Online Trends

Our Favourite Holiday Marketing Campaigns — the definitive list

Few things are as certain in life as death, taxes, and holiday marketing campaigns. Every year, advertising professionals are tasked with coming up with new and creative ways to play on the same old tropes. While most of those creations are quickly forgotten, there are rare gems that stay with us for longer.

In this article, we’re going to look at some of those rare holiday marketing campaigns that managed to distinguish themselves from the competition. These are the works of creativity that stayed with us long past the holiday season — and what made them so special.

John Lewis — the art of storytelling in a TV ad

John Lewis is a British chain of high-end department stores. They’re well known for their holiday campaigns — so well known, in fact, that there’s even a Wikipedia article about them! It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to call them a national institution.

Their early efforts were rather humble. It wasn’t until the 2012 advert, the one with the snowman, that the John Lewis holiday campaigns started to become “a thing”.

From there, production values only continued to improve. A key element of the campaign is always its musical content — usually, it’s a cover of a chart-topping artist. In 2018, however, the marketing agency Adam & Eve pulled out all the stops and scored a collaboration with Elton John himself!

Google Assistant Home Alone Advert

Speaking of high-profile collaborations — remember Home Alone? The story of Kevin McCallister having to defend his home from a pair of crafty burglars remains a staple in almost every holiday movie rotation.

Google’s marketing team is savvy to this fact. That’s why they employed Macaulay Culkin himself to star in their Google Assistant advertising campaign, in which a now-adult Kevin once-again has the house to himself. The combination of self-awareness and playing on childhood nostalgia made the campaign a hit, especially with millennials who grew up watching Home Alone every holiday season. That’s knowing your target audience well — millennials make up a significant chunk of Google Assistant users!

Spotify Wrapped — focus on shareability and UGC


Spotify Wrapped exists in the intersection between holiday and new years’ marketing campaigns. It’s a yearly summary of your listening habits: which artists made a splash, which genres you couldn’t get enough of, et cetera. Then, the data for each of the (nearly) half a billion Spotify users is collected to create a true treasure trove of statistics. Users can freely browse the data results both globally and on a per-country basis.

Spotify has been running year’s-end campaigns like that since 2013, but the current Wrapped branding didn’t come into use until 2016. It’s been a social media hit ever since, with millions of users sharing their results and personal charts on social media.

And that’s the secret to Spotify Wrapped being such a success — it’s the perfect blend of personalisation, shareability and user-generated content. Marketing specialists know that every one of these elements is already a huge boon to nearly any campaign. Combine all three and you get a true phenomenon. It’s also an example of a branding campaign that doesn’t focus on the brand at all. Instead, it’s everyday users who are put into the spotlight. As an organic marketing campaign, it’s unparalleled.

Allegro – winning YouTube with heart melting story

Allegro is the biggest e-commerce retailer in Poland — holding over 33% of the market share. Its established position made it the de facto choice for online shopping in the country for a long while. However, the emergence of new competitors, such as Amazon and Aliexpress require the company to invest in more marketing efforts to stay relevant.

And that’s precisely what the company has been doing. What’s more — Allegro has been showing a deep understanding of what makes a successful online marketing campaign. There’s no better example than their 2016 holiday advertising campaign.

The premise of the video is simple: an older man is trying to learn English on his own, using learning materials purchased online. The key, however, is in the execution: the video features effective pacing, good character work and a masterful use of emotion. The result? Over 19 million views — and a campaign which generates fond memories to this day.

Closing words

So here you have it — a few inspirations for your holiday marketing campaign. However, executing a great idea is only half the battle. Monitoring its performance and gaining valuable knowledge from its reception is also crucial!

Thankfully, the right tools make measuring the impact of your campaign a cinch. If you’re not sure where to start, our own SentiOne Listen has everything you need to quickly get up to speed with social listening. Get in touch with us and book your demo period today.