The most anticipated time of the year is around the corner… but this year is slightly different. In this blog, we look at five brands who have evolved their Christmas advert campaigns to reflect the world we live in today. What inspiration can you draw from their messages?
Over the last nine months, the pandemic has brought with it a multitude of different challenges, and it’s now making a beeline for people’s Christmas preparations.
Despite everything that’s happened this year, Christmas celebrations will continue to go on all around the world - albeit virtually, socially distanced or centred around festive face masks. On a personal level, I have been looking forward to the festive season as something to lift up my mood. It’s during this time that I most look forward to unwrapping gifts and enjoying a nice scrumptious Christmas lunch with my family and friends.
And just as people have been preparing for an alternate 2020 Christmas, most brands have also aimed to finish off the year strong by evolving their Christmas campaign messaging.
This idea of updating brand messages was caught on by few brands early on in the year. Some were brave enough to embrace change, while others feared it and simply paused their marketing efforts to wait it out. Take Guinness as a great example, in March they changed their entire advert campaign for St Patrick's Day to ask people not to go out and instead, celebrate their famous larger in years to come. This was one of the first signs that brands could still be present, as long as they adapted their messaging.
Skip forward nine months, and brands are now learning there is no waiting it out. If we look at guidance in the Kubler-Ross change curve model (above), it’s safe to say that brands are firmly in the decision to integration stage, learning how they can be present in this new normal. (Did you know that children this year are meeting Santa over webex instead of sitting on his lap?).
So without further ado - let’s take a look at those brands who have stood out this year with their adaptive 2020 Christmas campaigns. Hopefully they all have some messages we can take inspiration from moving into the new year...
Amazon's 2020 holiday campaign labelled ‘The show must go on’ shows a young ballet dancer training relentlessly for an important performance, only to have it cancelled at the last minute due to Covid-19. Feeling deflated, her loved ones work behind the scenes to set up an outside performance for her and invite their neighbours to watch her stellar performance from their balconies.
I particularly connected with this advert because, like many other people, so many of my plans were cancelled or shifted this year. In the spirit of ‘the show must go on’, I also soon saw myself navigating setbacks and meeting my family virtually, shopping for groceries online and participating in zoom quizzes at work for entertainment.
Amazon’s campaign perfectly exemplifies the sense of community that has come out of the pandemic. What I enjoyed about this campaign is the kindness her family, friends and neighbours exhibited to make her dream come true. I am sure we have all seen how people have pulled together this year to support loved ones and enable our personal 'shows' to go on.
I don’t know about you but for me Christmas isn’t Christmas until I have seen a Coca-Cola Christmas ad on TV!
Coca-Cola released their much anticipated Christmas advert which sees a daughter hand her father a letter to deliver to Santa as he leaves for work. After a number of challenges and obstacles the father manages to locate Santa in the North Pole and they drive back home to his daughter. When they arrive, the father finally opens his daughter’s letter, which reads: “Dear Santa, please bring daddy home for Christmas”.
This drives the message that we have all resonated with this year - being intentional in showing our appreciation for our loved ones and being present in whatever form. The power of family resilience and willingness to help our loved ones is laid out in their messaging, perfectly reflecting how most have felt this during the pandemic. This, for me, is the real essence of Christmas.
Covid-19 has brought about a lot of challenges for people and many have been adversely affected by the pandemic, including losing their jobs.
That's why Waitrose & John Lewis used the holiday season to give back to the community. They hired a group of creatives from a hard-hit industry to work on the advert, instead of just one production team as they typically would. This created employment for many people who had been hard hit by the pandemic and this kindness towards strangers is exactly what has rippled through conversation this past year.
With 2020 being a strange, turbulent year, kindness and love is exactly what we need!
Think: How could you help your local community with your campaigns?
Another favourite of mine is Disney’s “From Our Family To Yours” Christmas campaign.
Disney says that the storyline is inspired by the themes of tradition, family togetherness and nostalgia, which is something I think we all experience when we are reunited with our families and go down memory lane, reminiscing about past times spent together.
For me, Christmas is not Christmas without seeing my extended family and feasting together as a family. For some, this may be happening virtually this year, but the magic of this season should still be embraced.
I am sure one thing we can appreciate about 2020 is the chance we’ve had to re-connect with ourselves - whether that’s through baking copious amounts of sourdough and banana bread or finding out you can actually run that 5k.
McDonald's 2020 Christmas advert encourages just that - teenagers (and adults who are young at heart) to re-connect with their inner child. The campaign shows a single mum trying to get her very resistant teenage son into a festive mood. As a teenager, he is facing conflict with his inner child.
McDonalds hopes this campaign will ‘reignite the magic of Christmas’ and help families to reconnect with each other during this time.
Happy Holidays from all of us
One thing that has stood out from all these campaigns is the need for an extra little bit of love and kindness as we wrap up 2020.
I hope this blog has boosted your excitement for the festive season and given you plenty of ideas for how you can adapt your Christmas campaigns or general marketing messages moving into 2021.