Four Great Holiday Marketing Campaigns 2016

These campaigns are spreading the cheer!

Holiday marketing campaigns are always really fun to take a deeper look at. A great strategy can put a company in the black (profitable) for the entire next year.

Did you just feel giddiness in your belly thinking about that happening for your business? I did!

holiday marketing campaigns

Let’s dive deeper into how learnings from these awesome holiday campaigns can fuel awesome campaigns for us by asking a few questions:

  1. What campaign choices have different brands made?
  2. Is their method traditional or out-of-the-box?
  3. What mediums did they use to share their holiday marketing campaign with consumers?
  4. How can we use inspiration from those campaigns to craft our own?

The Effect of Holiday Marketing

Did you see our Checklist to Create a Powerful Holiday Social Media Strategy? There are some really great stats regarding the holidays and why your company can’t afford to not take advantage of them.

Psst… There’s also an awesome freebie inside that post!

Here’s a peek at the stats:

holiday marketing campaigns

Holiday marketing is pretty big right?

Let’s look at what some of the greats have done and use their creativity to fuel ours!


One of my favorite campaign models is the education share. MailChimp hit that nail on the head with their holiday campaign, and they did it in a really engaging way!

What Rocked

They launched a microsite. This was such a great way to not only give folks a place to see all of the details in one place and also show the legitimacy of the campaign.

They focused on education vs. sales (a.k.a. 100% value!) This was not a campaign in which they tossed coupon-after-coupon to their followers. MailChimp set out to educate customers and non-customers on topics relevant to their industry. The genius in this: The webinars and email series attracted entrepreneurs who also had a high likelihood of needing a tool like MailChimp. Jackpot! Some were new customers and some reinvigorated their interest in MailChimp. At the very least, all have the chance to remember that MailChimp gave free, valuable information.

They used a number of marketing methods to publicize, as well as to share holiday content with their audience: email, webinars, social media, a Medium post, and a blog post. It looks like MailChimp used the strategy of going wide to reach as many people as possible with their campaign. Some folks are Medium loyalists, yet ignore their email. Others follow MailChimp’s RSS Feed and don’t pop into their social accounts often. MailChimp was able to meet each customer where they frequent (or, at least they did some good work to attempt to achieve that.)

They lightly pointed folks to their tool throughout the webinar and also in one comprehensive slide. This simple inclusion could mean that webinar attendees will continue to visit MailChimp beyond December.

It’s awesome that their webinars were filled with content that might not only apply to MailChimp customers. Offering industry-wide content can actually encourage folks who use your competitors to convert! Of course, if a consumer IS interested in becoming a customer, MailChimp wants them to know where to go. That’s why they added these resources to the end of their webinar.

holiday campaigns

How you can replicate this holiday marketing campaign

Think about value-add, educating, and sharing original tips. You don’t have to do this in webinar form, but you can! Other ways you can share information: SlideShare, a blog post series, a YouTube playlist, Facebook Live or another live video platform, podcasts, a recorded audio series that you send to an email address they provide, etc.

[Imposter Syndrome Caveat: You don’t have to be MailChimp to have value to share. YOU are the only one who does what you do in the way that you do it. Shout your experience from the rooftops!]


Taking a right-turn straight out of the holidays, Burberry spent big money on creating a short film that was unrelated to the season. Their campaign was drama-filled and visually entertaining. It was all about what makes Burberry, Burberry.

What Rocked

Their 2016 campaign isn’t reflective of Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other holiday. Instead, it’s focused on the history of the brand. This unexpected direction can be refreshing for consumers who’ve been barraged with joy and folly all season!

The images. Ah! The images! Burberry’s short film, The Tale of Thomas Burberry, really produced some great ones. Here are a few for you to gawk at:

How you can replicate this holiday marketing campaign

No one expects you to produce a $12+ million trailer! However, I think we can take a really great lesson from Burberry’s stray from the norm. You don’t have to follow the standard holiday campaign protocol. Instead, feel free to play around with ideas. Brainstorm and invest time in a campaign you’ve always wanted to try, but never thought you had the time for.

Let’s dream up some ideas right now:

  • The history of your company in graphics and with an option of coupons/deals along the way
  • A video series of education behind-the-scenes in your industry – For example, if you sew children’s clothes, you might have a series about fabrics and entertaining facts about each
  • Trivia about your industry with prizes for folks who participate
  • A whole campaign revolving around your life and the life of those who work for you outside of work. You are the reason this company exists. Let your customers know about what makes you, YOU!

Wicked Good Cupcakes

holiday marketing campaigns

This year marked the 4th annual Taste of Home campaign for Wicked Good Cupcakes! If you haven’t heard of the brand, they’re a cupcake-in-a-jar company (with more to offer than just those goodies). Possibly most notably, they are supported by Shark Tank Investor, Kevin O’Leary.

The Taste of Home campaign allows customers to pay a discounted price for a cupcake jar that will end up being sent as a very exciting surprise to troops overseas who won’t be able to enjoy the taste of their family’s holiday dinner this season.

What Rocked

This campaign is not focused on Wicked Good Cupcakes and the discount they can offer you, the customer. Instead, it’s focused on philanthropy. This, alone and without coupling with another promo, is a bit different from what we normally see in a holiday campaign.

We’ve all seen several charitable campaigns before, but this one allows the customer and company to work together. If the customer doesn’t take action (i.e. select the purchase of the discounted cupcake to be sent to a soldier), the cupcake won’t be sent. The customer gives a little, the company gives a little, and the troops benefit!

How you can replicate this holiday marketing campaign

Think of a part of society that needs your product or service. Can you offer it to your customers at the lowest price needed to match your expenses and then give it to someone in need?

Let’s brainstorm through a few ideas:

  • Children’s clothing or accessory retailers, how would it feel to partner with your customers to donate items to a local women’s shelter?
  • Accountants, what if you asked for donations from customers (an amount added to their bill for that year’s tax preparation) and used the total donation amount to pay yourself for your discounted time in preparing taxes for folks in one of the lowest tax brackets?
  • Fitness Instructors, what if you allowed a new mom to join you for a couple of weeks for free? It doesn’t usually cost much to add in an extra person if you’re already running a class, and who knows… she could be a long-time customer!


In 2016, Macy launched the #SantaProject. However, this is not their first hit. You know the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Yup! That’s one of the greatest campaigns in the history of holiday marketing, and it is still in place today!

Let’s chat about the #SantaProject.

What Rocked

This is another one of the holiday marketing campaigns that shows only passive selling. Instead, it seems the focus of the campaign is to play our heartstrings.

Right there on the website, you can write a letter to Santa! You can have your kids write out their wishes, and you can do it, too! To Macy’s, the act of writing a letter and sending it through shows that you believe.

This campaign is social-media heavy. Macy’s enacted a hashtag, #SantaProject, and also are encouraging folks to send through videos, posts, retweets, likes, shares, etc. on social media to support this movement.

holiday marketing campaigns macy's

They also have Santa Land and other events at several Macy’s locations across the country, which are all tied into the Santa Project.

holiday marketing campaigns Macy's #SantaProject

At the bottom of their Santa Project webpage, they also share recommended gifts! What a great way to tie back into their website and their company’s purpose… to sell products.

holiday marketing campaigns macy's

The biggest part of the campaign is that Macy’s is doing all of this with the purpose to publicize National Believe Day, which is a campaign they arranged in support of Make-A-Wish. For every letter written, Macy’s donates $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This is the “why” behind the entire Santa Project Campaign.

holiday marketing campaigns

Lastly, what campaign would be great without an entertaining video? Macy’s captures the essence of the entire campaign in this sweet, 2+ minute video:

How you can replicate this holiday marketing campaign

We’re not all going to have a huge impact on a charity or the wide reach of a campaign like the Santa Project. I mean, Macy’s is a GIANT! Instead, let’s think of what we can take out of their thoughtful Project:

  • If given a choice between two similar companies: one donates some of the proceeds to charity and the other doesn’t, perhaps we can assume that most consumers would opt to support the company that shows a bit of selflessness.
  • A funny, heartfelt, or otherwise entertaining video can go a long way!
  • Finding a hashtag for your followers to use can unite them! Going back to the Imposter Syndrome note from before, don’t worry about folks not using it! If they do, awesome! If they don’t, let’s try again (perhaps with a different strategy) in a few months.
  • Have a hub for your campaign. This can be a stand-alone landing page with enticing colors and images or a more involved set-up. Consider including images of how others have participated in your campaign (even if you have to call in help from your friends and family at first!)

Share Your Thoughts with us

Which one of these seems most doable to you?

Or, do you have other holiday marketing campaign examples to share with us? We’d love to see them – send us a tweet or an email!

Do you want to see more awesome campaigns? Checkout this infographic from Big Commerce.

holiday marketing campaigns big commerce infographic

Thoughts or Questions?

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