Every year there’s a rush to the finish line, especially for the brands competing to win share of mind (and wallet). And this year is no exception. Check out the year’s best Christmas marketing campaigns.
Whoever said the holiday season was the most wonderful time of year surely must have been a marketer. After all, it’s the one time of year when brands can get away with just about anything – from punny parodies to whimsical fairytales – all in the name of joy and festivity.
This year brands are out to prove that it’s a film festive-al of sorts, with burgeoning growth in short films, theatrical trailers and mini features in the lead up to the holiday period. There’s even a musical number.
Here are the brands taking things to the next level in 2018:
Aldi sends Santa to the red centre
Marketers have always struggled to capture the unique spirit of our southern, scorchin’ hot summer Christmases, but most just can’t escape the association of Santa in his thick red winter coat and a snowy December morning.
Produced by BMF Advertising for ALDI Australia, Santa Crashes Christmas is a rare triumph of an off-kilter Christmas ad that doesn’t feel like a gimmick. Its bleak, outback opening is different enough to draw in jaded TV audiences, and its translation of Santa into working class life is strikingly effective.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Christmas ad if everything didn’t warm up at the end, and BMF does a good job walking the tightrope, tapping into the classic Christmas feeling without betraying the first half of the spot.
ALDI also deserves shout out here, for embracing an ambitious, creative concept without requiring their product on-screen throughout the ad, which would have made for a less risky, but ultimately less effective investment.
Coles’ Little Shop gets festive, while Woolworths embraces environmentalism
— Mamamia (@Mamamia) November 26, 2018
Coles has staked its Christmas hopes on a continuation of its wildly successful Little Shop campaign, releasing another five utterly adorable plastic versions of its own-brand Christmas products, complete with a Christmas collector’s case.
With one toy for each $30 spent in store (and no guarantee that you won’t get doubles), Coles is hoping to lure customers in for more than a few shops to complete the set.
Meanwhile, Woolworths has unveiled its long-anticipated response to the Little Shop phenomenon, with a series of seven pop-up Christmas characters – all made from 100% recycled cardboard.
Playing off the backlash the Coles campaign received from environmental groups, Woolworths said in a statement: “Customers will also be able to see what they are getting as the ‘Woolworths Christmas Pop-Outs’ will not come in ‘blind plastic bags’ to help avoid duplication or disappointment and minimise waste”.
Only time will tell if its green twist will give Woolworths the upper hand this holiday season.
Sainsbury’s “The Big Night” introduces us to the magic of plug boy
Proving that feel-good sincerity doesn’t have to be boring, Sainsbury’s “The Big Night” (directed by emerging Aussie superstar Michael Gracey) is a wonderful one-note TVC, that combines the unchecked joy of seeing kids overcome their fears and a surprisingly good rendition of New Radicals’ You Get What You Give.
— Nicola Gardner (@n_j_g87) December 2, 2018
A pretty good ad in itself, The Big Night has actually brought Sainsbury’s international attention via its breakout meme “Plug Boy” – a cute kid, dressed as a plug, who dashes across stage and leaps improbably into its socket.
Amid a hail of complaints to Britain’s Advertising Standards Agency about its negative message that ‘normalises kids playing with power’, the internet came out in full force to support Sainsburys and Plug Boy, giving the ad a reach it could never have dreamed of organically. These days, including something a bit weird in your creative can never hurt.
Notable for us marketers, Sainsbury’s also did the legwork to produce an adorable BTS for the spot, which we think is a fantastic way to extend a campaign’s reach without blowing out the budget.
Apple evokes Pixar to nail the traditional Christmas spot
Lastly but definitely not least, Apple’s stop motion tale of shy artist Sofia, inclined to hide her talent, coming out of her shell has dazzled us. Visually stunning, the ad perfectly encapsulates the aspirational dreams of young creatives and their parents alike.
Rare for an emotional piece, TBWA\Media Arts Labs managed to keep Apple’s product on-screen for almost the entire spot without detracting from its pathos.
Like Sainsburys, Apple produced multiple supporting videos, including a great piece showcasing how the main spot’s music was produced on Apple’s own products. Always nice when your products effortlessly tie into the BTS.
These are our favourites from this holiday season – if you have any 2018 standouts, be sure to send us a Tweet.