile to shape its campaign for maximum engagement, with little budget being spent. Other brands have picked up on this campaign idea and it’s predicted that we will see much more of it for Christmas 2014.



Nokia USA

Last year’s campaign from Nokia told its fans to ‘focus on what’s real’, encouraging engagement from followers but also drawing attention to their newest Lumia camera phone products.

Nokia Tweet

Nokia’s campaign was three-fold, offering two types of content to fans, as well as asking for fans to tweet them with what Christmas means to them, using the hashtag #HolidayRealness. The best tweets won surprise giveaways – unsurprisingly, one of their phones.

Nokia also created three videos to go alongside the ‘real christmas’ sentiment, showing how real people celebrate the Christmas period in their own way. The videos contained surfing santas, a doggy Christmas party and extreme caroling. Nokia also created customisable Christmas cards on their site to be shared through social media, where unfortunate Christmas scenarios (including a partially dressed Santa!) had been mocked up for users to digitally insert their face and send to family and friends. This was successful as it encouraged users to share their own photos and experiences, without completely losing sight of the product and brand.


Coke Zero Sweater Generator

The Coca Cola television adverts have dwindled over the past few years, with the aforementioned John Lewis taking over in that department. Coca Cola have clearly been looking for other ways to use marketing for a bit of extra holiday cheer. The latest campaign was a Sweater Generator, encouraging Coke Zero social media followers to create their own garish Christmas jumper, a gimmick we all love to hate, involving both traditionalists and the ironic alike.

The campaign also involved a competition element, with the best entries winning their own design, which had to be shared on Twitter or Facebook and voted for on the website. A clever idea, making fun of the tiresome Christmas traditions, with a unique prize. Many tweeters following the campaign asked Coca Cola if they could even pay for their designs to be made, confirming the success of such an original campaign.


What have we learnt from the best marketing campaigns of 2013 as we start to prepare for Christmas 2014?

  1. Convince your bosses to allocate a £7 million budget, get some of the Lion King artists involved, as well as a pop star to record a nostalgic cover. But if that’s not possible…
  2. Don’t forget who your customer is. Tailor your campaign accordingly.
  3. Get your fans to share their own experiences. We all think our own Christmas is THE BEST CHRISTMAS.
  4. Give original and hard-to-find prizes. Allow your fans to be a little creative.

Discover how your customers can be your best salespeople by downloading: ‘How to Build Word of Mouth Marketing’

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