In honor of the fast-approaching holiday season, we want to share a little gift of our own with you. This guide offers tips and tricks to help brands and agencies shape their holiday campaigns and stand out in an over-saturated market.

1. Start Early

It’s never too early to start planning a holiday campaign. While it might feel odd to be thinking about snow and sleigh bells in September (or even July!), it will definitely pay off in the long run. Shoppers are thinking about their gift lists well before Black Friday, so be prepared to hit the ground running even before the holidays hit with a thoughtful, carefully crafted campaign. Shoppers may let the holidays sneak up on them, but brands and agencies can’t afford to. 

2. Ask, ‘What works in my market?”

Heartfelt commercials that bring a tear to your eye are great, especially around the holidays. But not all ads need to tug at the heartstrings. An overly sentimental spot can ring false when the brand and the messaging don’t quite connect. For example, a really earnest spot about the magic of Christmas morning is difficult to pull off for, say, a liquor brand. So, think about your customer. Think about what holiday messaging will reach them best. If a product’s branding isn’t so sweet, don’t force it. That said, never underestimate the value of surprise, especially in a market where holiday ads are so often predictable.

3. Include Video Elements

Don’t underestimate the value of video elements in a holiday campaign. The statistics speak for themselves when it comes to the effectiveness of video campaigns, and holiday visuals are particularly compelling. Seasonal imagery is immediately identifiable and effectively taps into your viewers’ emotions, forming connections that are impossible in print. In fact, the thing we love most about Our 3 Favorite Holiday Ads is how memorable they are. That type of lasting impression is only achieved through a video campaign, so let’s get going.

4. Make it Interactive

Every Fall the holiday floodgates open, and it is easy for brands to get lost in the deluge. One way to ensure a personal connection with potential and current customers is to create an interactive campaign. Staples’ Elf Yourself campaign, in which customers can create personalized holiday animations (featuring their own faces), is a perfect example of this. The Elf Yourself website garnered millions of views, and fans eagerly await its launch every year. In a season that is all about human connection, a personalized campaign can go a long way. Footage Films created an interactive holiday campaign for Joico, where viewers can click on products as they appear in the video, and immediately make a purchase. 

5. Remember the Spirit of the Season

In the holiday market, it is important that brands don’t lose sight of the true holiday spirit. This is not about leveraging sappy sentiments to drive more customers to the stores. It’s about genuine efforts to spread joy to all. Including a charitable call to action in holiday campaigns increases goodwill among customers and does some real good. For example, asking shoppers to bring in a toy for donation when they come to shop for gifts – much like Toys “R” Us’ #PlayItForward campaign – gets customers in the door and brings holiday joy to the less fortunate. It’s a win-win.

How do you plan to market this holiday season? Tell us about your holiday campaign, and we can start making something beautiful together.