First off, a happy 2017 for everyone taking the time to read this! The last month of 2016 was filled with festive days. The Dutch celebrated Sinterklaas and obviously Christmas along with the majority of the western world. These days are associated with being with family, friends and loved ones. Watching television shows like All you need is love, Top2000 a Gogo and the Home Alone movies makes watching holiday related commercials inevitable during that time of year. The first commercial that comes to my mind is the everlasting Coca-Cola Christmas commercial. Why do we tend to remember this type of commercials so vividly and why are marketers specifically creating holiday commercials?
The holiday feeling
Since commercial marketing is based on triggering emotions to influence buying decisions, these days are the perfect opportunity to have a maximum impact with commercials. The majority of us celebrate the festive days with their family and closest friends. The period of the year is associated with unity, fun and happiness. There has been a trend towards emphasizing the emotions surrounding the festivities in commercials. Riding the wave of emotions that people already feel and strengthening those feelings with their commercials is what many marketers focus on.
The main reason for these festive commercials is that marketers want people to associate those happy feelings with their brand. That association is what we call a consumer-brand relationship. This relationship is mainly subconscious in our minds. For example, after seeing the Coca-Cola Christmas commercial I personally feel nostalgic and remember fun times during Christmas. This might result in me buying Coca-Cola when I am feeling a little bit down since I subconsciously associate that brand with happy feelings. Which is of course the ultimate end-goal of the people creating those commercials. This phenomenon obviously happens throughout the entire year, but we humans tend to be a little more vulnerable to this during the Christmas period.
Successful holiday commercials
Of course many marketers already try to apply these types of marketing campaigns, but not all of them have been equally successful. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a successful campaign and analyse what makes it stand out from the crowd.There are several ways to go about it, the campaign can be about happy feelings like I mentioned before or focus more on creating a sense of empathy.
A perfect example of a successful campaign is Apples Christmas commercial, which you can view below. It tells a story about Frankenstein on Christmas evening putting in effort to mingle with the crowd by recording a Christmas song on his iPhone and decorating himself with festive lights. At first, the crowd is scared of him and gives him odd looks when he starts to sing. When he decides that his effort to blend in failed, he drips off sadly. But right before he leaves, a little girl comes up to him, and starts singing the song he started, and seconds later the entire crowd chips in and everyone is happy, especially Frankenstein. The commercial ends with the message: Open your heart to everyone.
The commercial went viral in America and people were actually emotionally moved by this story. Resulting in the consumer-brand relationship being that consumers associate Apple with being tolerant and empathic, which perfectly aligns with the Christmas feelings. Another smart move by Apple was using Frankenstein. Almost everyone has read or heard the story as a child and therefore it raises nostalgic feelings. The third aspect what makes this commercial stand out, is that they told a story with a nice plot within 2 minutes. The combination of the nostalgia, storytelling and emotional triggers make this commercial stand out from the crowd and lets people actually remember it for a longer period, a marketers dream.
Us consumers are being exposed to several commercials revolving the festive period on a daily basis. Some of these commercials might lead to us buying products during the christmas days which we normally would not have bought. But the real winners are the commercials that stick with us even after the holidays and thus lead to this positive consumer-brand relationship. Concluding, I think it is safe to say that the december month is a great opportunity for marketers to really have an impact. The art lies in being unique and memorable for your consumers. I am already looking forward to the memorable commercials that the next holiday season might bring, how about you?