For many businesses, the festive season is a time for them to concentrate their marketing efforts and budgets. And for good reason! The festive season is an emotional time for most people, and people tend to respond reflexively to their emotions. People also tend to focus on feelings of goodwill and charity during Christmas, so ads that speak of these are precisely what people want to hear.

We recommend taking the time and budget to invest in a festive marketing campaign for your business, it will be well-worth the returns. It doesn’t have to be big and splashy, it could be as simple as launching a holiday-themed email or blog campaign or producing short festive-related video clips for your social media channels.

In the meantime, these are 5 of our favourite festive marketing campaigns from last year! Other than being brilliantly scripted, we think these go right to the heart of the festive season and tugs all the right heartstrings with customers, minus the overt hard-selling. Have a look!

1) John Lewis

Featuring an adorable boxer named Buster, a whole cast of wild animals, and a little girl, this ad bounced right to the top of YouTube’s most watched and shared videos in the festive period of 2016. John Lewis is a major player in the field of Christmas marketing and advertisements, as they are well-known for producing some of the season’s most loved ads, year after year. The retailer also estimates that its year-round sales have increased by 35% in the last 5 years due to the success of its Christmas ads!

2) Marks & Spencer

Their Christmas With Love Christmas campaign last year reached all the right notes with customers. With a heart-warming story that centres around Mrs. Claus fulfilling the last minute request of a 7-year-old boy who wants a new pair of sneakers for his older sister, the ad conveys a strong dose of festive love and empathy woven in a humorous and heart-warming story. M&S products are sprinkled throughout the ad subtly, such as Mrs. Claus’s striking red trenchcoat and the mince pies on the mantle that she surreptitiously eats – serving as little reminders to customers of M&S core products.

3) H&M

Starring Academy Award winner Adrien Brody and directed by Wes Anderson, H&M’s offering last Christmas was a stylish short film that hit all the right emotional notes. Adrien Brody says about the ad: “This story may resonate more than ever at a time in the world where we could all do with giving a stranger a hug.” And it is this call to charity and warmth that speaks to so many people, especially during Christmas time, that made the ad so well-received.

4) Burberry

This ad is so well-executed in making the viewer care about the personal history of the brand, there’s much to learn from it! Starring acting heavyweights Dominic West, Sienna Miller, Lily James, and Domhnall Gleeson as the titular Burberry, it narrates the fictionalised and dramatised life of founder Thomas Burberry and the company’s key milestones early in its 160-year history. The cast of the short film are attired in Burberry, although the iconic checked pattern of the brand is notably missing. This is in-line with the more subtle approach to Christmas marketing and advertising these days, where products are not blatantly promoted but instead seeks to forge an emotional connection between viewer and brand.

5) Apple

Delivering a hard-hitting dose of the feels, Apple’s Christmas ad in 2016, “Frankie’s Holiday”, really plays into the emotions of the holiday season. The ad centres on a lonely Frankenstein, who tries to spread some holiday cheer by singing “There’s No Place Like Home” in the town square, with fairy lights plugged into his neck-bolts. When one of the lights fizzes out and he sputters while singing, a little girl steps out from the frightened crowd to adjust his lights and everyone joins in the singing with full festive gusto. Ending with a heartfelt message of inclusion: “Open your heart to everyone”, Apple’s message surely hits home this festive season!

With this list of inspiring campaigns, we’re excited to apply some of the ideas we’ve picked up on your own sparkling Christmas campaign! We’re full of ideas ourselves for Christmas! Ask us what they are at!

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