Every year, the average American spends $997.73 on Christmas shopping, but the best part is that 74% of consumers are planning to spend more this holiday season than last year. The odds are in your favor to attract more holiday shoppers, so the need to create a knockout Christmas campaign is a given.
That’s why we have collected and analyzed the best Christmas campaigns ever to inspire you to set up even better Christmas ads. This piece will go through some of the best holiday promotions to help you get going and plan your marketing strategy. But before we jump in, let’s examine why you must go all in this Christmas.
Why Christmas is one of the best holidays for retailers
This Christmas will be the first in three years without Covid-induced social restrictions, consequently, more Americans will visit families and friends for Christmas celebrations. This means people will buy more Christmas gifts and spend more on celebrating. The Washington Post says, “ retailers should prepare for a revenge Christmas.”
Christmas is traditionally a time for sharing joy and gifts and spending quality time with loved ones. Americans and people worldwide are typically in a “generous” mood during Christmas and purchase all sorts of gifts, food, and decorations. Most people start shopping as early as October or November to avoid the mad holiday shopping rush.
As a retailer, the Christmas shopping rush is music to your ears. That’s why you should cash in on it by creating great Christmas marketing campaigns, so here’s some food for thought from 30 famous brands.
The best Christmas marketing campaigns ever
On average, brands spend $2.5 billion on holiday season advertising, as most brands go all in to create brilliant Christmas commercials. These top 30 Christmas ad campaigns caught our eye, so let’s dive right in.
Christmas campaign #1: Coca-Cola (2020)
Why we liked it: This ad emotively captures the true spirit of Christmas — putting others before self, especially for dads with daughters. And just like a father would move heaven and earth to fulfill his daughter’s Christmas wish, this ad depicts how Coca-Cola makes every effort to satisfy their consumer’s wishes. The ad’s powerful message is a sublime example of what emotional marketing should feel like, which is why we rank this ad among the best Christmas campaigns.
Christmas campaign #2: John Lewis (2016)
Why we liked it: John Lewis has a yearly tradition of creating some of the UK’s best Christmas advertising campaigns. This 2016 ad was heart-warming, relatable, and humorous, and the storyline reminded viewers that Christmas gifts could be enjoyed by everyone (including our furry friends).
Just like the family dog enjoys jumping on a trampoline that’s a Christmas gift for the little girl, the ad emphatically shows you can buy a Christmas gift that everyone will love. It’s a genius strategy for a giant retailer like John Lewis, which sells an assortment of products.
Christmas campaign #3: Sainsbury’s (2014)
Why we liked it: Sainsbury’s brilliant marketing strategy also includes some of the best Christmas digital campaigns, like this 2014 Christmas ad, themed by one of the best Christmas original songs (Silent Night Holy Night).
This ad takes us on a long trip down memory lane to the 1914 Christmas truce, where warring factions in World War I would cease fire and come together to celebrate Christmas. It evokes a nostalgic feeling with a happy ending, reminding customers Christmas is about sharing hearty moments or just a chocolate bar with friends and family amidst the hustle and bustle of life.
Christmas campaign #4: Aldi (2016-2020)
Why we liked it: Over the years, Aldi’s marketing strategy has made us fall in love with Kevin the carrot. Aldi’s Christmas campaigns have personified and given character to Kevin the carrot so much that viewers want what Kevin wants, from champagne and turkey to party food specials.
Aldi’s great Christmas campaigns are the perfect example of humanized marketing and a good reference if you wish to infuse character in your Christmas marketing campaigns.
Christmas campaign #5: Google (2018)
Why we liked it: Theming their Christmas marketing campaign after a famous Christmas movie (Home Alone) was a stroke of genius from Google. Seeing the 38-year-old Kevin McCallister home alone (again) is relatable and amusing to millions of people who grew up watching this film. It’s also strategic because it speaks to millennials who watched the movie as kids and are heavy users of Google Assistant. Childhood nostalgia here is at its best.
Christmas campaign #6: Burberry (2014)
Why we liked it: Burberry’s best Christmas digital campaigns don’t sell luxury products; they sell a luxurious lifestyle. This ad utilizes the romance appeal (couples dancing in romantic settings) and the endorsement appeal (starring Romeo Beckham) to send out a powerful Christmas message. This commercial doesn’t feel like a marketing ad, but a short film — a significant fete to achieve in luxury ad campaigns.
Christmas campaign #7: McDonald’s (2020)
Why we liked it: This animated ad depicts a mother’s struggles to get her teenage son into the Christmas mood. While her son’s inner child cherishes mum’s effort to ignite the Christmas spirit, the son is aloof until they go to Mcdonald’s and get some reindeer treats. The ad appeals to families raising rebellious teens, as most go through the same experience at some point.
Christmas campaign #8: M&S (2019)
Why we liked it: Through the years we’ve seen many times the Marks & Spencer marketing strategy thriving. On this occasion, the M&S ad was as real and warm as they come. M&S set up a real-life Christmas food market with real customers tasting their Christmas food range and a joyful primary school choir humming Fleetwood’s track, Albatross, in the background. This gives the ad a comradery feeling, depicting the spirit of Christmas: people enjoying delicious food together in proper fashion.
Christmas campaign #9: Aldi Australia (2018)
Why we liked it: This ad epitomizes the Aussie Christmas feeling — sharing food, work, joy, and beer with friends and family. After Santa crashes his sleigh in Woop Woop, he’s rescued by some locals who are glad to share Christmas with him. This ad stands out because it captures Aussies in their true elements (friendly and generous), just like what Aldi represents.
Christmas campaign #10: Calvin Klein (2019)
Why we liked it: This ad is everything Calvin Klein represents — iconic luxury fashion. The selection of stunning models exquisitely displaying Calvin’s underpants and bras and the background luxury music with an elegant ring conjures the Christmas shopping spirit. In iconic style, this short ad sells Calvin’s designer clothes aesthetically and seductively, leaving viewers yearning for more.
Christmas campaign #11: Air Canada (2014)
Why we liked it: This is one of the best Christmas PR campaigns that never gets old. This ad had two Air Canada pilots giving out free round-trip tickets to cheerful Canadians in a London bar who would otherwise have remained in London during Christmas. It appeals to millions worldwide who miss Christmas celebrations yearly because they work in a foreign country.
Christmas campaign #12: Costa Coffee (2019)
Why we liked it: This ad creatively addresses the social dilemma where families gather for Christmas celebrations but end up spending most of their time on their gadgets. It reminds families and friends to unplug and make their time together during Christmas truly count.
Christmas campaign #13: Domino’s Pizza (2021)
Why we liked it: This ad ticks all the right boxes — short, sweet, and humorous. The melodious DOMIN-OH-HOO-HOO signature signoff is memorable and amusing, making it the perfect marketing ad. It indeed makes one crave a slice of Domino’s festive pizza.
Christmas campaign #14: Disney (2020)
Why we liked it: This heartwarming ad told the touching story of a granddaughter and grandmother and how they bond over their Christmas ritual of making star lanterns. But their Christmas routines die out over the years until a Disney Mickey Mouse doll reignites the granddaughter’s passion for Christmas bonding.
Christmas campaign #15: Pepsi Max (2020)
Why we liked it: Pepsi took the lesser-traveled path and partnered with rappers for this ad. The sweet and short ad is relatable to the younger generations looking to break away from old Christmas traditions and do Christmas how they want.
Christmas campaign #16: Emirates Airlines (2018)
Why we liked it: Emirates Airlines is all about luxury, and this ad holds up to these top standards. The half-minute-long ad shows all the classic Christmas food, treats, and gifts for kids that Emirates Airlines accords customers during the festive period.
Christmas campaign #17: IKEA (2019)
Why we liked it: Among IKEA’s marketing strategies, this is one of its best Christmas ad campaigns that’ll always stay relatable. Too often, people pass the chance to host Christmas parties at their homes because they’re convinced it’s a mess. This ad showed how families could do over their homes through some quick tweaks and give their homes a refreshing feel for Christmas parties. The bonus selling point was the stuffed animals singing a rap song, giving a funny twist to the ad.
Christmas campaign #18: LEGO (2020)
Why we liked it: Till this time, we’ve seen many times LEGO’s marketing strategy at its best. This specific LEGO ad shows how children, through their untamed creativity and imagination, see the world differently from their parents, helping them assemble LEGO sets. This ad speaks to and for children, showing how uniquely they visualize a festive season in their world, highlighting the importance of seeing the holidays through a child’s innocent eyes.
Christmas campaign #19: Apple (2018)
Why we liked it: This ad follows an empathetic theme with an animated teen character that’s too shy to share her literary writings with the world. But a gust of wind blows off her paper leaflets from her room and spreads them to the world outside. People read and love her work, which gives her the confidence to share her writing gifts with more people (like we share joy and gifts with more people during Christmas).
Christmas campaign #20: Iceland Foods (2018)
Why we liked it: The sheer boldness of this ad made it one of the best Christmas campaigns ever. Calling out other food companies for downing forests for palm oil and committing to a no-palm oil future made this ad a darling to environmentally conscious consumers. This campaign is a very good example of CSR reflecting the brand’s stance on such an important environmental issue.
Christmas campaign #21: Allegro (2016)
Why we liked it: This beautiful and emotive ad shows how far a grandpa is willing to go to learn English, to communicate with his English-speaking grandchild. It sentimentally captures the spirit of Christmas, which is being there for our loved ones, no matter the cost or effort.
Christmas campaign #22: Amazon (2017)
Why we liked it: This ad underscored the Christmas mood of gifting our loved ones by personifying the order fulfillment process. Amazon is depicted as sharing bits of love (packages) to worldwide locations during Christmas, leaving recipients with a happy Christmas smile.
Christmas campaign #23: Starbucks (2017)
Why we liked it: Starbucks’ Project Give Good was possibly one of the best Christmas social media campaigns by a major brand. The campaign saw Starbucks give out $1 million worth of Starbucks Cards in community celebrations during Christmas.
Christmas campaign #24: WestJet (2013)
Why we liked it: WestJet took Christmas campaigns a notch higher by surprising their customers with actual gifts. They set up a Santa booth and recorded the requests and wishes travelers asked from Santa, then went out shopping. This ad stands out because all these events happen in the real world to real-life WestJet travelers.
Christmas campaign #25: Virgin Trains (2018)
Why we liked it: Virgin Trains brought pop culture to the forefront with this fascinating Christmas campaign. The famous brand used 750 liters to paint the entire script of the classic Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” to several train stations from London Euston to Glasgow Central. This enormous project aimed at bringing hope, kindness, and togetherness to the passengers that came across the spray-painted movie script, signifying what Christmas is all about.
Christmas campaign #26: UPS (2020)
Why we liked it: This 2020 UPS campaign has everything we could ask for: a strong message about diversity, volunteering, and social change. But above all, the idea of accepting, supporting, and caring for your loved ones in every possible way. UPS helped Sara Cunningham, founder of the Free Mom Hugs organization, achieve her wish and dream by sending over 400 care packages to people that belong to the LGBTQ+ community.
Christmas campaign #27: Boots (2019)
Why we liked it: Picking up the perfect gift for a loved one on Christmas is a Herculean task by itself. The difficulty multiplies when the receiving end has intricate interests, as is the case with most young people nowadays. Boots recognized the need for a campaign that would funnily present this challenge and created a short video with people saying out loud what most of us think, but refuse to accept. Just like any other campaign from Boot’s marketing strategy, this one also stole our hearts.
Christmas campaign #28: Argos (2020)
Why we liked it: Because Argos’ 2020 campaign brought back the magic of Christmas. With a short film, the ad shows two little girls doing magic tricks in their living room in front of their family and as their performance progresses, the setting gets even more intricate. The theme of the campaigns indicates that notions like imagination, and being together with family, are bringing a little magic to this holiday.
Christmas campaign #29: Hobbycraft (2020)
Why we liked it: The UK arts and crafts superstore retail chain, Hobbycraft run a 2020 Christmas campaign with an inspiring and heartwarming message. The idea was that crafting things together can create meaningful masterpieces, and brings people closer even amidst the virtual pandemic frenzy.
Christmas campaign #30: TK Maxx (2020)
Why we liked it: The 2020 TK Maxx Christmas campaign stars a cute, festive goat celebrating the holiday with a new outfit. This funny twist and the fact that the little goat is dressed in human clothes make this campaign stand out.
Discover more useful Holiday Marketing resources
- Building a 360-degree Christmas marketing strategy in retail
- 100+ Fairytale-ish Christmas Email Subject Lines for Holiday
- The Step By Step Holiday Email Marketing Checklist
- Everything You Need To Know About Holiday Email Marketing
- 24 Holiday Newsletter Ideas to Cheer Up the Season
- 56 Christmas Marketing Statistics to Know for This Holiday Season
Create a unique and inspired Christmas campaign
Admittedly, creating memorable and ingenious Christmas campaigns is a labor of passion and resources. You must know which channels your customers utilize to interact with your brand, so you can find and target them with your Christmas campaigns. And this calls for an expert opinion on omnichannel customer engagement and highly converting marketing strategies that drive conversions. Request a demo today and get a hands-on experience with ContactPigeon’s cutting-edge features for a 360o strategy that drives results.