All the Feels: How Brands Use Holiday Video Campaigns

Coca-Cola’s polar bears are slipping and sliding in the snow enjoying the savory drink, while the Campbell’s snowman is yet again melting into a young boy enjoying his soup. These ads just keep pulling us in year after year.

The holidays are a feel-good, yet extremely stressful, time of the year. The weather gets colder as cheeks look rosier, the holiday spirit is in the air and money is emptying out of pockets left and right. And the holiday ads? They are everywhere.

Coca-Cola’s polar bears are slipping and sliding in the snow enjoying the savory drink, while the Campbell’s snowman is yet again melting into a young boy enjoying his soup. These ads just keep pulling us in year after year.

Why? It’s because these brands simply do marketing well and their videos shine as bright as the lights on the Christmas tree.

As new media, like the internet and social platforms, are on the rise, brands take advantage of the vast audiences they can tap into through online video. Although holiday commercials can still be seen on TV, advertisers are using online video in order to create a deeper connection with their viewers by encouraging dialog in comments and gaining enough engagement to make videos go viral.

Especially during the holidays, brands are using video to tell a story, rather than blatantly using product placement to generate sales. It’s this storytelling that keeps viewers glued to their screens and watching the story unfold.

Brands have tackled all kinds of angles to tell a holiday story and draw engagement. So how can advertisers set their brand ahead of the crowd? Let’s look at some examples of 2016 holiday videos that have been making waves and grabbing attention.

A timely angle

Most holiday videos promote a feeling of togetherness, but British retailer and e-commerce platform Marks & Spencer added a modern twist to get its message across: Mrs. Claus. The creative minds behind this three-minute video not only tapped into the holiday spirit through amazing cinematography and feel-good music, but took the timely angle of female leadership front and center.

Mrs. Claus is usually more of a background character, but here she takes the spotlight in order to help a young boy who has written to her about wanting make his sister happy for Christmas. While the boy reads his story on voiceover, we see scenes of him innocently upsetting his sister and even ruining her shoes. While Santa gets the sleigh and squeezes down a chimney to deliver presents, Mrs. Claus gets to fly a chopper and simply walks through the front door to deliver a gift from the boy to his sister (a new pair of shoes from Marks & Spencer).

This video excels at telling a story that is so much bigger than just their product. How many viewers can relate to upsetting their siblings and wanting to make it better? Marks & Spencer did a fantastic job at making the viewers more attached to the brand and creating that connection between the viewers and its video that they will remember. It can secure buying decisions that potential customers have without them even noticing.

Another brand that added a much different, yet extremely effective modern twist this year is Amazon Prime.

In this video, a Christian Vicar and Muslim Imam simply meet for a cup of tea. Although you can’t hear their conversation, the two friends sit, laugh and joke, and both complain about their aching knees. This exchange leads them to coincidentally exchange identical gifts through Amazon Prime: knee pads. They each are pleasantly surprised when they receive their gifts and are subsequently shown praying in their respective religious houses with their new knee pads.

The point of this video is to create an interfaith message during a time of separation and anxiety between religions. Notice that the video never actually mentions the holidays but does touch on that gift giving mentality in order to demonstrate that no matter your background or religion, we are all the same. It also helps Amazon Prime show off its social responsibility of using its technology to bring people together not only during the holidays, but all year round.

A unique twist

This time of the year is especially competitive between brands, and it can be tough for one to cut through all the noise. Adding in a modern twist can help a brand stand out.